Online Fundraising Resources Center


Fundraising and Friendraising in Cyberspace

Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, November 6, 2000

Major Donors and Donor Recognition

Non-profit organizations can raise funds for their website and through their website. The Penn library has been quite successful in raising funds for the "digital library." In the past five years, some of these gifts have included:

  • $50,000 from a private foundation to create a research-level site on Theodore Dreiser
  • $300,000 gift from an individual to develop our electronic publishing capacity
  • $200,000 from NEH to create a Shakespeare/English Renaissance teaching site online
  • $25,000 from an individual to put a collection of illustrated books online
  • $150,000 from an individual to create a digital library "R&D;" fund
  • $168,000 from a private foundation to put new history books online in full-text
  • $500,000 in-kind software grant from a leading company to enhance our searching capacities (and showcase their product)
  • $500,000 from NEH in the form of a Challenge Grant to endow our electronic publishing program which we will use to leverage $2,000,000 in additional gifts (we have raised over $600,000 in the first seven months)

The glamour of the Internet has spilled over into our buildings. We have been able to raise millions of dollars for Internet-related improvements: We have also been able to raise funds through the website:

Recognition sites:

Good stewardship is good fundraising.

  • A well-thanked and well-recognized donor is an inspiration to other prospective supporters.
  • Furthermore, a happy donor is an excellent prospect for a second gift, and a third--as every major gift officer can attest.
  • Therefore, we recommend that donor recognition be one of the first things that any NPO undertake on its Website.

Some of our results:

  • One donor family has made a second major gift and is considering two more.
  • Another increased his six-figure contribution by an additional 50%.
  • Another donor has given us an "R&D;" fund, to be used solely for experimentation.
  • Another has made a second gift, and has brought his "" CEO son into the agreement.

Tips and Ideas

  • Get a "volunteer" for your first recognition page.
  • Make sure to obtain the donor's approval before putting her on a Website.
  • Consider interviewing the donor specifically for the Website.
  • Download your Recognition Pages and take them on the road.
  • Remember that you can print pages once you create them.

See also Cybergifts, Part 9



Send comments to Adam Corson-Finnerty ( or Laura Blanchard (