Online Fundraising Resources Center


Fundraising and the Internet:
An Introductory Tour

February 5, 2000
Smithsonian Institution
Washington DC


E-Mail |Prospect Research | Web-Centric Fundraising

UPDATE: CLICK2SCAM? A few resources on fraud

Win Big Bucks in Cyberspace!
  • The Red Cross raised $1.2MM Jan-June 99 -- 9000-plus gifts

  • has received $13MM in pledges and pledges for 776,485 hours of volunteer work

  • John McCain raised more than $700,000 online in the first two days after winning the New Hampshire primary

  • Online petitions and other advocacy e-mail circulate through individuals' personal networks

  • The online community is now more than 73 million (Aug 99) and growing exponentially

  • Online giving lags online buying -- See Craver, Mathews, Smith report on socially engaged users

E-mail: the real "killer app"
  • With colleagues and constituencies -- to work with individuals and small groups

  • With colleagues and constituencies -- share ideas and information on listservs

  • Broadcast e-mail -- "e-newsletters" and "click to give"

  • The power of "word of mouse"

The cyber-snoop: Using the Internet for prospect research
  • Some URLs (includes some general fund-raising resources)

  • Strategy:
    • find the most useful research sites for your organization
    • Use the 80/20 rule -- don't let your reseachers get bogged down
    • Be pleased with info on 50% of your prospects

Web-centric Fundraising

  • Reasons people visit a web site:

    • push vs. pull
    • Some "pulls" -- cause, content, service, entertainment
    • Other "pulls" to bring subsequent traffic: involvement devices (online courses, chat, book clubs, private passworded sections)
    • Some "pushes" -- "word of mouse" referrals, banner ads, a "channel" service, offering free e-mail, free screensavers, printing URL on all printed material, actively seeking out cross-linkages in your organization or some natural partners

  • Components of a good nonprofit web site

    • Provides an online library about your cause
    • Makes compelling statement of your case
    • Offers abundant opportunities for involvement
    • Recognizes donors and volunteers
    • For examples of sites and further analysis, see also

  • Reaping the harvest of your web site

    • Collecting e-mail addresses
    • Online gifts and pledges

  • Some of the nuts and bolts: HTML, server space, other issues


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