Debra Neuman is on intimate terms with the tsunami that devastated southern Asia in December 2004. Just as you would never refer to a friend as “the Bill” or “the Mary,” she calls the killer storm simply “tsunami” — no preceding article — as though the word should be spelled with a capital T.
After getting laid off by Enron during its financial-document falsification scandal and eventual collapse, Brian Cruver authored a book, Anatomy of Greed, which gives an insider’s view of the debacle. The book became a CBS television movie, The Crooked E. With the money earned from the book and movie deals, Cruver wanted to start a company that would benefit society.
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.
In the ‘90s, regional AIDS walks were among the most successful charity events in the country. Corporate sponsorship was plentiful, and businesses sent teams in the hundreds to participate.
But all that has changed, according to AIDS Project Rhode Island, which saw a downturn in corporate involvement for its annual AIDS Walk as early as 2000.
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.
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.
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.”
In April, the United States Fund for UNICEF relaunched its Web site, www.unicefusa.org, to accommodate the recent global rebranding of UNICEF, add user and donor functionality, and increase overall Web visibility.
Partnering with Internet-software and -services firm Kintera, the organization focused on three core elements: fundraising, advocacy and education. Among the many new features, the site now captures member data for a more personalized Web experience, deploys eNews and allows visitors to take immediate action on children’s issues.
Almost everyone has something of value crammed in the corner of the attic — an antique lamp, a cuckoo clock or a stack of baseball cards Mom forgot to toss years ago. With the birth of eBay, those dusty throwaways can find new homes. Enter: MissionFish.
The Salvation Army rolled out its Online Red Kettle program nationwide this past holiday season, after testing the concept in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington, D.C., in 2002. The way it worked: Volunteers who signed up to be “virtual bell ringers” had their own Web pages from which they could send e-mail messages to family and friends, asking for contributions. The pilot produced $60,000 in online donations during the months of November and December, but when the program was given a national stage a year later, total donations reached only $45,000.