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E-Campaigns Raising Funds

  • Online fundraising is growing

  • Nonprofits can save money

As the number of people utilizing the Internet increases dramatically, e-campaigns are gaining ground in business, politics, and in the nonprofit sector. Over the past few years more of these organizations have been increasing their use of e-campaigns, a term coined to describe Web based communication programs.

The Internet provides a number of relatively low-cost communication opportunities that are still underutilized by all types of businesses including nonprofit organizations. The cost of conducting an e-campaign depends on the type of campaign but the point is that it is a much lower cost than traditional media and can be a great solution for nonprofit organizations that must pinch pennies to survive.

When thinking about e-campaigns, consider that they can include contextual ads, search driven ads, and of course e-mail. Contextual ads are paid placement based on matching the ad to the content of a publisher’s Web page. Search-based ads appear in search engines from Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN and more based on matching search terms to an ad’s key words. These ads can be priced based on the number of time the ad is viewed which is measured in “impressions” or pricing can be based on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. PPC e-campaigns are becoming more popular and preferred as they are based on including a link back to the organization’s Web site which assures that payment for the ad has resulted in someone seeking additional information from the organization’s Web site.

Using e-mail to send messages and engage prospects is how most people perceive e-campaigns, but this method should be conducted with care. The proliferation of spam (unwanted e-mail) is an annoyance for anyone with an email address. Nonprofit organizations should only send e-mail to people who have expressly agreed to receive it from the organization after they willingly provided their e-mail address to the nonprofit. This means that you should not buy e-mail addresses, even those called “opt-in”, as often people on those lists do not realize they have opted-in to so many e-campaigns.

Try to collect e-mail address as you communicate with people through traditional media. Let them know that you will honor their privacy and not sell their e-mail address but that e-campaigns are cheaper and therefore a greater percentage of every donation will go toward the organization’s charitable mission. The reality is that e-campaigns show good stewardship on the part of the nonprofit organization because they eliminate a fair amount of printing and mailing cost. Remember, however, that people change e-mail addresses far more often than they change home addresses so it is important to keep other contact information for constituents up-to-date.

There is a lot more to learn about advertising and marketing on the Internet including the value of a good domain name, the need for search-engine optimization of Web sites, the importance of linking to other Web sites and more. Give e-campaigns a try to get started and soon you’ll be learning about the many ways to use the Internet to reach more people more often and at a lower cost.

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