Introduction to raising money online
According to the report “Passion, persistence & partnership: the secrets of earning more online”, produced by nfpSynergy and MissionFish (the people behind eBay for Charity) donors must be engaged on their own terms in the online world. Instead of relying on passive online fundraising tactics like “donate now” buttons, charities must focus on “first engaging with potential donors where their interests and habits lie and thereby, over time, subsequently motivating them to donate, whether on- or off-line.”
In simple terms, what this means is that charities should be looking to take advantage of the current popularity of social networking. If you build a community of people sympathetic to your cause, give them a way to communicate with each other, give them a reason to keep coming back to your site, they will naturally want to help you raise money.
Providing a place for volunteer fundraisers to get advice, find out about upcoming events they can get involved in or letting them know the various ways they can generate money for your charity is vitally important. The Institute of Fundraising has recently launched a central resource for volunteer fundraisers. This is a fantastic site to link to and get ideas from. The site includes information on running activities, asking effectively, Gift Aid, law, best practice etc. Volunteers simply sign up to the site, choose their favourite charity and start fundraising for them.
Another way to engage with potential donors is through a blog. Having a “life as a volunteer” or “life at the project frontline” blog will keep people coming back to your site and make them feel involved. If you talk about fundraising ideas and link to Facebook and Just Giving you can actively encourage people to donate without even having a “donate” button at all.
Just Giving now gets more page referrals from Facebook than Google, so getting a presence on Facebook is vital. Charities should also consider providing other ways for people to build their own community and get involved: a forum, Facebook network, flickr group, petition to sign etc.
Of course, the “donate now” button is still useful and allowing visitors to donate online has never been easier. There are a huge number of sites (more arriving all the time) who offer the service of online donation (see the list below).
Finally, we must not forget that there are ways of raising money online through search engines, auction sites (eBay for Charity being the largest and most successful), affinity partnerships etc. These partnership arrangements are a “painless” win/win for donors and charities. They reach new audiences, give supporters ways to raise money without using their credit card, are usually low cost or free to set up and can easily be embedded into existing websites.
- Everyclick – raise money using their search function or donate online
- eBay for charity
- Easy Fundraising – raise money every time you shop online
- IAR on Facebook – example charity site on Facebook
- Wisdom for All Trust – another way to raise money online