More and more nonprofits are shifting their fundraising focus online—and for good reason. Online fundraising platforms are making it easier than ever for donors to contribute when and how they want to, and they eliminate some of the costs of direct mail solicitations and in-person events.
Data published last year in the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows this trend clearly: online donations to nonprofits increased 14% in 2012 relative to 2011, while overall donations increased by only 1.5% in the same period.
But this trend has been uneven. The American Lung Association, for example, received nearly a third of its private donations through the internet in 2012—but the median large organization raised only 2.1% of its donations online in that period.
The lesson? Online fundraising is important—and growing more important every year—but nonprofits can't just open a spigot and watch online contributions pour in. Successful online fundraisers avoid the common mistakes that plague so many others. Here are four fundraising pitfalls we see too often, and how can you can avoid them.