Thursday, February 28, 2008

Celebrations and Using Your Website for Fundraising

Last night I was leading a Board Orientation for new Board members of the organization where I am Vice President of the Board and Governance Chair. I have a chart on the Board and Fundraising with seven bullet points of basic things Board members should do and the last item is a general, catch all - "Recognize opportunities as they arise"

I described an example of two board members with very different personal styles who sponsored a joint social event and invited their friends. Our Executive Director spoke about our nonprofit and information was available. It was a "friendraiser" for one board member and a "fundraiser" for another. With this the ED jumped it to describe an event that just happened - and that's what I really want to share with you today.

Recently, at a birthday party celebrating a major milestone, the host had a laptop set up to our web site so that people could make donations in his wife’s name as a birthday gift. The guests knew that this was requested rather than birthday gifts. We received over $1000 in contributions. Wow! What an easy, convenient, upbeat way to do fundraising.

I have to say that this is My type of social networking. One of the wonders of the Internet is how connections are made and new relationships are built. We had no idea that this was planned. When our Development officer first saw the online giving on a Saturday night he thought it might be a scam or computer glitch causing this unusual activity level. Not at all. In this case the honoree was the daughter of a long ago board member. People weren't just giving they were making choices on our list of choices and browsing throught the website. Even better! I was particularly excited because I led the plan for us to accept donations online and have been disappointed at its low use. This is the experience of many small nonprofits - being disappointed in the effectiveness of their investment in accepting online donations.

But getting your online donation system up really is an investment in the future - not just in immediate fundraising. Besides the ideas that you have, others will figure out how to use it too.

In Summary:
•Make sure you talk about the role of the Board in fundraising at Board orientation
•Be patient with the impact of receiving online donations
•Technology readiness brings lots of new opportunities – even the ones that don’t originate with us
Marion Conway Consulting

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