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New Guide to Online Fundraising

21 February 2005 at 12:02 pm
Staff Reporter
The prominence of Internet donations during the Tsunami appeals sees a timely new guide to Online Fundraising from the US that translates well to the Australian environment.

Staff Reporter | 21 February 2005 at 12:02 pm


New Guide to Online Fundraising
21 February 2005 at 12:02 pm

The prominence of Internet donations during the Tsunami appeals sees a timely new guide to Online Fundraising from the US that translates well to the Australian environment.

Small-to-medium size disaster relief Not for Profits that are utilising the Internet to help victims of the recent Asian tsunami now are raising record levels of funding, expanding their online constituent bases by more than 50 percent in some cases and significantly increasing the profiles of their organisations.

Gene Austin, Convio CEO says that although there has been a lot of focus on what the major, well-branded disaster relief groups are doing, there is another phenomenon unfolding with huge implications for the charity sector.

Austin says that by using the Internet in their Tsunami relief efforts, small-to-medium size groups have been responding more effectively than ever while vaulting their organisations to the next level.

Convio is the leading provider of software and services to help NFP’s use the Internet for attracting and retaining constituents to drive fundraising, advocacy and other forms of support in the US.

In the US, ninety-nine percent of the nearly 9,300 Not for Profits involved in public safety and disaster preparedness/relief are small-to-medium size organisations ($10 million annual operating budgets or less), according to the National Centre for Charitable Statistics.

Roughly 70 percent of all disaster response groups have annual operating budgets of $100,000 or less. The savviest of these groups have moved quickly to use the Internet strategically to not only raise record funds, but also to attract and begin developing relationships with new constituencies and significantly boost their visibility within the fragmented world of disaster relief agencies.

According to the new Convio Fundraising Guide some of the advantages of online fundraising that nonprofits are recognising include :

Traditionally, development professionals have relied heavily on direct mail and telemarketing for their fundraising campaigns. The relatively high cost of these methods, however, makes them impractical for the frequent communications with potential and existing donors necessary to grow relationships.

Supplementing traditional fundraising methods with cost-effective email
communications allows you to communicate more frequently and maintain an ongoing relationship with constituents — key for improving both online and offline fundraising results.

Many times, organisations have an urgent need for funds, or have a small window to raise funds in the wake of a current event. In these cases, there’s no time to write, design, print and send a direct mail piece. The immediate nature of email communications allows you to execute fundraising campaigns and respond to timely issues in a matter of hours.

With direct mail appeals, there can be a response lag time of several weeks, or even months. Email appeals, however, typically return 80 percent of total responses within 48 hours of a mailing. This allows you to evaluate the results of your fundraising campaign and quickly adjust your strategy as needed. In addition, providing donors with the option to give online allows you to receive the funds immediately and automatically, versus waiting on the mail for a check that must be manually processed.

You can track how many people click through on both e-mails and links within e-mails to your Web site, allowing you to quickly analyse the effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns. This also allows you to determine what motivates each of your donors as well as evaluate donor behaviour and giving trends, so you can improve future campaigns.

Internet communications allow you to develop a complete view of constituents by encouraging them to volunteer information about their interests through online surveys.

You can then segment your list and target groups for communications and appeals based on their interests and history with the organisation. This ensures that each communication is relevant and valuable to each constituent and, therefore, more likely to inspire him or her to respond.

This guide covers basic concepts for taking advantage of the Internet for your fundraising programs. From building a list of email addresses and developing donor relationships online to creating effective online fundraising campaigns and measuring online success.

If you would like an electronic copy of the this Guide in PDF format just send us an e-mail with the words ‘Convio Fundraising Guide’ in the subject line to

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