Random Thoughts on Life and Work

November 13, 2006

What Is In Your Toolbox?

Over the last week or so, I have been wrestling with the question of what tools a non-profit might want to deploy on their website.  Here is a list that might be considered.  Obviously, the overall internet strategy must be considered and not all of these will necessarily apply to every website. 

Keep in mind, the purpose of providing these “hooks” to your constituency is to encourage their involvement with your mission.  You will need to consider your own organizational DNA to determine how appropriate some of these are and how/where they are placed on your website.  I have tried to organize the tools so that they make some sort of logical sense.

Keeping your donors informed:

  • RSS feed(s)
  • Sign up forms for newsletters, e-newsletters, special alerts, etc
  • Special blog page(s)

Tools for your donors to be ambassadors for you:

  • Banners for your supporters who have their own websites
  • “Friends asking friends” utility such as ChipIn or Firstgiving
  • Testimonials from your supporters on your website
  • Downloadable images for your supporters to use to create their own publicity pieces
  • Seasonal e-cards

Development tools:

  • Monthly giving mechanism
  • Online donor service form
  • 3rd party portals such as online shopping or eBay/MissionFish
  • Urgent needs link
  • Planned giving pages

Community building:

  • “Members only” section of the website
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Downloadable video files
  • Virtual locations such as Second Life

Wrap these into a strategy of reaching your supporters who interact already on the web and, if done well, it is likely you will see some interesting dynamics develop within your constituent base.



  1. I like this list a lot–good summary of how to pull it all together.

    Comment by Michele Martin — November 22, 2006 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Michele. I am sure there are more out there that I haven’t included. But it’s a start.

    Comment by rallyfan — November 22, 2006 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  3. Good list. I am not 100% convinced that RSS is that important yet. Yes, we are all using it – but most non-techy people still don’t.
    Additional ideas:
    – online event registration (e.g. for a fundraising event)
    – automatic email notifications for events (probably covered under your point “special alerts”)
    – online directory/list of donors/supporters/volunteers (of course each person has to have control over inclusion into the list – and what information is to be shown)
    – and good old discussion forums.

    Comment by Chief Apricot — November 30, 2006 @ 11:22 am | Reply

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