The Dangers of Business Method Patents
July 1, 2005

Imagine if your next online fundraising campaign had to include an additional $5 fee per donation because someone had patented the very technique you use to ask your supporters to reach out to friends and family members.

What’s more, imagine that out of every $50 donation you collect, 10 percent of it would go to a company that hired a patent lawyer and got its application through the overloaded and understaffed U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That’s $5 that never would be used for your mission.

From Buttons to Blogs
July 1, 2005

When you assess the sophistication, innovation and e-commerce prowess of Web sites in the nonprofit sector, it’s hard to accept the fact that e-giving accounts for only 1 percent to 2 percent of all funds raised by U.S. charities.

Not so long ago, online fundraising simply meant being able to accept credit card donations through a Web interface.

Talking Back
June 1, 2005

How has a recent investment in new Internet software affected your organization’s fundraising?

Don't Shrug
June 1, 2005

There’s no doubt that nonprofit Web sites have become serious branding and revenue channels. Compared to recent years, most organizations now are seeing double-digit increases in the number of monthly Web visits, some even a rise in donations, new members and membership renewal.

While an increase in Web traffic certainly is a positive indicator, it isn’t the most vital metric for an organization looking to generate online revenue or increase online-visitor engagement.

Vehicle-Donation Efforts Migrate Online
June 1, 2005

For more than 20 years, Volunteers of America has operated a donation program for automobiles, boats and recreational vehicles with its local chapters and participating 501(c)(3) organizations. Recently, the spiritually based social-services charity has taken its successful turnkey vehicle-donation program online — and in a big way.

Blogosphere, Make Room for Online Fundraisers
May 1, 2005

When CBS and NBC refused to run its 30-second television commercial, the development office at the United Church of Christ was more than a little miffed.

The ad, which employed images of bulbous nightclub security guards standing behind velvet ropes in front of a church — railed against the perceived non-inclusiveness of Christian faiths. In rejecting it in early 2004, the networks said the message was too controversial and amounted to “issue advocacy.”

You've Got Donations
April 1, 2005

For more than 15 years, the Center for Economic Growth has operated as a regional economic- and business-development organization in New York’s Tech Valley region, which spans 18 counties. Through much of its his-tory, CEG had no consistent way to communicate with its funding partners, members, clients or the general community. Then, a few years ago, it switched to e-mail marketing.

Search and You Will Find
April 1, 2005

The next time one of your donors performs a Web search, your organization could see 50 cents in gross revenue.

Freelanthropy, a new online-services provider founded to help nonprofits develop branding and communications solutions through Web publishing, e-mail marketing, and search and navigation, has developed the Freelanthropy Toolbar for donors and prospects to download and use for free, with all sponsored-search revenue and affiliate-merchant sales split evenly between Freelanthropy and the individual user’s preferred charity.

No Such Thing as a Free Donor
March 1, 2005

Puzzled about why your online donors aren’t renewing? Simple ... they’re different, those donors who give online. For a time, prevailing conventional wisdom was that a donor acquired online is most likely to renew online.

And the great hope was that online donors would be so much cheaper to re-solicit because we wouldn’t have to spend money on postage and printing and production … we could just e-mail them!