Online Donations – Early Days to Success!
Monday, 6th November 2000 at 12:11 pm
The past six months have seen many large Not for Profits test the fundraising water with on line donations via their web sites. And most would agree it’s still very early days to success.
The Open Family organisation took a giant plunge in June by launching not only a 100-page web site but also a secure on line donation facility.
Open Family is very confident about the donation system they have in place which ensures that the organisation obtains only the donors name and address so that a thank you note can be sent out. The secure system ensures that the donor’s credit card details go directly to the Commonwealth Bank and so Open Family staff never sees them.
Open Family’s Marketing Communications Manager, Annessa Conquest says donations are coming in slowly without a big campaign to push the facility.
Conquest admits that they wouldn’t survive if they had to rely solely on the Internet donations and some people are still reluctant to use the web for giving.
However she says one trend is that it has introduced new donors to giving to a cause they may not have been interested in before. Several on line donations have come from Queensland where Open Family does not have workers.
Conquest says the next step is to promote the site more widely. Currently Open Family is using banners on other sites that link back to them and members of their corporate club are being encouraged to put the Open Family link on their business sites. Anyone wanting to link up can contact Annessa at email@example.com and the web site at www.openfamily.com.au
One of Australia’s largest charities, Sydney’s Wesley Mission also put its annual winter appeal on line this year.
Communications Manager Martin Johnson says the response was not huge but it placed Wesley ‘in there’ for future development with a mix of other fundraising strategies.
Johnson agrees it was a good exercise to test the water as part of the ‘information revolution’.
He says the challenge in using the web is how to adapt traditional fundraising strategies to the Internet and maximise the potential to keep traditional donors and find new donors.
Martin Johnson took part in last weeks Focus On Fundraising workshop sponsored by Pro Bono Australia and discussed the Wesley experience with on line donations.
He says the greatest potential for Not for Profits using the Internet is harnessing its interactive ability that can show off an organisations operations using text, images, audio and moving pictures.
Check out Wesley’s web site at www.wesleymission.org.au.
Earth Share has also introduced on line donating aimed principally at conservation and environment groups around the world.
It also offers to distribute donations to any other tax-deductible organisation that the donor may choose with a link to the Pro Bono Australia web site for a list of Australian charities.
By comparison many large and small Not for Profits in the US are claiming much better success with online donating. Rick Christ’s e-fund newsletter about Internet community building in the States reports on one small Not for Profit called The InterNational Council on Fertility Information and its recent experience.
The organisation says in the first ten days of its winter appeal it received more than 400 donations averaging about $57 each.
The Council on Fertility Information credits the success to its large interactive Internet site, that it describes as ‘rich’ in information.
The Executive Director, Nancy Hemenway, says up to 12,000 people visit the site on busy days to get the latest information and chat with each other.
She says online donating has a long way to go but it is a bit like when banks introduced Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)…it took some people quite a while to become comfortable with them and use them on a regular basis.
You can check out the site at www.inciid.org.