4 advantages of online fundraising

While most nonprofits use online fundraising in some way these days, not every organization invests in the strategy. They prefer to stick to traditional options rather than utilizing this fundraising tactic to its optimal level. Recent research and industry reports suggest nonprofits that drag their feet are missing out.

Here are four major advantages of online fundraising:

1. It can increase donations
Opening online channels to donors has been proven effective. The BlackBaud Index of U.S. giving found online donations were up more than 10 percent in 2016, while general fundraising was only 1 percent greater than the previous year. Since its introduction, online giving has slowly - but consistently - grown in popularity, especially with younger audiences.

The Guardian collected fundraising research from a variety of institutions and organizations that found millennials - those born between the 1980s and early 2000s - are more giving than previous generations. Younger audiences not only want to donate money but would also like to contribute their time and opinions. In order to capture the attention of those raised in the information age, nonprofits need to offer convenient methods to donate and research causes. 

Young people are used to turning to their smartphones and other handy devices to learn about businesses and make purchases. They often treat nonprofit donations with the same sense of informed consumerism. Online giving continues to grow as more audience's turn to the Internet for a variety of their financial processes.

2. It's easy and cost effective
Including a fundraising button on a nonprofit website is a cost-effective way to create a consistent source for funds, provided initial implementation creates dependable performance. The cost associated with online donations usually occur in initial phases as businesses disrupt current practices to include the new channel.

Establishing online fundraising pages and campaigns with the proper software and payment processing routines eliminates future busy work and back-office tasks through automation and other convenient features. When started on the right foot, it brings in cash with fewer daily tasks for staff members and volunteers than traditional mail or door-to-door campaigns.

Another nice feature about online platforms is that it can be easy for organizations to see real-time results. By working with a payment processor, nonprofits create a dependable source of financial data. Looking at the numbers coming from different campaigns allows individuals to judge the success of certain strategies and adjust current practices. 

3. It creates networks
When online fundraising is particularly effective it can pay off down the road through donor advocacy. One of the major advantages of social networks is they allow people to connect to others with similar interests and values. An online fundraising campaign should be easy to share so donors will be encouraged to pass on charitable opportunities with friends and family.

A single mail-in document isn't easy for donors to replicate, but Facebook posts can be passed along without additional expenses and with very little effort. Digital processes create an endless supply of materials for organizations and their supporters to distribute.

This can be an effective way to initially engage millennial audiences. Encouraging young social users to share information makes them a part of the process. This is a simple solution for people looking to help, but afraid of committing too much time and money to any one organization. Once someone is part of the network, organizations can use past interactions to encourage future donations and volunteering.

4. It's fun
For online materials to stand out, they need to be engaging. It's relatively easy to change digital materials and launch new campaigns with dependable platforms. Organizations can deploy a number of creative asks and educational materials.

This allows nonprofit leaders, staff members and volunteers to use their imagination. While technology performs the busy work, people can use creativity to find new ways to reach donors.

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