I usually wait until much later to blog about using your online tools during the holiday giving campaign. This year when nonprofits are shaking in their boots about their year end giving campaign, I decided to get an earlier start. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are some ideas for using your online tools to give your campaign a boost this year.
Online giving remains a small factor for smaller nonprofits, but it is growing rapidly and it is worth giving attention to this year. A Convio survey conducted in September had some noteworthy findings. About half the people surveyed said they planned to donate online this holiday season. There was some variance, but this is true across age groups 21 – 64. Forty-one percent of those who plan to donate online said they intended to support groups such as food banks and homeless shelters. This will be great news to these charities as their industry is one of the few that is booming.
Update Guidestar – Guidestar is gaining in popularity. It will be featured in newspaper and TV segments as a resource to learn about charities. It will be linked to as an authoritative resource from more places than you know – everywhere from American Express to the Fidelity Gift Fund websites. For free – you can update your information to provide much more about your organization than what is on your 990. Do that today!
Update your website – Of course you already have Donate Now capability so I am not going to discuss that. Do you have any special holiday programs? Pictures from last year’s event? A wish list? It’s a good time to make sure your website is fresh and current – everything from event postings to the contact list.
Network for Good gift card - Check out the Network for Good gift card and recommend that people give them as gifts for the holidays. They even have a custom program for businesses to be able to customize gift cards with their business name.
American Express – AE has year round ability to give online with your American Express card but it is buried at their website. During the holiday season, they feature this capability and send emails about it to their card members. Using the Guidestar database, you can contribute to any charity in the database using your credit card. Its easy and efficient. There also is a gift card available. An American Express Gift Card for charity verses a Network for Good one may appeal to a certain clientele. Consider suggesting it in your appeal letter or email or on your website. This is a great one for those of you able to segment your list.
Use technology to reach younger donors - Technology is so ingrained that you have to use it to get to this group. Now may be the time to get a start with using Social Media. Activate your younger donors and ask them to put a charity badge(widget) on their Facebook and MySpace pages for your organization. I’ve just posted mine here on my blog. It took a few minutes to put together at Network for Good. CAC provides vital services to children in the inner city in Newark and like with many nonprofits this year the demand for services is increasing as funding is in jeopardy. You can help by clicking on my charity badge and making your donation now.....See that is how simple it is. This is also a great idea to request of your younger employees who have MySpace and Facebook pages.
Even the Salvation Army has a new program aimed at younger donors. You will be able to text message to a number on the red kettles and a $5 donation will be put on your phone bill. I’m impressed – the Salvation Army is embracing text messaging. What can be next? I guess I'll be writing about that next year.
Are you planning any holiday events? Set up a laptop and give people the opportunity to donate online from your website. You may just catch a few new donors or those in the celebrating mood who give more.
Have more ideas – please post your comments now and share with all of us.
Create your own charity badge at Network for Good under My Profile
Marion Conway Consulting