Skip to content

by Edwin K. Morris

​In the world of nonprofits there is a little word that means a lot. It is philanthropy. The image above is the definition. It highlights the essence of why nonprofits even exist. Philanthropy can pack a whole lot of action in the meaning around an organization's mission. This requires great communication skills and understanding of the organizations mission along with the clients they serve. Once they understand that clear connection between all of these elements of the organization then identifying the giving audience is a crucial next step to provide funding and sustainment strategy and plan to the nonprofit operation.

To clarify consider that fund raising is not philanthropy. To aid in this differentiation between fundraising and philanthropy consider this:

Fund-raising is an activity undertaken with the goal of eliciting charitable or philanthropic giving. Fund-raising is related to philanthropy as preaching is to faith; that is, one is intended to inspire the other, with no guarantee of success because the response lies within the power of the respondent to determine. (Worth 2013)

So there may have been a misconception for some that between philanthropy and fundraising, but as highlighted in the box above nowhere does it state generation of funds or anything around money. Which then leads us down the trail of what is electronic philanthropy otherwise referred to as e-philanthropy. According to Ted Hart E-Philathropy is:

"the building and enhancing of relationships with volunteers and supporters of nonprofit organizations using the Internet. It includes the contribution of cash or real property or the purchase of products and services to benefit a non-profit organization, and the storage of and usage of electronic data and services to support relationship building and fundraising activities.

The key thing for me in philanthropy is we are talking about building relationships. Relationships that just so happen to coincide and support the mission of the nonprofit. Sorter similar terms to philanthropy?  Words that show up in the thesaurus for philanthropy are: charity, patronage, compassion, humanity, generosity and benevolence. To me these are words that scream out connection and relationship. So how does one build relationship, gain trust and fundraise?

I hear you saying it. You're saying okay what is it all mean? How do I get e-commerce or EPhilanthropy or whatever you call it connected, up and running?!? According to the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) as of May 2015 there were approximately 1,521,052 charitable organizations in the US. That averages out to 30,421 per state. NPT also states that in 2013, 100 of the largest charities reported receiving 13% more in online donations, and 25 of these charities collected more than $10 million each in 2013 from online gifts.

Your first stop is going to be building a web site strategy. This is an extremely humongous scope is not only are you presenting your content consideration the graphic design and visual artistry must be represented properly. I would suggest having two primary operational components of your web presence. One being fundraising and other being brand building.

I will exampled how Pioneer Knowledge Services researched options for collecting electronic donations. Early 2015 leadership embarked with organization called the Network for Good. This provided a very easy interface with not only streamlining and adding credibility to online donations but provided a back of the house accounting and automated receipt generation all for a monthly fee. The system also generates a fair amount of analytics and reports to start understanding the donor base and how they donate. Network for Good also has additional add-on services that can scaffold with customer growth and be a plug an play type add on components as needed.

After working with Network for Good we decided to explore other avenues as this system was not matched well for our small size. In 2017 we decided on setting up a nonprofit account with PayPal and in the social media platform Facebook.

Consider that in 2008 about 5% of total giving in the United States was done online (Sargeant 2008).  In 2013 that percentage grew to 6.4% (NPT).  Do you want to know how much nonprofits generated in 2012? The total revenues was $1.65 trillion.  So let's take the 2013 numbers of 6.4% of online giving times the grand total of revenues in 2012 of $1.65 trillion just in order to get some idea of the gravity of Internet-based giving. We get an estimated total of $105,600,000 that was generated online.

Let those numbers sink in because an organization has to think of the gravity of their front door on the web. Being able to conduct philanthropy and generate funds together is a very crucial element to brand and to donor awareness. One aspect to consider around perception is a term called halo effect that is explained, "People can draw conclusions about a stimulus on the basis of only one characteristic when they should consider more" (Bagozzi, 1996).

Good or bad, perception can be queued up to only one element. The halo effect meaning and emotional perception and appearance that sways the donor or volunteer. Thus having a critical eye and understanding of your audience will allow you to craft and design your web presence and content in accordance with the mission of the organization. The end state design should elicit a strong emotion that may translate and cause action to the donor to become involved and participate. Ultimately you're representing your brand and building relationship therefore shine that halo instead of tarnish I say.

Yours in knowledge,

Edwin K. Morris
President and Founder of Pioneer Knowledge Services

References

Bagozzi, R. P. (1988). The rebirth of attitude research in marketing. Journal of the Market Research Society, 30(2), 163-195.

Hart, Ted. "ePhilanthropy: It's Much More Than Raising Money." E-Philanthropy Review. July 1, 2002. Obtained from: charitychannel.com/printer_51.shtml

National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), Charitable Giving Statistics (page) Retrieved from the internet 4 October 2015, http://www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/charitable-giving-statistics

Sargeant, Adrian; Shang, Jen (2010-03-04). Fundraising Principles and Practice (Essential Texts for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and Management) (Kindle Locations 10830-10831). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Worth, Michael J. (2013-04-17). Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice (Kindle Locations 8614-8617). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.