Next Steps

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Each Web 2.0 fundraising tool offers different advantages for spreading the word and soliciting donations online. Before selecting one or more of them for your organization to use, it’s important to think about which one offers the features that will best meet your needs. You’ll also want to talk to your staff and volunteers and designate people to manage your online fundraising efforts. Using an action plan can help you get organized and move forward efficiently.

Talk to your stakeholders and consider staff time investments.

Before implementing any tool, you’ll need to identify and understand the needs of the people who will use it, such as your organization’s volunteers or partners. Consider whether consultants, clients, or even your board of directors will be impacted by your decision to use a web fundraising tool. These people are your key stakeholders.

Because the fundraising tools reviewed here are all free for basic usage (aside from small administrative fees charged on donations received), the decision to use one or more of them isn’t likely to have a major financial impact on your organization. However, consider the amount of time it may take to set up and administer your fundraising page. If you choose to use a more complex site, you’ll have to invest staff time for training and ongoing maintenance. Review the comparison tables that provide guidance on time required for each tool.

Compare and prioritize features.

Consider your organization’s needs when selecting a web fundraising tool. Do you want to increase word of mouth about your cause, is your focus simply on raising money, or are you seeking a combination? The site with the most features isn’t necessarily the best fit for your cause. Let your needs drive your decision.

Once you’ve identified your needs, take the time to compare the features that meet those needs. You can begin by using the comparison table and report card provided. Build upon these tools and adjust them for your organization.

Effectively prepare for and address change management.

Once a tool is chosen and the adoption phase begins, consider:

  1. How you’ll communicate your decision to your stakeholders.  (Should you have an in-person meeting, or is email communication sufficient?)
  2. How you’ll train staff or volunteers to use the web fundraising tool.  (How much time will you need to invest and who is the best person to lead a training effort?)
  3. What your plan will be for ongoing maintenance of the tool. (How much time will be required and what regular content updates will need to be made to keep supporters coming back?)

These are all elements of change management for adjusting to using a new program.

Once your organization has selected and begun using a web fundraising tool, you’ll want to evaluate its effectiveness.  Most of the tools reviewed here track visitors to your fundraising site and you’ll also have data on donations you are receiving.  Talking to your staff and volunteers and gathering their opinions on the tool will help you gauge how useful and meaningful it is to your organization.

An action plan can help your staff see the value.

These web fundraising sites do not require major investments of money or time, so the decision to use one (or more) of them may not impact your organization the way a large software purchase might. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure your staff understands the value added by web fundraising tools.

An action plan can help you organize your thoughts on paper. Include your web fundraising goals, a list of identified stakeholders, and steps for moving forward. To begin creating your action plan, download the action plan template.

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Test your knowledge of web 2.0 fundraising tools.

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