What Can the Internet Offer You Creating New Donors?

With the success of Obamas’ fundraising campaign I believe people will take another look at using the Internet as a fundraising source. And why not I ask? A lot of concepts are there for you free of charge. Your market is always available so why shouldn’t you?

With a few tips and techniques there are ways to set up a presence in the new media to attract donors for your cause.

He Changed It All
Obama’s successful use of new media to generate donations for his campaign will probably permanently change American politics. The campaign team used traditional marketing techniques like radio, TV and direct marketing effectively however they also used the net to the best of its’ abilities.

He embraced new technologies and new audiences. He undoubtedly went to a master list of voters who back the political party time and time again to generate cash, but he also went to younger audiences. The online marketing site www.thuk.co.uk followed his media campaign and says, “66% of 18-29 year olds voted for Obama which amounts to a huge majority. Co-incidentally Chris Hughes the co-founder of the social networking site Facebook, left Facebook to run Obamas’ online marketing team and together they created one of the most successful marketing campaigns to this date.”

He reached younger audiences with mobile technology, the net and using online gathering pages like facebook to get peoples attention.

New Media Appeals to All Age Groups
The same practices that Obama used for his presidential campaign can be used for charity organizations that want an effective presence online. The fact that we’ve established getting the younger audience online isn’t ground breaking. But where will you find the older audience and how can you tie them into keeping current with your website?

A recent in depth study by the Convio Group, called the Wired Wealthy has studied online demographics for charitable contributions. The baby boomers are active online and major donators to causes.

90% of the stereotypical older audiences make purchases online (58% regularly) 78% bank and pay bills online and are extremely generous donors. The report says, “give an average of $10,896 each year to various causes, with a median gift of $4,500. And they are notably wealthy. More than twenty-five percent (25%) have household incomes above $200,000 per year. More than half have annual household incomes above $100,000.”

Now that we’ve pegged your potential audience in future articles in this series we’ll look at how increase your chances of donating online the first time they visit, or at least keeping them interested and in the loop.


In the last article we took a quick look at Obama’s’ very successful presidential fundraising campaign. The campaign used techniques that are available to charitable organizations for raising money in addition to traditional fundraising ideas.

Many Ways to Get Them Interested
Although the age groups look at online activities different they still hold the charitable organizations accountable. They all received the traditional mail advertising from organizations, the deciding factor is accountability with funds. The donors know that the fight won’t be solved immediately but like to feel some form of progress from organizations.

The younger donors tend to feel more of an emotional connection to their charities and would be interested in watching videos or reading blogs while on a charitable organizations website. For older donors they’ve made up there mind already, come to the website to donate and leave. The Clovio Group study called Wired Wealthy states, “This group is also older (fifty-seven percent (57%) are between 45 and 64 years old), is much less open to receiving email than the other clusters, and, for the most part, is more comfortable with offline giving channels.”

What Is The Measuring Stick For A Positive Charitable Online Experience?
What are these age groups looking for in order for them to make the decision to contribute to your cause? When they come to your website the layout needs to be informative, to the point and uncluttered. “Many have, however, embraced the Web for online giving, with half saying that online giving is their preferred giving method. This preference holds true for all three clusters. According to the wired wealthy, the most compelling arguments for online giving are its efficiency, the speed with which the money can be put to use, and the ability for donors to make their gift while the idea is fresh in their mind. A majority of wired wealthy also cite the airline miles they accrue and the ability to track donations more easily as reasons to give on the Web.”

Although these groups respond well to all forms of advertising it seems to be the internet that is the preferred method. With speed and efficiency going for it the importance of stressing a website will only increase, “Forty-six percent (46%) say they are likely to be making more of their donations online using the Internet in five years.”

With solid numbers like these why are so many organizations not really utilizing their websites?

In the previous articles we looked at the success of Obamas’ fundraising campaign where he used the Internet, social websites and email to reach his supporters for funding. Taking those concepts and employing them towards a charities website how do you maximize your web presence to entice online donations?

Your Donors Are Educated and Watching You
Responsibility with donations is still the biggest influence that donors consider when choosing a charity. The only other consideration that ranks as high is a persons’ emotional attachment to the cause.

The study conducted by Convio called The Wired Wealthy says that donors are researching their potential charitable organizations and their success against the issues. “…report visiting third party evaluators – particularly Charity Navigator – as part of their personal philanthropic due diligence. Charity Navigator has just added an option for donors to add their own personal views of various charities and causes. This reflects a broader trend online affecting all areas of commerce, with user-generate content (e.g., Trip Advisor) supplanting “professional” evaluations (e.g., Frommers). There is every reason to expect that this trend will continue to grow within the philanthropy world.

After considering feedback from online third party sites donors read through a charitable organizations website before donating for the first time. Emphasize again has to be put on the importance of a clear navigable website that states how the money generated is being used. It would be good to stress the emotional side and how the donations have helped improve lives. Stating statistics and numbers alone won’t be able to sway potential donor’s minds.

What Concerns Stop Online Donations?
In the last article we see that people have realistic goals about their giving. They expect that the issues today will be long and protracted but are encouraged to see that their money is being well spent. The more responsible an organization is with their donors’ money the more likely those donors are to contribute again.

The layout of the website must be clear to allow quick access for donors to give. The main concern that slows donations is privacy after the donation and continued solicitation. The donors are worried that their information will be sold and given out to further charities or they will be hounded for more money. The only security concern is email from the charities may be fake. With the proper explanation before a donation is made these concerns can set donors at ease and make for a return contribution quicker.