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Frank Barry

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Fundraising Basics: The Old and New

With new and emerging technologies surfacing in the fundraising realm, fundraisers today have a plethora of choices. Strategies and plans have become more complex and require the use of a variety of tactics.

How is a nonprofit to determine which tactics to use and decipher which ones will net the best response?

Good fundraisers know that the only way to get the answer to this question is to know your audience and experiment with different tactics. But as seasoned fundraisers also know, the luxury of experimentation isn't always possible.

To get the conversation going, start with the basics. Today's basics are not the same as the basic fundraising tactics of a decade ago. The rules have changed. But, nonetheless, the old tactics and new tactics should be evaluated and given fair consideration by nonprofits of all shapes and sizes.

It can be easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest technologies and lose sight of traditional, yet effective, ways of fundraising. Below are lists to help nonprofits combine the old ways of fundraising with the new to develop a truly multi-channel campaign that will help increase effectiveness.

Using Your Web Site to Support Strategic Goals

Every nonprofit organization has goals, and these goals can change over time. Some organizations set out to raise money for research and then begin to provide education. Some set out simply to educate but then move toward advocacy. And still others serve to meet the ever-changing needs of their members. As new goals get added and old ones go by the wayside, nonprofits need to adjust their communications and fundraising efforts accordingly.

For most organizations, Web sites are at the top of the list of things to update, especially when goals change. Typically during the update process, the overall design and content of the Web site gets re-evaluated, and the navigation is usually modified to reflect changes in positioning. Sometimes organizations can get so carried away with the structure and design of the Web site that they forget that it can be used for more than just conveying information. The Web site can be an effective tool to support and advance many of the organization's strategic goals.

When reevaluating or updating your organization's Web site, list all of your strategic goals. If you have three primary goals, such as increase membership, increase on-line donations, and increase advocacy, use them to guide the design of the Web site. If there are secondary goals, list them as well. Simply enumerating each goal will help the Web team focus on creating pages or an entirely new site that support your strategic initiatives.

Here are some practical tips to help ensure that your organization's Web site supports your strategic goals: