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Don't Forget Your Roots

Digital AgeWe all know that the digital age has brought with it a number of new possibilities for nonprofits. My goodness, most of this blog is devoted to ways that nonprofit organizations can use technology to advance their fundraising, volunteer, and membership programs. Whether you want to start a blog or utilize other social networking methods to reach out to your constituents, or you are interested in setting up a shopping mall to raise money for your cause, the Internet is creating new options all the time.


We can get so caught up in the excitement of it all, though, that we forget some of the staples that have worked for nonprofits for decades. Perhaps email communications have replaced your group's earlier direct mail campaigns. This might be a good thing, as it will certainly cost less to produce and send, however, you will be missing a potentially significant portion of your target audience.

Consider, for example, older folks who may not be online. While many of these folks don't get email or surf the web, they do support charitable causes. The advent of technology really has created a divide between the generations, and nonprofits may be doing themselves a disservice by not taking that into consideration. These are the people who appreciate the feel of a hard-copy newsletter or a tangible holiday greeting card.

While I'm certainly not recommending that nonprofits ignore the new advances that can take their efforts to higher levels, I do think it's worthwhile to do some cost analysis on the old methods. An online auction may require far less time and effort, but if it's only bringing in 25% of what a live auction used to net, then maybe it's not so effective after all.

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