Using Online Special Events to Raise Money
Here’s what online fundraising isn’t: simply putting a “donate now” button on your Web site.
Online fundraising isn’t quite that simple, but it’s not that complicated, either. Why not find a way to involve your entire community in an activity that they will enjoy while tapping into a new revenue source?
Research indicates that when donors get something in return for their contribution, they have a higher propensity to give. In fact, fundraising auctions tap into dollars that often are held separate from their charitable-giving budgets -- mainly, household discretionary dollars. And, when an auction is put onto the Internet, it is taken to an entirely new level.
Here are some best practices to help you out along the way.
1. CREATE A COMPELLING AUCTION HOME PAGE.
Make sure your auction home page says something about you. There’s no better place to share the history of your organization, the purpose for the online auction and how the proceeds will be used to benefit your cause. Remember, one of the major advantages of an online auction is being able to reach out to charitable bidders.
2. LEVERAGE YOUR COMMUNITY FOR ITEM DONATIONS.
Spending money to get items for your auction means less net profit for your organization. Use your auction home page to solicit donations. E-mail your community for donations. Don’t be shy. Trust me, they want to help. It’s even better if you can secure some unique items from high-profile donors. Some suggestions: an autographed baseball from a major-league star, “mayor for a day” arrangements, or dinner for six prepared by a local chef in a winner’s home. These items add excitement to your auction catalog and spur lots of friendly competitive bidding.
3. LEVERAGE BOARD MEMBERS, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS TO RECRUIT SPONSORS.
Recruiting sponsors can defray the costs associated with running an online auction. Your board members, staff and volunteers most likely are well connected in your community and can help you make contact with potential sponsors. Make sure your team members are able to solidly communicate the value of sponsoring your online auction: better exposure, more bidders, etc.
Greg McHale is the founder of Union Strong, LetsAllDoGood, LetsAllBeHeard and Bidding for Good. McHale believes that nonprofits of any size or budget should have access to simple, secure and powerful technology that lets them reach and interact with their supporters anytime, anywhere. Today, the firm has one goal: connect organizations that do good with the people that want to do good and care about the causes they support.