Just because “non-profits” have no profit does not mean that they should not use technology to boost the money coming in, so that they can use it for the greater good.
Kristy Hall, President of Universal Synergy Group, LLC, helps nonprofit organizations and NGOs across the globe accomplish their mission.
I asked her to share her advice in how non-profits can leverage technology to increase their money flow.
Top Five Ways Nonprofits can use technology to raise money – they’re all free (or almost).
1. Have a “Donate Now” Button
Today, your organization must have a website. If you don’t have a website, that’s your first priority. An online search is one of the first places a potential donor turns to determine if an organization is legitimate.
And, I’m amazed when I ask groups of nonprofits that of those that have websites how many groups do not have a “Donate Now” Button on their site. Whether people donate online or not, you look more credible if you are able to accept online donations.
IMPORTANT: Just having a “Donate Now” Button does not mean that you’ll automatically raise tons of money online.
Get more information on how to get your organization’s “Donate Now” Button here:
www.TechSoup.org, www.google.com/nonprofits, www.NetworkForGood.org
2. Hold an Online Event
Why hold an online “event”? They can be held for virtually no cost. (Put “free teleconferencing services” into your search engine.)
What could your online “event” be? Hold a Teleseminar or Webinar.
Most organizations have access to valuable expertise — even if they don’t realize it — through their boards or volunteers. Take an informal survey of your volunteers and board members — find out what skills they have. Once you’ve identified someone with expertise (that people normally would pay for), then ask them to do a teleseminar or webinar. The volunteer would provide the training and in exchange the participants make a donation to your organization.
3. Blend Online & Offline Opportunities
We don’t live our ENTIRE lives online. Neither do donors – they like to connect. So, take advantage of blending online & offline methods.
For example, even in lean economic times, most volunteers or board members would be willing to host a low-cost event in their homes. For example, volunteers or board members could invite their circle of friends, serve tea (or other beverage of their choice) and listen to a podcast on a topic relevant to your organization’s mission. Of course, they also would provide an opportunity for folks to donate to your organization. Remember to make it easy for the volunteer or board member — provide them with the link to the podcast, brochures, donation forms, and any other resources they may need.
Another option for blending online & offline opportunities is to hold a “call-a-thon” where
board members and volunteers call every person on your donor list and let them know about the new online campaign and encourage donors to visit the website or click on a link that will be coming to them shortly. Be sure to provide Talking Points for each volunteer or board member making calls and include the benefits to the donors (how do they benefit from contributing or participating in the campaign) in the Talking Points.
4. Raise Money “Passively”
Your organization can sign up for any number of search engine or shopping portal sites (for example, www.goodsearch.org or www.givingworks.ebay.com) that contribute a certain amount to your organization for each person that uses the site.
The benefit is that people who care about your organization can support you without contributing any funds. In fact, they would be purchasing, selling or searching for things they would purchase, sell or search for anyway. The challenge is motivating people to change their habits – for example, searching through goodsearch instead of google. (See “Have a Plan To Drive Traffic – Zoom, Zoom!” below)
5. Have a Plan To Drive Traffic – Zoom, Zoom!
Once you somewhere to go online – your Donate Now Button, signing up for your online event, or a search engine/shopping portal – you will need a plan to let your current and potential donors know about it.
What can you include in your plan?
Email: If you have email addresses for your donors (which I HIGHLY recommend), then you can create a series of short emails informing donors of your campaign and how they can support you. Additionally, board members and volunteers can send message to their personal networks about the campaign.
Make sure you send a series of emails – one single email will not yield the results you likely want. Also, make sure to articulate how they benefit from contributing or participating in the campaign.
Social Media: Encourage your volunteers and board members to leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking sites. Individuals or organizations can post information on causes that are important to them and encourage their own networks to support them as well – including links to your website.
Contests: I like contests! Creating a contest accomplishes two things. First, you create urgency. Creating urgency gets results. Second, you tap into the competitive nature most people have (in varying degrees). A desire to “win” exists in most of us, so leverage that for the greater good. Make sure to provide regular updates throughout the contest and prizes (donated by a local business) to keep people engaged.
Remember: whatever fundraising event or campaign you choose, be sure it is consistent with your organization’s mission. To your success!
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