Private Grants Alert

When It Comes to Online Fundraising, Just Think KISS; Keep It Simple, Stupid

Grant Guru is an occasional feature in which we answer questions from our readers about fundraising. It is part of our continuing effort to enhance our coverage. Dear Grant Guru: "We are starting an online Web-based fundraising appeal. Do you have any suggestions on the best way to start? This is our first time." Grant Guru: Launching an online funding appeal can seem daunting. It really isn't. While approaches to online fundraising can vary based on organizational mission, staff resources and constituent base, every online fundraising program should have four basic goals: Make people aware of your organization; get people to care about your organization; encourage people to support your organization; and keep people connected to your organization. Here are 10 quick tips that will help you reach these goals and get the results you want. Drive traffic. Never pass up an opportunity to gather e-mail addresses at your functions or to encourage people to register at yourwebsite -- even if they don't donate -- so you can continue to cultivate them. In your offline publications, highlight your Web site and the benefits of donating online. Know your audience. Who do you hope will donate to your organization? Keep in mind their age, technological comfort level, and Internet connection when creating an online fundraising presence. A website heavy on graphics and presentations, for example, may turn off a potential donor connecting via a slower connection. Maintain your brand. Your online identity and message should reflect your offline identity and message, since that's the brand with which your constituents identify. It is important to maintain consistency among all communication channels. Stay fresh. View your website as a high-impact marketing and communications tool. Keep it updated. This demonstrates that your organization continues to have relevance and an impact. Make it easy. While a website should tell about the nonprofit's mission through vivid graphics and inspiring stories, it also must allow both casual browsers and frequent visitors to donate to the organization. Be clear, be brief. Articulate your organization's mission on your home page. Individuals' attention...

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