Web Advice

By Kim Ukura

Developing an effective online presence is important - almost all organizations now have a website, many are using social media, and some are effectively fundraising and soliciting donations online. But before embarking on any sort of online initiative, it's important to decide what you want to accomplish then find the tools that can help you accomplish your goals.

Before you decide what tools to use, the Network for Good Learning Center suggests the following steps to decide your online goals:

Gather input from organizational stakeholders to guage commitment levels from everyone involved. A good online strategy doesn't just come from one person or one department -- it's a commitment from the entire organization. Gathering input from others can give you ideas about what to try and who can help.

Integrate online and offline strategies to use resources most effectively. Any good internet strategy will work in tandem with what you're already doing. Going online should enhance your other projects, not cause more unnecessary work. Work with staff to integrate online messages with print materials and be consistent across online and offline work.

Commit resources to your online venture. Creating a website can be inexpensive, but doing it well takes an investment of time and possibly money. It's also important to be willing to commit the time it takes to market an online strategy effectively.

Consider the effects on staff. An online strategy shouldn't be the work of one person, and those involved online need to have the fact that they're doing new tasks acknowledged.

Once you've thought through these questions and issues, you can start taking on the details of building your online strategy. Kivi Leroux Miller suggests a five-step approach for developing an online marketing strategy which is adapted here:

Introduction: How do I develop an online strategy?

  1. Tips on Developing a Website.
  2. Creating Content for Your Website
  3. Email Lists and RSS Feeds
  4. Using Social Media
  5. Assessing Your Online Strategy

Clicking on the links above will take you to more information about each of these steps. This page also includesInformation on Online Fundraising below.

Blogs/Websites on Nonprofit Online Strategy



Online Fund Raising

Online fundraising has been growing in the last five years, but recent research suggests that nine percent of donors gave online. Donors who contribute online are typically younger and have a higher household income.

About.com provides these 10 Online Fundraising Basics. The article goes into a lot of detail on each of these points, so it's a good read if you're interested in online fundraising.

  • Get legal with your online fundraising.
  • Market your online fundraising program.
  • Explore all your options for online fundraising.
  • Make sure your website invites online donations.
  • Observe online etiquette in your online fundraising.
  • Provide lots of ways for people to donate - not just online.
  • Make sure that your website donation button is bit and above the fold.
  • Provide the opportunity for non-monetary contributions such as volunteer time.
  • Show real donors and specify how donations will help.
  • Try segmentation of your online fundraising audience.

Studies show that people who donate online look for very specific information from a website -- the organization's mission, goals, objectives, and work. They also want to know how a charity will use donations. It's really important your website includes that information.