Get the basics for online fundraising

Nonprofit organizations cannot afford to ignore the growing preference among donors for online transactions and payments. Companies of all industries have had to adjust their operations to support interactions and payments made via e-commerce platforms - a preferred transaction channel for many consumers. Nonprofits as well are seeing an increase in online donations, as the capabilities make it easy for individuals and organizations to give quickly and efficiently.

When engaging donors online to drive fundraising efforts and awareness initiatives, organizations should consider a few basic capabilities that are required for a successful campaign. According to Fundraising and Philanthropy, these online must-haves include:

  • An online donation page
  • An online gifting functionality

  • Social fundraising components
  • Mobile giving solutions

  • Multichannel integration
  • Data securities and management tools

An online fundraising campaign cannot simply stop with a donation page on an organization's website. Rather, the source calls for an integrated, multichannel approach that ties in social media efforts as well as mobile-optimized resources to enable donations on the go. With any transaction involving collection and processing of personal card information, it is also imperative for organizations to become PCI DSS compliant for optimal data security guarantees.

Why go online?
The Community Foundation of Utah recently hosted a statewide event called Love UT Give UT that raised funds and awareness for more than 400 nonprofits. The 24-hour online campaign was able to raise more than $800,000 in donations during its inaugural launch, with participants estimating the total closer to $915,000 once matching and challenge grants are factored in.

"Well over half of the gifts to nonprofits were from new donors," Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah, told KSL.

Because the entire event was hosted via an online platform, the event cost a mere $60,000 to conduct. About two-thirds of participating nonprofits spent $100 or less on the event, while reporting a high return on investment in a short period of time. Furthermore, organizations involved leveraged social media networking strategies to spread the word of the event to online audiences, generating interest fast through free platforms. The integrated campaign drove traffic to the online donation pages, as well as individual organizations' Facebook pages or websites for donors interested in more in-depth information. The 24-hour campaign's success illustrates the potential of online-based fundraising efforts to reach a wide audience of donors utilizing limited resources, KSL reported.

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