Discover the next generation of online fundraising
EFUNDRAISING, February 14, 2007 You just learned that you were put in charge of the band's
fundraising for the coming year. No need for despair! There are new,
exciting and easier ways to raise money these days.
The World Wide Web has helped many groups meet their fundraising goals
through a whole new generation of fundraising programs. Online
fundraising is set to take center stage in the fundraising industry. To
keep you in the know, here's a look at some frequently asked questions
about online fundraising.
How does online fundraising work?
Online fundraisers take many different forms, but you'll generally find
them to be either purely online, or hybrids that incorporate online
components with traditional programs.
Some fundraisers take place entirely online. Usually, the company you're
working with provides an online fundraising store, which you register
for and personalize online.
With a purely online fundraiser, your promotion can also take place
online. Some companies will list your store on their website's main
directory so your supporters, friends and family can find your store.
Some programs allow you to send email invitations to your supporters so
they can simply click a link to begin shopping in your online store.
A good online fundraising company will provide online reports to show
how much you sold, which students participated, and how much profit you
made. You typically receive profit checks on a monthly basis either
through a service like PayPal, or through regular mail.
Even traditional fundraisers such as selling chocolate candy bars
incorporate online components that make managing the program
easier. For example, as the fundraising manager you might use the
company's website to place your product orders even though the products
will actually be sold offline.
What will I be selling online?
The products in your online fundraiser will vary depending on the
company you work with. Some programs offer a wide variety of products
(like a department store), some just one or two products (like a specialty
store), while others allow you to choose from a list of products
or stores you'd like to promote (like a shopping mall).
You typically earn a higher payout from programs where you sell one or
two products. This is because the company will likely have a special
deal with the supplier allowing them to purchase products at a lower
cost. The benefit to you and your supporters is that you can earn a
solid profit without having to sell over-priced products.
How do my group members participate?
For companies that provide a built-in email feature, group member
participation is a breeze. You send emails to notify your group of your
fundraising campaign launch, and then your group members send email
invitations to their friends and family. The invites include links so
supporters can easily access your store and make purchases. The idea is
similar to the "tell-a-friend" feature you find on many websites and
If you're working with a company that does not provide a built-in email
service, you'll still want to use email to help publicize your campaign.
When you send your store's link to family or friends, be sure to include
the full web address exactly as it appears in the address bar when you
visit your store online. This is to ensure that all sales will be properly
credited to your organization.
The downside to creating your own emails is that these companies cannot
track group member participation for you (and it means extra work on
your end!). Companies with built-in features can usually provide you
with reporting that shows which of your group members have participated
in the fundraising campaign.
Is online fundraising safe?
Secure web browsers and clear privacy policies are essential for making
smart, safe purchases online. Since not all companies use best
practices, you should research a company before working with them as
your fundraising partner. Here are some things to look for when
considering an online fundraising company:
Can I actually raise money with online fundraisers?
- Are they certified by a third-party organization?
Look for logos from organizations like Thawte and VeriSign. These
logos mean an outside organization has declared the website secure.
exactly how they use personal information such as mailing and email
addresses. Look for a company that clearly states that the information
you provide will not be shared or sold.
- Do they ask for your credit card number when you try to register?
Unless there's a cost to register, there's absolutely no reason the
company needs your credit card number. If you're not making a purchase,
and they ask for your credit card number, find another company! If there
is a cost to register, you should consider finding another company
anyway. There are many great fundraising companies that offer their
online programs for free.
- Are they a well-known company?
Ask people you know if they've ever worked with the company, or know
of anyone else who has. There are also many online forums that discuss
fundraising programs and ideas, as well as the different companies that
provide them. Look around the company's website to see if they are affiliated with a
larger, better known company.
Online fundraising is becoming more popular because it actually works.
If you aren't convinced, most online fundraisers are free, so you
aren't risking anything to try it.
Keep in mind that your main job with an online fundraiser will be
marketing and promotion. Your family and friends need to know about your
fundraiser so they can support it!
You might consider running a traditional fundraising campaign (for
example, a cookie dough sale) alongside a free online fundraising
campaign. The money you raise online will be icing on the cake!
In short, there's a lot of potential in online fundraising. The payout
to you could really boost your next fundraising campaign!
Marching.com has partnered with eFundraising.com (a subsidiary of QSP
Reader's Digest) to help bands across the nation reach their fundraising
The company offers a
free online magazine fundraiser which boasts 40% profit for your group, a built-in email feature, and reporting to let
you track sales and participation. They also have a large selection of
traditional fundraising products including chocolate, lollipops,
scratchcards and cookie dough.
Request a free fundraising guide or
call 1.800.860.9241 to speak to their consultants who can answer questions and help you
decide which fundraising options are best for you.
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