I love this article on online fundraising by direct mail fundraising maven Mal Warwick.

He begins with this question:

Question: Which one of the following statements is true?

* The most important thing for raising money online is the capacity to accept donations on your Web site.
* E-mail costs so much less than direct mail that it is rapidly replacing it as a fundraising medium of choice.
* Nonprofit organizations in the United States are raising more than 10% of their revenue online, and that proportion is expected to rise to 50% by 2013.
* The way to raise money online is to take your direct mail letters and send them out by e-mail to all your donors.
* Almost everyone in the United States is now online, so it’s only a matter of time before nonprofits can expect their donor lists to grow exponentially through an influx of younger donors who will join through the World Wide Web.

After he plays with this, he asserts:

"Decades of research into the habits and expectations of direct mail donors have given us considerable insight into what’s likely to work in the mail, and what isn’t. (Even so, our best guesses are wrong far too often!) Research into the minds of online donors is, by comparison, in its infancy. At this writing, the Web is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and fundraising online on any meaningful scale dates only to the late 1990s. Bluntly put, there’s a whole lot more that we don’t know than that we do know about raising money online."

That said, he offers a bunch of valuable advice.


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