Donations: Alternative Approaches

In the previous 6 Wednesday posts I have shown you how to make a case for donations to your cause online. This post considers some alternative approaches to designing your site.

This is a standard approach, which may work for many organisations:

This sequence is a model.  How you develop it is up to you.  You could build a website with six pages, each mirroring a step in this sequence.  But the sequence is really a guide and so long as each step is present, how you present them depends upon your creativity.

Purpose of Your Site

Towards the end of the sequence, I considered some issues worthy of further thought.  What is the purpose of your site?  To receive a single donation is not the most effective approach.  Your aim is to build a relationship with your donors.  That way they can offer you more value than a one-off donation.

It may sometimes make sense to ask for a donation immediately, for example if there is a crisis and you need large sums immediately, but building a relationship is a better investment for your effort.

Someone on your email list may donate several times during their relationship with your charity.  They may also offer you other opportunities, for example

  • contact with other potential donors
  • they might take your campaigns to off-line places, eg by presenting your case at meetings
  • feedback about what interests them, and the information they need
  • campaigning, on and off-line

The key to developing a good relationship is to offer good content.  So, offer information about how you use donations and be more ambitious!

You can produce educational material to give away or sell to your donors.  This may equip donors with the knowledge they need to promote your cause more effectively or it could be something of value to the donor personally, eg a charity that promotes health may offer advice about personal health.

Whatever you do, think carefully about the purpose of your site.  It is not always what you might think.  You need to plan for the long haul.  If you make contact with people who are keen supporters, and help them deepen their commitment to your cause, they may be willing supporters of your work for years to come.


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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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