Online fundraising can help nonprofits boost revenue

June 5, 2013

Online fundraising can help nonprofits boost revenue

Fundraising options are often limited for nonprofits that may not have the funds to hold quarterly events or marketing budgets to help spread the word about their cause. However, there are different ways organizations can bring in funds. Online auctions are a simple, effective method that uses the nonprofit's website as a marketplace on the Internet for donors who want to contribute some of their belongings or purchase others.

The NonProfit Times shared how Tacoma Goodwill, located in Federal Way, Wash uses its site,, to generate funds for the organization through an auction. An original Salvador Dali drawing donated anonymously was one of the first items to generate a lot of buzz on the website and was sold last year for more than $21,000. According to Dylan Lippert, e-sales manager for Tacoma Goodwill, word about the artwork quickly spread, and the organization didn't have to do much marketing for the piece by the famous artist.

"The donation attendant recognized there was a signature on the piece, which made it important," Lippert told the news source. "We allowed the website and media attention to promote it for us."

Nonprofits can get much of their funding from sales
Many people bid on items that are auctioned off by nonprofits because they want to support a cause, and may even pledge more money than they would if it was being sold on another site. However, many organizations allow only bidders and donors that are constituents of the nonprofit to participate, the source noted. People often feel more comfortable when they are interacting with others associated with the nonprofit in a proprietary platform.

"The advantage is you know who you're buying from," Ryan Smith, technology services manager for, told the source. "The person on the other end of the transaction is a Goodwill member. You know what their mission is about, and you know it's not just some random person on the Internet."

Crowdfunding options can supplement auctions
Nonprofits that are experiencing prosperity with online auctions sites may want to continue their virtual success by using a crowdfunding website to gain additional donations. These sites require organizations to use their own credit card processor to collect funds from people looking to support their cause. However, it is often difficult for nonprofit decision-makers to figure out which site will work best for their organization. Here are some tips from The Fundraising Authority on choosing the best platform:

  • The site has a strong design: When potential donors log onto the site, it has to accurately reflect the cause supported by the nonprofit. Sites that allow for the integration of pictures and videos may be the ones organizations can lean toward.
  • Marketing is made easy: One of the best ways nonprofits spread the word about fundraising options is through followers' social media shares. The easier the site is to integrate with marketing channels, the more attractive the site will be.
  • Payment options aren't complicated: Donors who are willing to give money to the organization don't want to access a crowdfunding site and find it difficult to contribute.

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