Nonprofits must take a page from retail

While the media always shows clips of the usual scrambling melee of shoppers every Black Friday, this year's shopping event was relatively sober compared with years past. More customers opted to skip the lines and do their holiday spending online, according to the National Retail Federation. Many shoppers still visited brick-and-mortar stores - about 74.2 million of them - while 75.3 million people decided to make their purchases online during Black Friday, the NRF survey noted.

The added convenience of avoiding crowds and easily scouring multiple Internet stores for the best price without leaving the house is an added incentive to shopping online. Plus, consumers are looking for incredible deals year round, decreasing the importance placed on Black Friday, The New York Times reported. 

With all that said, nonprofits can learn a valuable lesson from retailers by optimizing their websites and by offering an easy-to-use online donation form

Look to retail
Just as many brick-and-mortar shops offer their customers the ability to look for deals on their websites even when the physical store is closed, not-for-profits must accommodate their donors around the clock as well. 

Nonprofits must adapt with technological changes and what their patrons want from them just as retailers have to. As Black Friday loses its power to bump up bottom lines, more businesses are extending holiday sales and offering them even sooner. The New York Times noted many companies began notifying the public about Black Friday deals on Halloween. Not-for-profits usually have a similar year-end fundraiser accompanied by a few pledge drives mixed throughout the year. 

Convenience year round
More customers want great deals and the added convenience of purchasing them online year round. These demands aren't just limited to for-profit businesses, though. As Christmas and Hanukkah approaches, more people will be in the holiday spirit and want to give back to others and their communities. However, preparing for visiting family and friends and holiday parties can eat into their free time, meaning there's less of a chance to volunteer or to mail off a donation to their favorite nonprofits.

A nonprofit that enables its donor base to give online with a few clicks helps not only itself, but its contributors by making the donation process easy and efficient. These forms let the public send money whenever the giving mood strikes them. 

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