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Online Technology and Fundraising: A Love Story

Posted by Ashley Shaw on 2/14/17 11:00 AM

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Happy Valentines Day, Everybody! In honor of this most romantic holiday, I am going to tell you guys a very romantic love story: The Marriage of Online Technology and Fundraising.

The Meet Cute: History Between Online Technology and Fundraising

Like any good story, we will begin with…

Once upon a time,

Our heroes meet.

In this case, we could go back a long way to see the first official meeting. I mean, fundraising websites have been around for a while, right?

However, that was just kind of two things existing in the same world and sometimes crossing paths.

They really started to know each other in the 2000’s, which is when we started seeing things like social media and crowdfunding.

Check out Debra Askanase’s “Abbreviated History of Online Fundraising” to see what I mean.

Undeniable Chemistry: How Fundraising Is Improved Through Online Technology

The reason fundraising and tech have such a long history is because they just make sense together.

Your organization needs to raise as much as you can so you can keep doing that great thing you do. And so why wouldn’t you make it easier for yourself by opening up donations to the ever growing online population.

Nonprofit Tech for Good lists out 27 stats about how NGOs around the world use online technology. Let’s look at a couple of key ones:

  • 92% have a website.
  • 67% accept online donations.
  • 77% agree that blogging is an effective part of their communication and fundraising strategy.
  • 74% agree that text messaging is effective.
  • 71% agree that social media is effective for their online fundraising.

Conflict: Why So Many Fundraisers Struggle with Online Technology

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But despite that undeniable chemistry (or maybe even because of it…), the going isn’t always great. Like any good couple, fundraising and technology sometimes don’t get along.

For example, look at some of the issues nonprofits have when it comes to technology:

  • Our donors don’t really understand or want to use technology.
  • We’d rather not spend the money on anything non-essential.
  • We like doing things the way we’ve always done them.

Everyone Sees It But Them: Overcoming Technology Fears for Your Fundraising

We’ve got the chemistry, and we’ve got the conflict. But can we get a happily ever after?

In everything, including love, we sometimes need to take out all of the emotions and look at the risk/reward - isn’t that the single most romantic statement you have heard yet today?

So does the conflict justify the chemistry?

I’d say yes.

Let’s look at some answers to our biggest online fundraising ‘relationship’ fears.

Donors aren’t interested?

A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out why that may, in fact, not be true. There is a good chance your donors are already spending money online. So why not take advantage of that?

Don’t want to spend the money?

I hear you! You want to make money so that your great cause is benefitted the most. And it can be hard to justify the expense of technology.

But consider this:

Many techs can help you make even more money than you spent. Let’s do a little bit of math. (I promise I’ll do all the hard work so you don’t have to think about math too much today.)

You think you’ll make $10,000 at your next big event. You want to find a good online fundraising platform to help you with your auction, registration, check-out, etc. (Yes, yes, funny coincidence that this just happens to be what GiveSmart does. But that’s why I know what I am talking about here.)

You do some research. Any technology company offering these things is circa $2000. There is no way you are going to spend that much! That’d be crazy.

But now let’s say that using techs like this has been shown to help you increase your typical fundraising by about 30%. Okay. Look back to that first number. You think you’ll raise - on your own - $10,000. That means that with the tech package, there is a chance you can raise that number to $13,000. That’s $3000 more, and $1000 more than the $2000 you spent on the service. So….

You actually make money by spending money. And that horrible cliche is proven true. So when considering technology, consider the reviews and the science behind the platform. Will it take (spending) money to make (raising) money?

I talk a little bit more about this in the FREE (that cost is easy to justify!) e-book on event planning. 

Get Free Event Planning E-Book

Plus, for making you do math, I’ll offer up some fun love math, with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s “The Math of Love Triangles.” Because it will make a math lover out of even the hardest-hearted math haters out there.

 

Don’t Want to Change?

I’ll just leave you with Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  

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The Happily Ever After: And Some Wrap-Up Thoughts

There you go. Does it make you believe in love again?

Fundraising and online technology go together like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy - like Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester - like Romeo and Juliet (except without the early death).

So if your fundraiser hasn’t been romancing online technology like it should be, then get on it. It’s time for you to find that happily ever after that fairy tales tell us is the fate of all great romances.

And for more tips and advice on technology and fundraising, make sure to sign up for our newsletter:

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The End!

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Topics: Valentine's Day, Fundraising

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