FirstGiving

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FirstGiving offers simple tools for your supporters to set up online fundraising pages. The site features helpful tools such as resources and FAQs, reports on donation activity, and charts tracking funds raised.

FirstGiving makes it easy for supporters to raise money.

FirstGiving’s easy-to-use site walks users and nonprofits step-by-step through the process of setting up a fundraising page. As with Network for Good, FirstGiving is connected to GuideStar, which means that as long as your organization is a registered nonprofit with the IRS, supporters will automatically be able to find you on FirstGiving’s website.

Once a supporter has decided they want to raise money for your cause, they will create an online fundraising page with your organization’s name and logo. Supporters can personalize their page with a photo, video, and text description about the organization or about their personal connection to it. If they have a Flickr account, they can link to it and display slideshows with additional photos. You can set a fundraising target and your page will show real-time updates on your progress. Your supporters can donate directly through your page, but FirstGiving also allows you to track and enter donations you’ve received offline, so your page reflects an accurate total of all the money you’ve collected.

Click to open interactivity This walkthrough illustrates FirstGiving’s basic components.

This walkthrough illustrates FirstGiving’s basic components.

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FirstGiving’s tools for sharing your page include badges, widgets, and a Facebook app.

Anyone who visits a fundraising page, including the page’s creator, has the ability to share it with others. A person can click “Share this page” on the right-hand side and will then be presented with a handful of options for spreading the word. If you are simply viewing a page someone else has created, you can click an icon to share it on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. If you are the page creator, you have the option to use a fundraising widget. The widget gives a brief overview of your fundraising progress, your charity, and FirstGiving. You’ll get an HTML code to paste the widget on your personal blog or website.

FirstGiving also offers options to publicize your cause on MySpace and Facebook. You can get a badge to post on MySpace that links to your FirstGiving fundraising page. On Facebook, you can add a fundraising application that allows you to display your fundraising page on your profile. Nonprofits can also add badges directly to their organization’s website.

FirstGiving offers lots of free resources and support.

FirstGiving provides a lot of features for very low cost.  While the 7.5% administrative fee on all donations is higher than some of the other sites reviewed here, you get a lot for your money, including donor reports, free phone and email support, and unlimited person-to-person fundraising pages.  While FirstGiving doesn’t manage the appeal process as extensively as AlumniFidelity, it will send automatic, customizable thank-you emails to donors.

The only real downside of FirstGiving is that to access its full offerings, your organization will need to pay a $300 annual fee.  This fee pays for your nonprofit’s branding on all your pages, event registration capabilities, and team fundraising capabilities.

Explore FirstGiving by clicking here:  http://www.firstgiving.com/.

Click to open interactivity FirstGiving provides many options and free resources.

FirstGiving provides many options and free resources.

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