In a growing technological world, the Internet has become a vital resource for marketing a company’s brand to a wide variety of users across the globe. For nonprofits specifically, the Internet has become one of the most important marketing tools for attracting the attention of potential donors, members, and participants. They are also provided with a variety of different ways to keep in touch with current members and donors so they can keep up with new events and fundraisers. The Internet has many benefits that can help improve the efforts for nonprofit organizations, whether it is its incredible reach, or the convenience that it provides for marketers to get their message out.
First and foremost, by having a strong web presence, a nonprofit can increase fundraising efforts by introducing its supporters to online donation options. Rather than simply accepting donations in-person at your information sessions or signature events—give your donors the option to process their payments and charitable donations online. If a nonprofit website provides a portal for smartphones and tablets, it creates an even greater opportunity for users to send donations online because smartphones have become an increasingly popular device for accessing the Internet. Neglecting to provide a portal for smartphones and tablets can result in lost opportunities for mobile donations, given the idea that around one-third of Internet traffic comes from smartphones.
The Internet not only benefits the fundraising aspect of nonprofits, it can also help with gathering volunteers for the organization and its future events. According to a study by Peter Hart, the Internet has become the second most used marketing tool for finding volunteers, with word-of-mouth being the most popular.
In order to generate awareness of the organization to potential volunteers, nonprofits have used ‘meta-sites’ as a resource for posting openings in a specific geographical area. This has also allowed for the use of “virtual volunteering,” where services such as writing and website management can be provided online. Websites like VolunteerMatch have been used to acquire new volunteers, as it has been used by over 29,000 nonprofits. Catchafire, a skills-based volunteer match website, has direct connections to LinkedIn and can easily be used to find professionals interested in volunteering their time in order to support specific projects that align with their skill sets.
The Internet also has the ability to support “information credibility.” This means that the use of websites allows for nonprofits to educate the community on their area of concern, which can be exemplified by the use of colorful designs, videos and graphics. Oftentimes, it is costly for a nonprofit to create lavish designs on published materials (brochures, annual reports, newsletters, direct mailers, etc.). Websites provide a cost-efficient way to attract the attention on online visitors. Credibility can also be improved for a nonprofit when the site contains .gov or .org, because many researchers are advised to rely on sites that provide those domains.
With the endless opportunities of the Internet at your fingertips, it is a crucial for nonprofits to invest in their websites and social media pages in order to reach a broader audience. Websites don’t only provide opportunities to increase awareness, but they can also serve as a way to empower supporters and encourage passive giving by allowing people to make a difference from their own home.