Online fundraising is growing like never before. According to a new report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Web-based fundraising grew 13 percent last year. The Chronicle surveyed 100 of the largest nonprofits in its Philanthropy 400 rankings. Of these, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society received the highest number of Internet gifts, with more than $98 million received in 2013.
The results of the survey reflect findings by similar reports, including those from Network for Good, a nonprofit that helps organizations raise money online. The organization processed $190 million in online donations in 2013, up from 20 percent in 2012.
However, many nonprofit leaders noted that digital fundraising still has to be connected to events in the real world to be successful.
“I have yet to see pure online fundraising really take off,” Patricia Goldman, chief marketing officer of The March of Dimes, told The Chronicle. “It has to be connected to the real world. That’s why we’re still doing runs, walks, and rides,” she added.
Still, social media and other digital channels are an excellent way to raise awareness and generate conversation about whatever cause a nonprofit is supporting.
Facebook has also recently launched features that make it a more effective platform for fundraising. As Techcrunch announced this winter, Facebook created a “Donate Now” button that nonprofit organizations can post on their Facebook page. This could potentially increase donations by allowing users to contribute without having to click through to a different website.
The challenge, with all of these new donation channels, is maintaining information from previous contributors. Nonprofits can use donation management software to keep track of donors more effectively. Gaining new contributors through digital campaigns can be very beneficial, but maintaining contact with these individuals and developing a relationship is also important for them to continue giving.