How to create a disaster fundraising disaster

I cringe every time someone reports on what happened when they sent a bunch of charitable gifts. Not because I wish they wouldn’t do it — I’m glad they do. But because the results of this type of research is so numbingly predictable — and bad.

About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs blog sent online gifts for relief work in Japan. The results: How Not to Thank a Donor During a Disaster. Yep, the headline pretty much tells the story:

The result? Only one provided a thank you email that was specific to the relief efforts in Japan. The others were all generic: thank you very much and here’s your receipt.

Besides that, I found one donation page that never loaded after my information was entered, thus aborting my donation; another website required me to go through a registration process before sending me to the donation page; and one site where I couldn’t find a page dedicated to Japan relief even though the home page said I could do so.

These massive and all-too-common online flubs set back online fundraising (and fundraising in general) every time they happen. They show donors that giving online is frustrating, unrewarding, and often impossible.

Every one of us has a responsibility to get it right. Not just for our own organizations’ bottom lines, but for donors and nonprofits in general.

Fundraising online is more than just banging out an email or slapping up a photo on your homepage.

You won’t get (and hardly deserve) the donations you need if you don’t cover the bases:


  • A working, specific, clear, easy-to-use landing page.
  • Adequate and specific thanking and welcoming of new donors.
  • A plan for what to do with new donors. (New donors motivated by Japan are going to be harder to keep than most new donors.)


Comments

2 responses to “How to create a disaster fundraising disaster”

  1. Jeff, thanks so much for blogging about my Japan experiment!

  2. Jeff, thanks so much for blogging about my Japan experiment!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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