What is Online Fundraising?

What is Online Fundraising?

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Have you been hearing the buzz about online fundraising, but you’re not quite sure what it is, or how to use it?  Get the scoop and find out if it’s right for you and your group.

Everybody is familiar with traditional fundraising.  I remember being in elementary school and looking at all the neat toys and gadgets I could get as prizes by selling a certain amount of products from a catalog.  Times have changed, and fundraising has evolved.  Now, groups have the opportunity to do traditional fundraising campaigns and combine this with online fundraising campaigns.  So, what is online fundraising?  Why are large non-profit corporations and major politicians using it?  How can it affect your fundraising strategies?

Let’s say you’re selling chocolates at one of your group events, but some people don’t have any change or money with them to pay on the spot.  Imagine if you could give them a small card with a website address that allows them to purchase or contribute to your cause at their leisure from home!  Many people will be curious to check it out and will very likely buy something to support you.

Now let’s go a step further:  What if you had a tool to add all of your email contacts (Aunt May, Uncle Jim, Cousin Barry, etc.), and they could contribute to your group online no matter where they were in the country?  And what if Aunt May, Uncle Jim, and cousin Barry were also able to access this tool for you and send this message to all of their friends?

This, my fellow fundraisers, is what is called Viral Fundraising.  So if your group has 10 people, and each one sends only 10 emails, you have 100 potential contributors.  These contributors can send e-mails to 10 other people, and now your online campaign will have 1,000 potential contributors!

If your group already has a website, you can also promote your online fundraiser by linking to it.  Don’t have a website?  You can find some tips in our how to make a website for your organization article.

There are many online fundraising programs out there.  They will allow anyone from your neighbor to far away family members and friends to participate in your cause.  Most take very little time to do and are easy to use, which means that it will not take your time away from doing other fun traditional fundraising activities.

Here are some great online fundraising resources:

Magazine fundraising
Donation fundraising (only accepts registered non-profits)

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