Monday, 12 January 2009

Social networking for charities

Reported this Christmas for the first time over 10% of people online were visiting social networking websites in the week ending 27th December.

The largest of these, Facebook, accounted for 1 out of every 22 visitors on the web during Christmas week.

And given that Facebook have announced that their membership rose 50m to 150m in just 4 months (that's 150m active users, almost half of which visit the website every day), why aren't more charities using these websites? Even small charities who don't have their own website can use social networking sites to promote themselves; in fact they should be more active than those who do have their own sites.

Research released by Johnathon Waddington states that only 5% of charities think they are doing as much as they can to fundraise online. 48% of charities say they do not have an online fundraising plan at all.

Everyclick provides a fundraising widget and a 'donate now' button for users and charities to download and add to their pages on these sites - have a look (examples):

Donate now button

Twitter is the latest networking tool - it's very simple to use, and very much the 'in' thing. So get tweeting if you want to be seen.

Forums are also useful, as long as they have plenty of members. Post to forums on the subject of your charity eg. pet forums for animal charities, mum's forums for children's charities, local forums for charities which work in the local community etc. to find people who have a keen interest in the things you are trying to help.

For a small charity with no website, you can use your charity information page on Everyclick to tell fundraisers more about your charity, upload more details, add an image to the homepage so that all your fundraisers will see, add regular news items to your charity's page and even sell eGifts through the website. Everyclick allows fundraisers to set up fundraising pages in support of your charity and to make donations (including the ability to Gift Aid it) through the site. Over 200,000 charities are already on the site; if your charity is registered in the UK and not already there when you search, you can add it.

Another useful blog post: Beth's Blog

Source: givinginadigitalworld

CAF to hold online fundraising workshop

Does the charity you work for have a website that is maximising its online fundraising potential?

If you're not sure then it might be best to attend two Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) workshops on February 17th and March 5th which promise to address the topic of online fundraising.

The organisers of the workshop guarantee to help you identify whether your website is "earning its keep" and, of course, help you raise money online for worthwhile causes in what is an often-competitive market.

Fundraising websites such as Everyclick can help you collect the money kindly given to you by online donors with its secure payment collection system.

But first you have to publicise your campaign and attract donors.

Sarah Hartley of the Manchester Evening News has just written a list of ten tips for online fundraisers on the community pages of the newspaper's website.

She suggests using modern networking media to draw attention to your campaign's website. Facebook is used by politicians, musicians and people from all generations and walks of life, so why not have a presence on it? Such sites are excellent for issuing bulletins on the progress of your fundraising events.

Blog sites such as Twitter can also make donors feel involved and up-to-date with your charity's activities. If it's good enough for Stephen Fry, it should be good enough for your charity.

A video presence can emphasise the message that your charity is trying to put across and YouTube is ideal for this.

Photographs can also have their use in generating traffic for your website. Upload photos relating to your cause on systems such as Flickr to find a new audience of potential donors.

Of course, traditional mediums such as press releases also still have their place in publicity campaigns.

As with all websites, content is vital. At the beginning of December the Nonprofit Times ( published its own list of online fundraising tips (seven this time instead of ten).

It urged online fundraisers to make their website's pitches "compelling" and to "consider providing stories or images of specific people you've helped, or examples of past projects that were successful".

It is worth putting yourself in potential donors' shoes? Why should you give to one cause and not another? How will your donation make a difference?

Drawing up a list of existing supporters' email addresses is often a good way to get the online fundraising ball rolling. Send them an email with a link to your website and remember nptimes' advice that "if you send an email to 1,000 people, expect about ten of them to donate".

If that doesn't sound like very good odds, console yourself with the thought that online donations tend to be more generous than offline ones.

All your valiant efforts will be in vain unless you are set up to receive online donations. Donors want a straightforward, secure payment method to be offered to them, which provides speedy acknowledgement of their donation.

Organisations such as Everyclick can make this a pain-free process for website organisers, leaving you more time for the other administrative tasks associated with website maintenance.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Charity Christmas campaigns, events and charity gifts

Lots of charities are running a Christmas campaign. Be it an event such as carol singing, a dinner, a fun run, a Christmas fair or a ball.

Alternatively you can help them by buying a charity gift for someone this year, such as adopting an animal or bird.

For example, Operation Christmas Child collects shoe boxes for children abroad each year and The Salvation Army are asking people to donate gifts for children aged 0-16 for their Christmas Present Appeal 2008.

Christian Aid is running a Christmas Appeal and also has a list of events across the UK.

WWF are holding a Christmas raffle for the spectacled bear.

Marie Curie Cancer Care is holding many Christmas events, from bazaars and fayres to walks and lunches.

Crisis is looking for volunteers to run their Christmas centres.

As an alternative Christmas present, you can adopt a Cairngorm reindeer, adopt a species with the Devon Wildlife Trust, adopt a project with Diabetes UK, adopt an animal with the WWF or adopt a nest box for the Hawk and Owl Trust.

