Ten years ago, online shopping was only for early adopters or products that were hard to find locally. These days, people are buying everyday items like toilet paper online - Soap.com anyone? This is just one example of how the internet has changed our lives. What does this have to do with fundraising? Well, many nonprofits still rely on traditional fundraising methods, such as direct mail campaigns and annual galas. Online fundraising is not intended to replace these methods of fundraising, just as Amazom.com is not intended to replace Target.

Online shopping and online donations are simply means to diversify options for donors and shoppers. Of course there are donors that still prefer to give by mail or come to the annual gala, just as there are still shoppers who prefer to buy their soap at Target. But the simple truth is there are a lot of donors - especially young ones - who will only donate money online. 

Let’s draw an analogy. Cartoon Network originally aired content only for children. With most of their audience in bed by 9PM, Cartoon Network would simply air reruns late at night. This is where Cartoon Network came up with a brilliant idea. After 9PM they would start airing adult oriented cartoon shows, calling it “Adult Swim”. This way they could keep their traditional audience during the day and reach out to a new audience at night. Also, when younger viewers outgrew their favorite shows, there would be options available to keep watching on Cartoon Network.

Online fundraising works in exactly the same way. Keep your traditional donors, but reach out and engage new and young donors. The wave of online fundraising through social media is right now, and remember, if you’re not riding the wave, then you’re standing on the shore.

@Nbmaroun