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How Can I Use the Web to Help My Charity?
You may wonder how to raise money for your nonprofit organization using the Internet. There are a lot of tools to help you. This article will show you some of them.
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Make Money When You Search the Internet
Did you know your nonprofit could make money every time you search the Internet? It could even make money every time a volunteer or employee of your charity, or just a friend, searches the Web.
You just need to use a different search engine than Google, Yahoo, or one of the other major, well known search engines. Try the search engine GoodSearch instead. The search engine will donate a penny to a designated charity every time someone does a search. You only need to type in the name of your charity, school, or non-profit organization, and click the yellow button. There are currently more than 63,000 organizations using GoodSearch, which is powered by Yahoo. More than 100 are added every day.
Use the money making search engine yourself, and get the volunteers of your charity and your friends to use it also. Use it often enough you can turn the pennies you make into dollars for your charity. To increase the amount you can raise, you can ask donors to use the GoodSearch too.
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Use Your Website to Solicit Donations and Memberships
You can use your nonprofit organization's website to solicit donations directly from the public. You can also solicit memberships for your nonprofit or charity.
If your nonprofit has a website already you can add a webpage to it that accepts pledges from the public, accepts credit card information, and processes the information automatically or manually. You could also use the site to solicit volunteers, who could attempt to raise donations themselves. Even if you have a website that does not directly solicit donations, just having an online presence can help indirectly and be beneficial in many ways.
You should know of one possible disadvantage, even though it may never apply to you. It is possible that if you have an online presence a government in a small community could seek to regulate your activity. It could argue that if anyone from its area donates to you, it has a right to regulate your activities. Whether or not such a legal argument would be successful, you need to know of the possible risk involved.
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Apply for a Grant
At least in some cases it is possible to apply for grants online to seek to raise money for nonprofits. If you do so, you will receive an answer to your application much faster than if you mail your grant in.
Not all grantmakers accept Internet applications, but several do. As one example, Bell Atlantic says it will send an e-mail within 48 hours of an application being submitted, advising the charity if its application is under review or has been rejected. If it is under review, a final answer will be given within 2-20 days. The decision for a paper application takes 14-16 weeks.
DaimlerChrysler and Hewlett Packard accept online grant applications. Hewlett Packard only requires online applications for higher education grants and only from preapproved applicants who have the necessary online capabilities.
Representatives of companies that do accept online grant applications say they accept such applications because they allow applications to be rejected quickly if enough information is not provided, allow the tax exempt status of the nonprofit to be verified on the IRS website quickly, provide a system that eliminates typographical errors, protect passwords, and allow nonprofits to be notified immediately when their application is received.
It is also possible to submit grant applications to the Federal Government at grants.gov.
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Use Online Fundraising Websites and Services
There are a variety of websites and online services that will help you raise funds for your nonprofit.
One is the Network for Good, which will allow you, for $29.95 a month, to accept credit card donations online for your nonprofit. 2GuideStar.org has 620,000 charities for which it accepts donations. Charitableway.com accepts donations for charities. It takes 9.9 percent of the money donated but pays for credit card fees and other company operating costs. Charitygift.com gives visitors to its site the chance to donate to a charity as a gift for another person. Besides making the donation, a giver also buys a personalized card for the person he's giving the gift for, at a cost of $3.95 to $6.95 each. If someone buys a product at IGive.com or GreaterGood.com, part of the commission goes to charities registered at the site. The other portion goes to the websites.
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The Web May Not be a Total Answer, but it Can Help
To sum it up, you may not be able to raise all the money you need for your nonprofit using the Internet, but it can help. No doubt, there may be other ways to raise money online, but some of the ones listed in this article have proven successful for many.