Don't forget to recycle your Christmas cards and wrapping paper. The more cards that are recycled, the more trees The Woodland Trust can plant.

Many charities work extra hard at Christmas and especially this year when they are suffering in the credit crunch; please make sure you add something to your Christmas list for them.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Charity Christmas cards for charities, not for profit

Just how much of the price of a charity Christmas card actually goes directly to the charity?

Well that depends on who you buy it from.

Large stores such as Harrods and Liberty of Regent Street are the worst offenders, giving just 3% of the price of the card to the charity mentioned on it. They say the percentage is negotiated between the printers and the charity and has nothing to do with them. Apparently.

Cards from other high street stores, such as Boots and Marks & Spencer, have about 10% of the price going to charity while Paperchase and Clinton Cards give up to 25%.

If you buy from the charity themselves, their net revenue on card sales can be between 35 and 80%. Oxfam say that once all costs are taken into consideration, 35% of the price is a clear profit for them.

However, selling cards through a third party such as a high street store means that the charity can benefit from increased sales due to a wider market, do not bear the production costs and do not have to worry about any leftover cards which aren't sold.

Websites which sell only charity cards from several different charities can pass on 79% of the price to the charity.

Many charities just do not have the funds to produce their own cards nor the resources to sell them.

Which is where e-cards come in.

Third party websites offering e-cards mean no production costs, little overheads and in the case of Everyclick, a whopping 121% of the price of the Christmas card goes to charity.

How do they do this?

The user makes a single donation (minimum of £5) to the charity of their choice available on the website in exchange for as many personalised Christmas e-cards they wish to send, on the date that they choose.

If they are a UK tax payer and they choose to Gift Aid their donation, then 121% of the donation will go to charity.

The charity benefits much more than from any other form of charity Christmas card and a few trees are saved in the process. Less waste goes into landfill and everyone benefits.

Over 200,000 UK charities are available to support on Everyclick, which means that even the smallest charities who would not even have thought of producing Christmas cards can actually benefit from e-cards.

We're all going to buy Christmas cards anyway this year, and with belts being tightened and Christmas budgets shortened what better way to do it than send as many cards as you like for a donation to charity. Charities will be hard hit during this recession, suffering from fewer donations as donors save their cash, just at the time when they will have more people coming to them for help.

Buy charity Christmas cards on and help any one of 200,000 UK charities.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

How to have an ethical Christmas

If Christmas really is the season of peace and goodwill why not start planning now to make it a truly ethical occasion for yourself and your loved ones?

Charitable gestures in this season of giving are so easy to make at a cost which would even have Scrooge smiling with approval.

Just what does the way you wish someone a happy Christmas say about you? Old traditions die hard and it seems that writing a few scrawled cliches on a Hallmark greetings card is still the favoured method of most Brits.

The Royal Mail delivers as many as 150 million cards per day in the pre-Christmas run up but it is a sobering thought that these cards can take up to 30 years to decompose.

So why not send an ecard (an email wishing someone well) instead? You can actually make them more personal than a shop-bought card by pasting in a scene from a famous Christmas film (what about Jimmy Stewart's It's A Wonderful Life?) and using PhotoShop to superimpose a speech bubble with your greeting.

Charity Christmas cards are a fine alternative if this idea doesn't appeal.

Cards that you receive can be recycled by organisations such as the Woodland Trust.

A compost bin can be a good Yuletide investment which will help you recycle much of the waste that the festivities generate.

If you're dreaming of a green Christmas it is best to buy presents which don't harm the environment. Buying the adoption rights to an animal can prove to be a great gift and what better time of the year can it be for adopting a reindeer?

For just £32 a year you can adopt a Cairngorm Mountain reindeer and receive photos, souvenirs and newsletters. The money will be well-spent on food and welfare (in the form of medicine and vets' fees) for these magnificent creatures.

Polar bears can be adopted even more cheaply. For as little as £3 per month the World Wildlife Fund will let you adopt one of these Arctic animals.

It doesn't take much imagination to decorate your house without ruining the planet. Plastic trees are not environmentally-friendly so you could always grow your own holly tree instead of supporting the trade in holly branches. Put seeds, a compost pellet and a terracotta pot on your Christmas list and watch your green credentials grow!

If it's too late to do this in time for the big day, you can always contact Oxfam and make a donation so that a tree can be planted in a developing country.

No decent Christmas is complete without the chance to gorge yourself on food before slumping in front of the Queen's speech with a paper crown on your head. Buying your choice of dinner locally, perhaps at farmers' markets, is a sure-fire way of ticking the right green boxes.

With time off work, Christmas is a time to reflect on those less fortunate than themselves. You can always bring some seasonal cheer by taking part in a 'Considerate Christmas' at Everyclick. Send online greetings and buy an Everyclick eVoucher to give to someone to donate to their favourite charity before the year is out.