The Web Is Still a Great Place to Raise $$, If You Can Keep Up
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It’s not enough anymore to just have a donate button on your website. Nonprofits have new ways of engaging online with donors, so we talked to two companies leading the way.
Public Good co-founders Jason Kunesh and Dan Ratner recently launched a tool that connects people to nonprofits through causes they’re interested in. So someone reading an article about gun control will see an embedded “Take Action” button that allows them to learn about local gun control events and organizations. Dan, who worked with Jason on online giving for Obama for America in 2012, says the service works because it’s reaching donors, especially Millennials, in the way they want to be reached. Dan says it’s also an opportunity for nonprofits to develop a relationship with someone and teach them about their cause before the hard ask for money.
Public Good, based in Chicago, is forming partnerships with major foundations, media companies and e-commerce sites to get the “Take Action” widgets embedded on their sites. Most of the interest so far has come from media companies. And the causes have primarily focused on violence, basic human services and education. Environmental issues are gaining some traction, says Dan. The service is free for charitable organizations—they can sign up on the website, create a profile and list what causes they’re focused on. They also have the option of using it as a fundraising solution. Public Good receives 5% of the funds raised.
Another tool is YouGiveGoods, which was founded in 2011 by Lisa Tomasi (left), who was inspired to launch the for-profit company after the earthquake in Haiti. She had heard that batteries and mosquito netting were in need but couldn’t figure out how to get them in the right hands. The online marketplace allows people to purchase supplies for their favorite causes. YouGiveGoods has a large warehouse in Phoenix that stores all the items, so the organization is able to get them directly to the right charity. Corporations, small businesses and individual volunteers can set up online drives and the goods are delivered when the drive is over.
Northrop Grumman has used the site for its national charitable programs, including collecting school supplies and items for Toys for Tots. Lisa says the site has been successful because it speaks to the convenience and love for online shopping. And donors get the transparency they want when donating to a charity. Lisa says it’s been beneficial to nonprofits because they can spread out their campaigns throughout the year and not have to wait until Q4, when most charitable giving happens. The service is free to users and nonprofits. The company makes money with a slight markup on the goods sold.