It's important to understand that online fundraising is not much different to fundraising 'offline' and so the same principles still apply.

It's about cultivating relationships, connections and engagement - the internet is just a tool which allows you to do this more quickly, widely and cheaply than ever before!

Online giving has increased by 85% in the past three years (according to research by nfpSynergy together with MissionFish UK, eBay for Charity and the Institute of Fundraising - 15 September 2011)

Online fundraising - What it is and is not

Online fundraising is NOT:

  • Just having a donation button on your website
  • An easy way to getting money from people you don't know
  • Posting a project on a site like and expecting people to find it
  • A substitute to your other fundraising

Online fundraising is:

  • A set of tools to build a community of support around your organisation
  • A way of helping your current and future supporters engage with and support your work
  • A mechanism through which your supporters can easily and efficiently support your organisation - both with money and other kinds of non-financial support and engagement
  • A key component of a diverse funding strategy incorporating different methods of income generation

Social Media - do I need to use it?

By having as much presence on the internet as possible, you may have a ready made network of potential supporters and donors; people who you may not have had access to before.

Social media also allows your third sector organisation to:

  • Appear higher in the list of results on search engine website such as Google
  • Communicate with a large audience
  • Engage and interact with your supporters and other stakeholders, particularly the younger generation
  • Support your existing fundraising efforts through another channel

Facebook & Twitter

Facebook -a social network website with 800 million users. You can create a page for your organisation to share pictures, videos and information to show how you are making a difference and gather more supporters.

Twitter -a micro-blogging website where you can share information about your organisation in 140 character announcements. By 'following' and interacting with other members you can expand your online network.

How can I fundraise on social media?

Direct existing supporters to donate online

  • Use it to announce fundraising events and campaigns
  • Update your Facebook status or Tweet your website link to help drive more traffic

Maintain an interactive relationship with supporters

  • Keep supporters informed with regular updates and pictures
  • If you do not interact with followers they will lose interest!

Build a network of new supporters who could potentially donate

  • By asking your friends to 'donate' their status or retweet your message, you will reach new audiences

Online trading

Online trading is a relatively new way of selling goods or services for third sector organisations but it is no more complicated than running a conventional shop.  Huge numbers of people are regular customers of sites such as eBay and Amazon so what can we do to make them our customers too?

If you are interested in online trading, there are a number of practicalities to consider for those who have not used this form of selling before:

1.  Basic regulations governing the way online trade is carried out

You will need to have arrangements in place to regularly check the site to ensure that it is up-to-date and accurate. This is particularly important if your process or delivery charges and other costs change.

You will also have to adhere to the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002, and the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.

2.  Setting up and maintaining the website where the trading will take place

Modern software can deliver high quality sites, but the quality of the end result may depend on the designer and the way the site is run. You will need to ensure that the site:

  • Is well presented, and is up to the standards of site run by your competition
  • Provides the kind of features you and your customers might need, perhaps including opportunities for customer interaction
  • Has an internet connection which is fast enough to be usable by customers
  • Is reliable and accessible - you will lose business if the site is constantly going offline

3.  Systems for responding to orders such as:

  • Secure payments:You will need to establish a payments system which you know is resistant to hackers, and which your customers can have confidence in. Systems such as Paypal provide reassurance, but they will add to the cost of your sales. It is advisable to include information on the site which describes the security measures which are in place.
  • Delivery:You need internal order processing and delivery arrangements, using Royal Mail or commercial carriers, which will ensure that goods will be delivered to customers within a reasonable time. This must be robust enough to handle periods of high demands, as in the pre-Christmas period.

4.  Marketing and promotion to make the business work

There are a variety of ways to promote your online shop and you will probably need to use several of them, and test which works best. Social media for example is being used more and more by commercial organisations to spread the word about their goods and services.

Buy and sell at the third sector's online marketplace is the online store hosted by WCVA, by the third sector, for the third sector, where you can buy and sell almost anything imaginable. And while only WCVA members can sell items, absolutely anyone is free to buy - making 3to3 an invaluable source of revenue. And it's bilingual too. Can you afford to miss out?