Donor/Volunteer
 
FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How can my website really have its own unique look and feel?
  2. We don’t have the time or the money to devote to technological innovations; we are too busy doing the business of our nonprofit, and putting out fires
  3. We already have a nice website. Why should we change it?
  4. We already have a Donate Now button that links to a 3rd party donation site.
  5. We don’t have the e-mail addresses of our donors, volunteers, members, or other constituents
  6. We can’t maintain a website
  7. We can’t stay on top of the latest technological innovations that might be useful to us, no less implement them
  8. Our nonprofit is different because we raise money from large donors (who won’t contribute over the Internet).
  9. Our nonprofit is different because we raise money from our members, not the public.
  10. Our nonprofit is different because we are more concerned with getting people to volunteer than raising donations
  11. How can we collect and track demographic information on our donors or members?
  12. I don’t want my nonprofit’s information shared with anyone.
  13. I don’t want donors’ or volunteers’ information shared with anyone.
  14. Internet-enabling our organization requires more than just a working website.  What changes do we need to make in our business processes, goals, organization, and other information systems?
  15. Our organization is not ready for the Internet.
  16. We don’t want to commit to a particular implementation of e-philanthropy just yet, because many more advances are sure to be made.
  17. Even if we have a great website, how can we draw people to it
  18. We have no money to spend on our website.
  19. We must have our website in multiple languages, to serve our constituencies.  Can we do that and what's involved?
  20. If we wanted a feature that we don’t see here, are there any other options? 
  21. Tell us about customer support – what's included and what can we expect?
  22. Can we share data with Raiser's Edge, Donor Perfect, or other applications and databases?
  23. We've been looking at other sites that claim to offer website-building tools for nonprofits. How does NonprofitSite123 compare?
  24. We have our own domain name (e.g., www.ournonprofit.org) or are about to register one. Can we use it?
  25. I understand that there is an annual fee for using NonprofitSite123.  What does that include?
  26. We’re considering having someone (paid developer or volunteer) develop a site for us.  Why should we consider NonprofitSite123?

Question

Answer
How can my website really have its own unique look and feel?

Yes.  Your website, created using NonprofitSite123, will differ from any other nonprofit’s website in many ways, including:

  • “Look and feel”  – your site can have whatever look & feel you'd like.  If a graphic designer can create it, it's likely it can be incorporated into your site, using NonprofitSite123 
  • Style sheets – globally control look and feel elements such as foreground and background colors, fonts, font sizes, styles, and much more
  • Menu structure – create your own, even with dynamic pull-downs
  • Website pages - with whatever content you wish
  • Text content – incorporate your own text; if you can use MS-Word, you'll find NonprofitSite123 as easy to use in formatting  your content exactly the way you want 
  • Images – incorporate photos, graphics, animated images, audio, and video
  • Attached files - include Word, Adobe Acrobat, Excel, PowerPoint, and other types of files for your users to view, print, or download
  • Global vs. page-specific content – a good example of a global image is your logo which you can place in the upper left corner of every page

We don’t have the time or the money to devote to technological innovations.  We are too busy doing the business of our nonprofit, and putting out fires.

No problem -- let CharityFinders build you a world-class, interactive website.  Using NonprofitSite123, we can have your site live almost as quickly as you'd like.  Then, with 1-2 hours of training from us, you'll be completely self-sufficient in making any site changes you'd like, without needing any techincal skills.  You'll find NonprofitSite123 surprisingly affordable.  Click here for pricing info.

We already have a nice website. Why should we change it?

If your website has extensive e-philanthropy functionality, is affordable, and easy to maintain, then you may not need NonprofitSite123. However, for most nonprofits that have no site or a brochure-ware site, NonprofitSite123 offers unparalleled functionality at a very affordable price, and your site can be easily maintained by non-technical staff members. This functionality can benefit your organization in numerous tangible and intangible ways.

We already have a Donate Now button that links to a 3rd party donation site.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of these 3rd party donation sites – like Pay Pal, Network For Good, Just Give, and others.  The advantage of these sites is that with a few lines of HTML code and a few minutes of effort, you can offer online donations.  The typical disadvantages, however, are numerous (note: not all of these disadvantages pertain to all of the 3rd party sites):


1.  It is bad Internet practice to kick the user off of your site, especially when it is unnecessary.  A certain percentage of your users will notice that they've been kicked off of your site and will abandon their transaction as a result.  You will likely have no idea what percentage this is, but it's likely to be higher than you think.

2.  Some donors want their donation to be tax deductible.  As long as they are on your site, they will be confident that their donation is deductible.  But as soon as they go to another site, particularly a for-profit site (and it's that organization that will appear on their credit card statement), they may (rightly or wrongly) question the deductibility of their donation and therefore not complete it.

3.   Donor loyalty is 67% lower on 3rd party sites than on a nonprofit's own website.

4.   Donors on a nonprofit's own website give more initially and over time than those on a 3rd party site.

5.  Once the user gets to the other site, it is no longer branded as your site.

6.  On the other site, the user can no longer navigate to other areas of your site – except if he hits the back button a few times.  There is typically no navigation bar or menu.

7.  There is no shopping cart or gift basket, so the user cannot pay for multiple transactions at a time.

8.  With most other sites, donations are simply processed by asking the donor for the amount they wish to donate, and their credit card number.  You cannot employ more sophisticated donation processing, like recurring donations, preset donation amounts, targeting the donation to a specific program or service, making the donation in someone else’s name, opting in to your e-mail list, or paying by e-check.

9.  What appears on the donor’s credit card statement is not your name but the other site’s name.

10. Because of this, there is a higher risk of chargebacks – where the donor may not recognize the charge on their credit card statement, since it doesn’t contain your nonprofit’s name.  The donor may then dispute the charge with his credit card company.

11. Related to that, the money doesn’t go straight into your bank account.  It goes to the other party, and they periodically disburse the funds to you.

12. Because of that, the 3rd party gets the float.

13. Also because of that, there is a risk that you may never receive your money.  In case you think that’s a remote risk, consider the following story.  Perhaps the largest processor of online donations was a company called Pipevine out of San Francisco.  They essentially had 2 bank accounts – an operating expenses account and a sort-of escrow account into which the online donations were placed and out of which these donations were periodically disbursed to the nonprofits.  Well, they started having financial difficulties.  They dipped into the second account.  Things went from bad to worse, and they went out of business.  $18 million of donor money never made it to the nonprofits it was intended for!  Civil lawsuits are pending, and people may even go to jail.

14. Some sites have long delays before sending you your money, sometimes because they will only send it to you once the amount surpasses a certain threshold.

15. Most of these services charge fees, sometimes significant ones.  And sometimes hidden.

16.  Some of these services, like Pay Pal, require your donor to sign up with them and possibly log in – extra, unneeded steps that may deter some donors.  In fact, recent studies show that each extra page you send your donors to results in a 50% abandonment rate -- even higher if the extra page is on a third party site.

17. The donor can often only pay for donations, not event tickets, e-store purchases, membership dues, etc.

18. You have no control over the privacy and security policies of the other site.  Because of this, your donors’ data may be sold, traded, etc.  We have spoken with executive directors who can directly trace donors’ spam and even viruses to these 3rd party sites.

19. There is no audit trail.  In other words, if 50 donors make donations to you, you have no way of knowing this, other than to trust that the third party will forward the money to you.

20. There are few if any reports for you – on both the transactions that have taken place on these third party sites, and on the people who performed those transactions.

21. In some cases, the donor does not receive an online thank you/tax receipt – either on screen or via e-mail.

22. No ability for the nonprofit to download data 24/7.

23. There is a special problem with Pay Pal:  it has a negative reputation for some people.  Like the beautiful new home with a giant, pink, plastic flamingo in front, some people will not care, others will think “how tacky”, but no one will say “wow, this is great!”.

We don’t have the e-mail addresses of our donors, volunteers, members, or other constituents.

CharityFinders can recommend numerous strategies for collecting e-mail addresses, including:

  • Incorporate easy, prominent, e-mail list signup on your site
  • Add “e-mail address” as a field to all forms and data collection vehicles
  • Send a postcard or other mailing to all constituents which promotes the new website (even before it is live), and asks for e-mail addresses – either with a SASE, or a URL to enter it themselves online
  • Use a site like the following to match e-mail addresses to the charity’s existing database:

We can’t maintain a website.

With NonprofitSite123, it's very straightforward to maintain your website - especially if you've taken our 1-2 hour training session, which shows you everything you'll need to know to maintain your site.  You don't need to know HTML, Java, DreamWeaver, or indeed any programming – you must simply be able to navigate around a standard website, and of course, must have access to all needed information about your nonprofit.

We can’t stay on top of the latest technological innovations that might be useful to us, no less implement them.

CharityFinders aims to be the eyeglasses that provide technological vision to its clients.  CharityFinders investigates new technological developments, evaluates which are potentially useful for nonprofits, and implements those that are both beneficial and cost-justified.  Of course, CharityFinders keeps its clients apprised of technological developments, including new features available to clients, and related costs if any.  The implementation of these features will typically be easy and quick for you.

Our nonprofit is different because we raise money from large donors (who won’t contribute over the Internet).

Just as Internet users are becoming more comfortable providing credit card information online, shopping online, and even making “big ticket” purchases online (e.g., airline tickets, hotels, real estate, stocks, etc.), evidence shows that Internet users are also becoming more accustomed to donating online, and that the amount of those donations is increasing.  Even for very large donations that are less likely to be processed over the Internet, NonprofitSite123 offers a number of features to provide such donors with all the information they need, and to establish and sustain an ongoing relationship with the donor.

Our nonprofit is different because we raise money from our members, not the public.

NonprofitSite123 offers a complete set of membership administration features, including online membership dues payment and renewals.  In addition, members can register online for nonprofit events, even paying registration fees online.  You can even set up a members-only area of your site.

Our nonprofit is different because we are more concerned with getting people to volunteer than raising donations.

NonprofitSite123 offers powerful features to attract volunteers, enable them to apply for specific positions or indicate their general interest, and to maintain an ongoing relationship with them.

How can we collect and track demographic information on our donors or members?

NonprofitSite123 enables you to ask anyone who performs a transaction on your site for key demographic information, like age, sex, marital status, etc.  Of course, all such information is optional.  You can then sort and filter by this information.  For example, you could send an e-newsletter targeted to seniors by selecting only those users with age > 65.

I don’t want my nonprofit's sensitive information shared with anyone.

CharityFinders (and all of our clients) adheres to a strict privacy and security policy.  In brief, nonprofit-specific information is only accessible by that nonprofit, and will never be sold or shared.

I don’t want donors’ or volunteers’ information shared with anyone.

We insist that all of our clients adhere to the same privacy and security policy as CharityFinders does. In brief, you may not sell or share personal information on your donors or volunteers.

Internet-enabling our organization requires more than just a working website.  What changes do we need to make in our business processes, goals, organization, and other information systems?

Indeed, there is a significant change management component involved in maximizing a charity’s use of the Internet.  CharityFinders offers a set of short workshops, customized to your requirements, to help you develop an Internet strategy, implement your site, understand the impact on your organization, develop specific action plans, and even assess impacts on fundraising and marketing efforts.  Of course, there is a modest fee for these workshops.

Our organization is not ready for the Internet.

CharityFinders has workshops and consulting services that are specifically designed to help your nonprofit adapt to the Internet.  Of course, there is a modest fee for these workshops.  Even small organizations with no technical expertise can have a world-class Internet presence quickly, easily, and affordably.

We don’t want to commit to a particular implementation of e-philanthropy just yet, because many more advances are sure to be made.

NonprofitSite123 will help you get an early start, and seamlessly implement these advances as they emerge.

Even if we have a great website, how can we draw people to it

CharityFinders can recommend many strategies, tailored to your situation, to drive traffic to your site.  Here are just a few to consider:

  • Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to drive more search engine users to your site.  CHarityFinders offers SEO/SEM consultng designed to enable you to implement therse techniques quickly -- and at little to no cost
  • Place your URL on everything – letterhead, business cards, all marketing literature, all e-mails, etc.
  • Use your mailing lists to send out news of your new site
  • Create e-mail lists
  • Use mailing lists and e-mail lists to periodically publicize new features of your site
  • Advertise your website in offline and online publications that cater to your target market
  • Periodically update or add features to your site to encourage repeat visitors; keep your site, especially your home page, dynamic
  • Offer something of value free on your site – for example, e-cards, a report, study results, book, screen saver, etc.
  • Conduct regular surveys or public opinion polls and post the results
  • Host online events of interest to the community you serve – such as an online chat with a celebrity or issue expert
  • Conduct give-aways/drawings for prizes such as membership fees (to your charity), event tickets (to your charity’s events), t-shirts and other promotional items with your charity’s name, etc.

Through our workshops, we can devise a plan, tailored for you, on how to maximize traffic to your site.

We have no money to spend on our website.

CharityFinders understands that fundraising is difficult, and in many respects times are tough for nonprofits.  However, this makes the need for raising more funds and lowering fundraising costs even more acute.  NonprofitSite123’s ability to let you quickly create an e-philanthropy site has never been more timely or in need.  Indeed, we recommend that you set a goal of having your website pay for itself - potentially many times over.  This won't happen immediately, but with patience and a good strategy, many of our clients acheive this goal.

CharityFinders can help you find an apply for grants that may fund all or part of your NonprofitSite123 purchase.

We must have our website in multiple languages, to serve our constituencies.  Can we do that and what's involved?

Yes. NonprofitSite123 can generate your site in Spanish or other languages (additional fee applies).  Your site can be translated automatically or manually.

If we wanted a feature that we don’t see here, are there any other options?

Yes. You have 3 options:

  1. Often CharityFinders can recommend a way to use existing NonprofitSite123 functionality to implement new features you need.
  2. CharityFinders will quote you a fixed price to develop any enhancement; because of our low cost structure, we are typically able to implement enhancements quickly and affordably
  3. Develop the enhancement yourself, and link your CharityFinders site to it; this approach will not be as integrated with the rest of your website as approach #1 or 2

Tell us about customer support – what's included and what can we expect?

You may use the following CharityFinders customer support options:

  • Online help (available 24x7)
  • Tutorials -- which walk you through virtualy anything you'll want to do in NonprofitSite123, step-by-step
  • Clients-only intranet site
  • Live, online assistance (just click for help) (usually available 24/7)
  • "Call me now" button (usually available 24/7) 
  • Phone support (usually available 24/7)

Can we share data with Raiser's Edge, Donor Perfect, Excel, Access, or other applications and databases?

 

Sure.  You can import and export data between your website and most donor management systems.  This may be done in several common formats.  You control the records to be included in the file, as well as the data included for each record.

We've been looking at other sites that claim to offer website-building tools for nonprofits. How does NonprofitSite123 compare?

It is not our style to say negative things about our competitors.  Nevertheless, we are gratified by the response we have received to NonprofitSite123 by specific nonprofits as well as foundations and e-philanthropy experts.  Many of these people have pointed out that other tools suffer from one or more of the following:

·        Expensive (i.e., often 3 to 30 times as much as NonprofitSite123)

·        Require months to implement (vs. hours or days using NonprofitSite123)

·        Require technical skills/training to implement (vs. none)

·        Not specific to nonprofits

·        Produce a brochure-ware site, not an e-philanthropy site

We have our own domain name (e.g., www.ournonprofit.org) or are about to register one. Can we use it?

Definitely – we encourage you to use you own domain name. Simply follow our instructions to point your domain name(s) to your new NonprofitSite123 site - which takes about 5 minutes - and your user will be able to type in or link to your domain name. They will be transparently sent to your NonprofitSite123 website.  Your address appears in the user's address bar, not CharityFinders'.

What does the NonprofitSite123 fee include?

  1. Ongoing access to NonprofitSite123
  2. Unlimited website maintenance privileges
  3. Free hosting
  4. Secure transaction processing – NonprofitSite123 processes all donations, ticket sales, and many other financial and non-financial transactions
  5. Electronic funds transfer, with complete, end-to-end security
  6. Free access to upgrades, enhancements, fixes, etc.
  7. Powerful administrative features – including online donor management, reports, etc.
  8. Import/export interface with fundraising software
  9. Donor access to your site through CharityFinders’ portal (i.e., donors and others can locate your nonprofit through a variety of search criteria)
  10. 24/7 client support
  11. Automatic backup service
  12. Automatic confirmation e-mails sent to you and your users after each transaction
  13. Frequent enhancements
  14. And much more

We’re considering having someone (paid web developer or volunteer) create a site for us.  Why should we consider NonprofitSite123?

Among the many issues, consider that a custom-developed site is likely to:

  • Be brochure-ware (not e-philanthropy)
  • Take weeks or months to create
  • Require that you use the developer to make most or all changes (vs. doing all changes yourself, easily)
  • Have little to no reporting (vs. extensive reporting)

 

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