How would you like to encourage others to do your work for you? Sounds good doesn’t it? Anyone reading this post who might happen to be a fund-raising professional should sit up and take note! A recent study by Network for Good highlights 9 key findings from donor activity through their giving portal during 2005. Finding # 6 was particularly interesting to me. “The Internet has created a new type of donor: the citizen philanthropist.” The executive summary of the study can be found here.
It was especially interesting to me to read from other sources of this new paradigm in fund-raising. Maybe it has been there for some time but where I work we are really becoming aware of this “movement” to be involved. We have grabbed the term “Ambassador” to describe donors who want to be involved with what we do by raising funds to benefit a particular project. Part of my responsibilities is to manage these developing relationships.
What we are noticing is that these types of relationships come at various levels. Everything from a website-to-website link to concerts and even newspaper ads. The challenge with managing the process is that a charity needs to balance state fund-raising regulation with donor relationships. And all of that within the context of the charity’s own DNA. Here are some ideas on how to make the process easy for your donors but retain the ability to manage the quality of the activity.
- Consider adding a section to your website, within the giving context (or whatever special name you give your fund-raising pages), that will facilitate getting involved.
- For the simple website-to-website links, consider placing an approved logo on your website that is available for download. Adding qualifying instructions can help to ensure that the logo is used appropriately.
- For individuals, consider making a service such as FirstGiving available. This provides individuals with a real heart for your organization the opportunity to raise funds for their specific areas of interest within your mission. You can place information and instructions on your website to make this easier.
- For inquiries about large events such as concerts, consider providing a form on your website that can be completed with the appropriate information such as location, date, sponsor, donation information, etc. This form should be sent to a designated person in your development office for review. A formal approval process should be in place that will authorize (or not) the event. Make sure that the approval process is easy to manage, smooth to facilitate, and quick to complete.
Keep in mind that certain states have regulations about how fund-raising can be conducted by parties not employed by the organization. It is important to keep these in mind as you work through developing your own response to this growing phenomenon.
Just a thought.