A Guide to Online Fundraising

from Technology & Learning

Maximize your ROI with Web-based tools.

The Internet is becoming the donors' medium of choice because it's quick and easy—its instantaneous nature means people are much more likely to turn their impulse into donations or raffle ticket purchases when online. However, knowing exactly how to conduct such a campaign is crucial to success.

Online giving is growing exponentially every year, from just over a half a billion dollars in 2000 to more than $4.5 billion in 2005.

With the right incentive you can attract a world of potential donors outside your region.

People are more generous online. An e-mail campaign launched by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics resulted in a 20 percent increase in the average donation. The school's overall efforts resulted in a 150 percent ROI.

The E-Mail Campaign

Communication is key to any online fundraising effort. And an e-mail or an e-newsletter campaign is a crucial factor for success. If people aren't informed, they won't be willing to help. E-mails should be specifically tailored to each recipient's interests. Purchase e-mail marketing software. E-mail marketing software will save a great deal of time and money. This software allows your donor database to be uploaded directly into an e-mail marketing application, eliminating the need to manually upload data. E-mails are easily tailored to a recipie nt's interests. EmailLabs.com offers great basic e-mail marketing software. WildApricot, Convio, and LocalVoice are designed specifically for online fundraising and deliver a handful of specialized tools not offered by general e-mail applications.

Do not solicit in initial mailings. The importance of not soliciting recipients in a first e-mail cannot be emphasized enough. Use initial e-mails to gather information on the recipient's needs and interests in order to provide more valuable content. There is a direct correlation between the relationships built with potential donors and the amount they will give.

Establish a schedule for writing and distributing. The whole point of an e-mail marketing program is to hold a recipient's attention by keeping him or her continually informed. People will look forward to receiving your e-mail. Establish a set e-mail frequency based on time constraints and your school's ability to produce relevant news or content.

Colt Lapham can be reached at clapham@ticketprinting.com.
Lance Trebesch can be reached at ltrebesch@ticketprinting.com.