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With the advancement of technology comes opportunity for nonprofit organizations. The Internet offers more and more methods for fundraising every year. Simply setting up your organization’s web site to accept donations is just the tip of the iceberg in today’s world of technology.

Some organizations have set up entire online fundraisers by creating eBay-style auctions, for example, and saved the overhead costs of creating an entire in-person event. Email newsletters have replaced or supplemented direct-marketing efforts utilizing traditional methods. One of the simplest ways to harness this technology for your organization’s benefit is through online shopping malls that donate a portion of their proceeds back to your organization.

These sites have agreements set up with all kinds of retailers so that when someone purchases an item through their site, a certain percentage of the cost (anywhere from 0.5% to 30%) is donated. Some of the prominent sites for this type of fundraising include:

An Internet search will reveal many more options.

If your organization is interested in using an online shopping mall to raise funds, there are a few things to take into consideration:

  • How many organizations are supported by this site. (This doesn't have to be a detriment, but it's still worth considering.)
  • Is the site's (and its sponsors') mission compatible with your organization's?
  • Are your donors expected to register with the site? If so, is their contact information sold or used in a way that might displease them?
Of course, you'll want to do your homework to be sure that the site is legitimate. Look at their track record and consider talking to other nonprofit professionals to see what kind of experience they've had fundraising this way. Once you've chosen the right site for your organization, utilize your resources to market it to your supporters. Send them emails with links to the site and encourage them to do their online shopping in a way that will benefit both them and your great cause. Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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