Online Fundraising 101

Lori Halley 30 January 2008 1 comments

Should your organization be investing in online fundraising?
The latest benchmark data says yes.

Internet use is growing at an astronomical pace, and a prime donor demographic leads the way. In 2007, the Internet adoption rate for American adults aged 50 and over, with a post-secondary education and household income of $75,000 or more, was up by 20% over 2006, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project

Median cumulative growth in online donors has been 100% over three years, compared to 6% for offline, according to the Target Analysis Group's 2006 Online Giving Benchmarking Analysis.  Further, online donors appear to be more generous in the size of their gifts than donors who contribute through other methods — in 2006, for example, the median revenue per donor was $114 for online donors and $82 for non-online donors. Online donors tend to be well-educated and well-heeled, and although all age groups are represented, those who give through online appeals are generally younger than the 65+ age group that responds most strongly to direct mail.

As Katya Andresen sums it up, "if you want a younger donor file, you must go online. If you want to recruit new, potential donors, you must go online.  And you need a very good online cultivation strategy once these folks do give online, so you can keep them."

The same take-home message is found in Online Fundraising 101, a presentation to the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference, March 2007, by consultant Robert L. Weiner and Nicci Noble, Electronic Fundraising Specialist with the Salvation Army USA.

With the Why established, Noble and Weiner address the How of online fundraising, with a discussion of best practices for building a mailing list and reaching out to prospective donors by email. "Collect email addresses constantly," the authors advise. "Ask for email addresses in all communications — direct mail, surveys, at events, on website," making it easy to register and offering incentives to do so. It is vital to make it equally easy for people to opt out of email communications, however — and a clearly-stated privacy policy is essential.

Noble and Weiner go on to take a practical look at the technology tools needed for successful email marketing and donor management, with a comparison of the pros and cons of the do-it-yourself model with standard office tools, versus using vendors with specialized software and all-in-one integrated systems. Sample vendors and systems are included, along with a brief list of related resources.

While the full text of the presentation is not reproduced on Robert Weiner's website, the available PowerPoint-style slides provide information that is detailed enough to be truly useful — a solid starting point for any organization weighing the return on investment to be expected in getting started with online fundraising.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 30 January 2008 at 10:40 AM

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