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Eight Reasons Why Nonprofits
Should Go Online

by Diane Hodiak

  1. Internet marketing can be one of your most cost-effective tools for reaching your donors and constituencies. The internet has a large geographic reach across the globe and also provides ample opportunities for targeting special markets or interest groups. Even with a simple home page you can begin to communicate important messages that will bring results for your organization.

  2. Develop a website to help you save publication dollars. Many donors and program participants now prefer to get their information online. This saves the organization's printing budget. Its also useful for annual reports, volunteer opportunities, solicitation requests, program schedules, and more.

  3. The internet has a sense of immediacy. Online downloads provide the individual with "immediate information" . This makes the internet an ideal alternative for time-related legislative alerts and other advocacy bulletins when you want to inform and/or mobilize many people.

  4. Use the internet for donor cultivation. Ask your donors if they'd like to hear the latest information on your program offerings or program outcomes. Send out a request in your newsletter or program registration forms and begin to build a file of email addresses. Send them a one page newsletter. There are many free online services available to help you with this function, one of which is available at They will help you manage your list of email addresses and archive your newsletters so all you have to do is develop the material. Make sure you also promote your free newsletter on your website and other printed materials.

  5. Another alternative is to build a chat room that addresses your donor's interests. Whether it be environmental clean-up, parenting tips, or political rallies, you can begin to build an online community with the right subject matter.

  6. Involve your corporate donors. Many companies now offer links on their company website to nonprofit organizations. If you have a product to sell they may allow you a graphic to display so that viewers can click on it to get to your organization's home page. It will cost you absolutely nothing!

  7. Involve your individual donors. Many individuals have small and large businesses that may help you to generate new gifts or sales for your organization. For example, you may find authors whose subject matter relates to your organization. An environmental group may seek out authors in mountaineering, forestry, hiking, camping, and other related subjects. Call, write or email these authors and ask them if they'll allow you to display a banner graphic or link space on their website for your organization. Other occupations are of interest as well. You may wish to use consultants, products, or many other types of businesses whose target market may be similar to that of your organization. This will generate more traffic to your home page and, in the long term, bring you new donors and volunteers who will support your organization.

  8. The internet is a remarkable no-cost prospecting tool . It provides your organization the opportunity to bring in new potential donors. By participating in listservs, or online discussion groups or chat rooms, you can promote your organization while you provide viewers with valuable information. Pick the groups where your target audience is likely to hang out. For example, if your organization provides parenting groups, pick discussion groups for parents. You can bring up a discussion topic, or respond to a discussion topic. Just remember to make your subject matter valuable or you'll be accused of "spamming", another term for junk mail on the internet. A good place to look for groups is

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About the Author:

Diane Hodiak is the co-author of Fund Raising & Marketing in the One-Person Shop, copyright 1997. You can get free tips and a chapter download at and a free newsletter from her at

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