Online fundraising: August 2010 Archives

August 30, 2010

How Your Nonprofit's Volunteers Can Improve Your Image in 5 Minutes

Have you trolled the Internet lately for sites that review nonprofits? They're out there. And unless you take steps to manage what's posted there in regard to your group, your sole review may be from the person with an attitude who got a rise out of your normally charming receptionist.

Sites such as GreatNonprofits (, Guidestar ( and even Yelp ( allow people who aren't directly paid by a nonprofit -- such as donors, volunteers, board members, and customers or recipients of services -- to post their opinion. And as always, the complainers often seem to be the loudest, or the most motivated to vent.

Take a look, and don't freak out if you see any negative comments. It's as an opportunity to fix things before they bother someone else. But also get the word out to the people who know and love your work that you could use some reviews from them -- honest ones, but hopefully also bringing attention to the best of what you do. It will take them a mere few minutes for each one. That's a lot of marketing bang for the buck.  
August 19, 2010

Fundraising Kudos to: Monterey Bay Aquarium's Free Desktop Wallpaper

FIrst, a confession. When I'm bored at work, I surf the Web in search of a new and fabulous image to decorate that glowing screen at which I stare for untold hours.

Which is why I was so pleased to come across the Monterey Bay Aquarium's selection of free desktop wallpaper. Cuddly otters, surreal jellyfish, and even a Pacific spiny lumpsucker are all there, in high quality photo form.

What does this have to do with fundraising, you ask? It's easy -- one of the cardinal rules in making connections with donors through your website is to give them a reason to keep coming back, and this wallpaper does just that. In fact, in the Aquarium's case, it may have already have driven other people to the site, who came into my office and said, "Ooh, cool jellyfish, where's that from?"

Interesting visuals are always a good way to give your site drawing power, and have the added bonus that you don't need to spend time drafting and proofreading them. I read a recent account of a real estate agent who writes a blog; and one of his most popular entries was a mystery photo, where he asked people, "What is it?" (That has the added bonus of being interactive, another way to establish a sense of connection with Web visitors.) You could do that too!

For more comprehensive advice on making your website serve your fundraising goals, see the free article on Nolo's website, "Using Your Nonprofit's Website to Help Fundraise."
August 9, 2010

Fundraising Kudos to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

I wasn't planning to think about fundraising while on vacation in Tahoe last week -- but in another illustration that nonprofits are everywhere, and an integral part of our enjoyment of life, I happened to take a hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail. It's a trail that wouldn't exist but for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.

Of course, I wouldn't have known that if they hadn't cleverly posted a sign at the trailhead explaining the association's history. It's an interesting account of how the founder, Glen Hampton, started out with a dream of a trail that circled the ridges of Lake Tahoe.
Thumbnail image for tahoe rim sign.JPG
Hampton was an avid hiker and Forest Service employee, who pursued that dream while a grad student and then a guest instructor at the University of Nevada-Reno.

The association was officially begun in 1982, and had to raise over a million dollars in order to complete the trail -- which it did, in 2001. Now the Association continues to maintain the trail, as well as sponsor hiking trails, discussion boards, and other events of public interest.

trail box.JPGAfter reading the Association's inspiring story, I thought, "Ok, so where's the donation box?" I was getting mentally ready to write a "fundraising oops" blog -- until I got about fifty feet up the trail, and there was a big green box.

I guess they didn't want to seem grabby, or at least wanted us to appreciate a little bit of wilderness before pulling out our wallets.

And what wilderness it is . . . below is a view from further up the trail, looking down toward Spooner Lake.
tahoe rim view.JPG 
By the way, the Rim Trail Association website does a great job of advising people how to get involved, including stories of other donors and what moved them to pitch in.

And if you thought only children or animals could be "adopted" by donors, don't fail to notice their "Adopt a Vista" program!