III. Conclusion

Technology is advancing today at an overwhelming pace. Internet start-ups pop up by the dozen offering newer, faster ways to use the Web. Computers and modems are cheaper than ever.

Encryption technology, which helps secure purchases online, has made using a credit card to buy on the Net as safe-or as some argue, even safer-than using it over the phone or at your local restaurant or store. Relational database technologies make donor tracking easier than prior methods. These advancements translate to a ready environment for nonprofits to establish a presence on and seek funding through the Internet.

Technology often moves faster than its adoption. Most of the technological advancements have been available for years. But more significantly, today, people are becoming ready to donate online. They are seeing how the Internet can help them make their giving more informed and easier than ever.

More than 200 million people are on the Internet today. E-commerce is quickly catching on. Consumer confidence in buying over the Internet is building as brands such as Amazon.com and Toys.com become more recognized. Major advertising campaigns by companies such as these during the 1998 Christmas season spurred incredible growth in e-commerce.

Also, more nonprofit organizations are online than ever. The number of registered Internet addresses that end in .org-the designation usually used by nonprofit groups has jumped from about 500 in 1992 to more than 114,000 as of June 1998.

The success that some non-profit organizations have had with online fund raising speaks to the public's readiness for this new method. In a one-month period, the American Red Cross raised more than $1 million for Kosovo refugees from donations that came through its Web site. World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, reports that it raises close to $200,000 a month on its site. The American Civil Liberties Union brought in more than $18,000 in donations during the first month its site was online.

Additionally, people are ready for online donating because they like the control they have of information they from the Internet versus unwanted calls or mailings. They are ready for the opportunity to build relationships with those organizations they want to support, and see the Web as the most practical way of doing so.

Much of the wealth gained has been through the booming stock market, especially through Internet companies. Young professionals are cashing out stock options from the Internet start-ups they work for and have money to give to worthy causes. It stands to reason that the Internet would be the choice medium of giving for these cyber-professionals. And the bottom line is, online fund raising can produce bigger return: the average donation received through the Internet tends to be two to three times higher than that gained through direct mail or telemarketing.



Online Fundraising


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