The growth in recent years of online contributions to disaster-relief organizations clearly illustrates that Web fundraising has come of age. Consider the online giving that the American Red Cross has generated following major disasters: $64 million related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2001); $140 million in the wake of the Southeast Asia tsunami (2004); and $479 million after Hurricane Katrina (2005). Also telling is that the percentage of individual donor funds raised online (excluding corporate contributions) grew from 29 percent for Sept. 11 to 55 percent for the tsunami, illustrating that donors have become increasingly comfortable giving over the Internet.
As federal and state officials faced criticism about response time in the days following Hurricane Katrina, donations streamed into nonprofits, and individuals fundraised for relief efforts in record amounts at an unprecedented pace.
Maj. George Hood, secretary of community relations and development for the Salvation Army, says that organization processed $28 million in 10 days over the Internet alone.
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.
Are you making the most of the Internet? If your organization is like many nonprofits, it might be time to rethink your online strategy.
Instead of thinking of the Internet as a sideline area rife with additional expenses and hassles, “all nonprofits should be thinking of it as a core tool,” according to Sheeraz Haji, CEO of GetActive Software in Berkeley, Calif.
When the National Constitution Center broke ground in Philadelphia, one organizational challenge was to get people from around the country to invest in something that they had never seen before, nor could readily conceptualize. At first, the organization was having trouble communicating to the public exactly what this building was all about. Many donors presumably wondered: What is a Constitution Center, anyway?
M.J. Dunion knew she had a mess to clean up six years ago when she was hired as director of development operations at Boston Medical Center, formed when a private academic medical institution and a city hospital merged. Her main task was to combine several departments that had been using different databases in fundraising efforts. She knew this largely was a matter of using the right technology as efficiently as possible.
The past few years have proven to be challenging for direct marketing fundraising. When you consider the 2001 terror attacks and the ensuing questions about dispersement of funds contributed as a result, Anthrax scares, the war on terrorism, corporate distrust, the recent Catholic Church opprobrium and the troubled economy, it’s no surprise that fundraisers have felt left out in the cold.