If your group already has a website, click over to part 1. (Tip: Raising funds online may present new legal considerations for your group. It may be best to consult your legal adviser before raising funds online.)
2. IF YOUR GROUP DOESN’T HAVE A WEBSITE
– If you’d like to have a website:
If you feel comfortable setting up your own site with the help of templates, you can get started easily and inexpensively by signing up with one of the larger hosting companies like Hostgator.com. They offer starter packages and templates to help get you online. Advantage: low cost, less than $10 a month. Disadvantage: requires time to use tools and set up site.
If you don’t want the hassle of setting up your own website, you could hire a company to build a customized site for you, either locally or through the internet – search for “web design services”. Advantage: professional design is done for you. Disadvantage: high cost.
If the expense of a customized site is too much, but you need help with design and marketing, try WordPress.com or Blogger.com which are excellent for blogging. (You should definitely set up your site with a blog, but if that’s not important to you and you’d like an alternative, consider SiteSell.com which has a great track record of helping to build successful sites with easy to use design and marketing tools and lots of motivation to become successful. (Sponsored link)
Advantage: much lower cost than customized site, lets you set up a site in minutes. Disadvantages: None really, if you need help with setting up and marketing your website.
If you have the knowledge to set up your own site, we recommend the hosting company of our site, Hostgator.com or Bluehost.com. They also offer a one-click WordPress install.
Advantages: live tech support 24/7. Disadvantages: None, if you’re able to design the site yourself.
– If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having a website
You can still very successfully raise funds online even without a website!
One way to raise funds online is to set up an account with any one of the popular online fundraising services. You set up a campaign and then rally your supporters. Very important: continually collect email addresses before you run your campaign so you inform and remind your supporters once the campaign is live. Having a good size email list will be a major factor in the success of your fundraising campaign.
Another way to get online exposure without your own website is to set up a dedicated page for your group on sites like Ning.com, Twitter.com or Facebook for example. This allows you to create a community and get the message out about your group.
Any of the above strategies might be more effective however, if used in conjunction with your own website. A website can give useful information about your group or cause and strengthen trust of the public in your fundraising efforts. It is also a great tool for collecting email addresses and sending messages.
Depending on your supporter demographic you might be able to run a good old fashioned online magazine fundraiser.
Read more about online magazine fundraisers at Tips For Running A Successful Online Magazine Fundraiser
OVERWHELMED? NOT ENOUGH TIME?
If you’re unable to actually start any online fundraising campaign at this point, you can still prepare for it by collecting email addresses from members of your group, potential donors and other interested parties.
Get into the habit of always collecting email addresses at functions, meetings, or on your website, if you decide to create one. Of course, assure anyone who signs up that you won’t use their email addresses for anything else, but for the sole purpose of keeping them informed about your cause.
People will appreciate being updated on any fundraising efforts and successes. Be sure to include a link to your website – once you have one – in each email you send out.