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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Veldon Law: Into The World Of Online Giving

Remember the fun of hide and seek…ready or not here I come? Well, like the game, online charitable giving is coming…"ready or not."

Ready for some astounding figures? Fidelity Charity Gift Fund and United Way raised $314 million and $257.4 million respectively in 2007 through their online efforts. While online giving rarely has climbed above five percent of all gifts received, it is something many non-profit organizations are pursuing with vigor. In 2007, eight charities raised $25 million or more online. Ted Hart (CEO of Hart Philanthropic Services) has tracked online giving since 2001. He reports that on-line giving reached $10.44 billion in 2007, a 52 percent increase over the previous year. Compared to all giving in that year, $10.44 billion is small potatoes, but the continued and expected giving growth, through this medium, is a trend that deserves watching.

As further evidence of the need to follow this trend:

The University of Indiana Foundation projected it would raise $900,000 via its online efforts. This was a whopping 150 percent increase over the $356,079 they raised online in 2007.

The Wise Giving Alliance found that their survey’s youngest respondents, those between 18 and 29, are the most open to the idea of giving online. This bodes well for having online giving as an option.

The ePhilanthropy Foundation found the average age of donors who currently give online is between 35 and 40. This bodes well as an existing target market as foundations woo and cultivate this particular generation’s support.

The future of online giving suggests the need to plan for the time when those between the ages of 18 and 29, that have grown up with computer and web access most of their lives, begin to dominate the giving landscape. While this eventuality is at least 20 to 25 years away, wise foundations should now be planning how to best court this market, and in the meantime, begin to garner resources from other tech savvy donors.

Through online fundraising leaders of non-profit organizations have a new venue for reaching out to potential support.

Tips for Online Fundraising

Joanne Fritz, nonprofit columnist on offers these 10 tips for online fundraising:
1. Get legal with your online fundraising.
2. Market your online fundraising program.
3. Explore all of your options for online fundraising.
4. Make sure your website invites online donations.
5. Observe proper online etiquette in your online fundraising.
6. Provide lots of ways for people to donate—not just online.
7. Make sure that your website donation button is big and above the fold.
8. Provide the opportunity for non-monetary contributions, such as volunteer time.
9. Show real donors and specify how donations will help.
10. Try segmenting your online fundraising audience.

Read Joanne Fritz’s full article, “Online Fundraising: A Start-up Guide.”

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