What is e-Philanthropy and online giving?

Online giving is simply the act of donating online. This can be done on your own website, through a third party or by mobile phone. Online giving is the central component of e-philanthropy, which uses technology (mainly the Internet) to connect people with opportunities to donate money or find volunteer opportunities. Another important aspect of e-philanthropy is using technology to maintain relationships with donors, supporters and volunteers. Many organizations are successfully interacting with their stakeholders through social media.

e-Philanthropy can be an extremely cost-effective way to fundraise and connect with your audience. There are several services designed to help nonprofits get started. For example, Network for Good (www.networkforgood.org) is a subscription-based service that processes donations, provides an e-newsletter service and enables people to give directly to your organization. GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.org) is another forum that enables people to contribute to more than 800 projects featured on its website for a 15 percent fulfillment fee. Facebook also offers a resource site for nonprofits, including success stories, applications, plug-ins and suggestions for maximizing your presence on the site.

As for mobile campaigns, these are easier now than ever. You’ve probably seen ads to text “give” to a short phone number (called an SMS short code) to automatically have a $5 or $10 donation added to your cell phone bill. These have been particularly prevalent during natural disasters, but many nonprofits are integrating mobile giving into their regular fundraising efforts.

Wondering how to get started with your mobile campaign? Fortunately there are a few organizations that have already put the technology in place and made the necessary deals with wireless carriers. Check out the mGive Foundation (www.mgivefoundation.org) or the Mobile Giving Foundation (www.mobilegiving.org) to see if this might be part of your fundraising mix.

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