Setting up online fundraising

There are online and mobile services that may be able to help you request and manage donations.

Community organisations may depend on assistance from donors, sponsors, government grants and volunteers. For this reason, fundraising can be a key focus for many organisations.

Online and mobile phone fundraising campaigns are emerging as potentially quick and easy donation methods for existing and new donors. Crowdfunding may also be useful for businesses or not for profit organisations looking to raise funds for specific projects. These methods can allow many people to donate conveniently, while overheads are generally kept to a minimum for organisations.

This page will address:

Online fundraising campaigns

It is increasingly common to see community organisations and charities using the internet to promote causes with email campaigns and strategic placement of messages on the websites of other high traffic sites.

Many organisations have hyperlinks between their online newsletters and their online donation area. This allows their supporters to read a story in the online version of a weekly newsletter and click on ‘donate now’ to go directly to the donation page on the organisation’s website.

Donor management software

There is software that can help your organisation request and accept donations. This software typically includes features to help you with tasks like managing volunteers, conducting raffles and tracking prospective donors. It may include software training as part of its price.

Donor management software packages include Donor Management  and Active Network donation management software .

 

Crowdfunding

‘Crowdfunding’ services may  allow you to create a project page on a third party website to request project-based funding from the public.

A crowdfunding campaign is typically run according to a fixed deadline of 1-3 months. Some services are set up so that no money changes hands if the project hasn’t reached its funding target by the end of the campaign. Others provide the entire pledged amount at the end of the campaign, even if the target is not reached. Users can pledge as large or as small a contribution as they want, even above the funding target.

Campaigns that use crowdfunding typically involve rewards for funding at different levels as an incentive for people to make or increase their donation.

A key advantage of using a crowdfunding service is that you can set up an initiative and accept donations on a third-party website, without the need to modify, or create, your own website.

Crowdfunding websites include:

See our blog post on crowdfunding for more information on how it works and how it can be used.

Mobile phone fundraising campaigns

Donations raised via mobile payments are also possible, via text-to-give campaigns. For example, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti in early January 2010, over US$25 million was raised by text messages sent from donors on mobile phones .

Text-to-give campaigns have their strengths and weaknesses, some of which are discussed in the table below:

Table 1: The pros and cons of text-to-give fundraising
Pros Cons
  • Text-to-give can be convenient. Donors generally face few logistical barriers to making that donation.
  • Donors report that they like the text-to-give experience. According to a survey  by The mGive Foundation , 93% of respondents rated their experience with text giving as excellent or good.
  • Text-to-give can cost your organisation money. A donor’s contribution is added to their mobile phone bill, and then passed on by the phone service provider to the mobile fundraising service that you are using. You could be charged a significant fees  by these two intermediaries.
  • Donations are limited to $5 to $10. This means you need a lot of donations if you have a high fundraising target.

Community organisations may also partner with software developers to develop branded mobile applications that are sold as fundraisers or used to request donations.

Organisations that can provide mobile phone fundraising services include:

Support organisations

There are several support organisations that can provide advice and support for community organisations that wish to make greater use of the internet for fundraising and communications purposes, including: