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Online Fundraising: What’s The Deal?

The nature of the Internet as a far-reaching tool lures many organizations to do online fundraising. In an almost lightning phase, many charitable organizations get listed in different fundraising portals in hope to stir community, not to mention global, awareness and raise more funds. In more extreme instances, some organizations completely forego traditional and tried-and-tested fundraising methods to explore the potentials of online fundraising.

But is it really worth the gamble? Just how effective online fundraising is? And does it really deliver its promise?

Benefits of online fundraising
The Internet has apparently launched a number of new trends, primarily banking on its ability to make communication a lot easier and transactions faster. Its wide reach consequently attracted many organizations to resort to online fundraising. With the Internet, fundraisers are not anymore faced with geographical limitations. It is easier to contact friends, family, and supporters from all across the country. There is also a big chance of getting new donors from half-way across the globe, especially if the organization is listed in a fundraising portal.

The power of the Internet also provides many organizations with a lot of fundraising options. For instance, they can opt to do an online auction through eBay, sell e-books, or sell donated used books through Amazon. Some big organizations also choose to work with affiliate programs. This, for them, is more systematic and profitable. They get paid by referring or promoting products of an affiliate merchant in their own websites. They don’t have to sell, do an inventory, and be forced to discharge unsold products.

Online fundraising normally requires only a few dollars. Email account is free, so do some website hosting services. Signing up for an affiliate program may cost some amount, but the generated profit can cover the fee in a little time.

A website can also work as a powerful publicity tool. With stories and articles posted on the website, it is easier to reach more people at a time. Information dissemination through websites doesn’t require printing costs unlike flyers, stickers, and printed newsletters. In the long run, websites are cost-effective.

Red warning signs
True, online fundraising offers convenience to organizations and their donors. There are, however, some other things to consider. As with all things online, the benefits come with risks.

Getting listed in a fundraising portal, for instance, poses a lot of competition. In a single portal, there are a lot of listed charitable and non-organizations, all of which are vying for potential sponsors and donations. Therefore, the chance of an organization being noticed is shared with other listed organizations.

The ability of a portal to attract visitors is also an important factor. Can it yield high traffic? Can it actually draw potential sponsors?

Though maintaining a website is relatively economical, it proves to be laborious. For one, it should be regularly updated. It should always show new stories, news articles, and pictures. A neglected website sends a message of waning passion. It ceases to become a powerful tool and can actually drive potential sponsors away.

Online fundraising also eliminates the chance of building a strong sense of relationship between organizations and donors. Partnership and camaraderie are now reduced to a virtual relationship. According to experienced fundraising consultants, the best way to ask for money is still through personal contact. In fact, it yields larger donations. Pounding on the keyboard still pales in comparison to looking someone in the eye, they said.

Though online fundraising works for some, it doesn’t mean it fits everyone. Still, it is the charitable or non-profit organization’s responsibility to assess the fundraiser that will produce the best results for their cause.


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