Module 4: Online Fundraising

In recent years, the world of fundraising has evolved quickly with the help of online fundraising pages and social networking sites. For the currently “wired” generation of fundraising organizations and donors alike, the convenience and speed of online fundraising has enabled it to become the fastest-growing area of grassroots fundraising efforts.(1) Despite the evolution of fundraising, organizations maintain the same root goal: obtaining financial support for a passionate cause.

The Internet can provide an effective medium to reach new and current donors when presented in a user-friendly format. For instance, personalized fundraising pages enable direct, readable communication to target audiences. Typically, these websites are directed to family members, friends, and others in an individual’s social network. Individuals who are fundraising may message the link to their fundraising page to a number of potential donors with the click of a button. Donors can see the progress of fundraising, determine at their discretion when, to whom, and how much to donate without the pressure of the solicitor nearby, and receive public acknowledgement. Overall, the flow of information greatly simplifies the process.(2) An overseeing grassroots organization may also track the progress of individual fundraisers and provide supporting resources that suggest templates of successful fundraising pages or examples of effective strategies.(3)

The simple interplay of information made possible by the Internet also helps to raise awareness of impact. By connecting potential donors to the organization’s webpage, individuals can learn more about the organization’s mission, outcomes, initiatives, and other avenues for donating or getting involved. To elicit the positive reinforcement of donating, organizations may also use fundraising pages to publicly acknowledge donors for their charitable contributions. Webpages may list donor names, amounts, dates, and messages to individuals. While this provides information for fundraisers to deliver thank-you gifts or messages, such public display effectively creates a donor community that is bonded by contributions to a shared mission.

Frequently, online fundraising extends to the use of popular social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter to reach an even greater audience. Organizations can combine the high success rate of peer-to-peer fundraising with existing lines of information traffic.

Footnotes

(1) Klein, Kim. "Beyond the Ask... Better Communication with Donors." Grassroots Fundraising Journal. Grassroots Institute Fundraising Training Publication. Web. <http://www.grassrootsfundraising.org/fmd/files/SepOct2009GFJ.pdf>.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.