Charitable fundraising can be conducted online in numerous ways. A charity can conduct a fundraising campaign through its website, social media pages, emails, or it can use a third-party fundraising platform to crowdfund a specific project or campaign; a charity’s supporters can fundraise through emails, social media, or by initiating a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign through a fundraising platform; or donors can search for charities pre-listed on fundraising platforms and make a donation without the involvement of the charity.
No matter how charitable dollars are raised online, charities should keep these tips in mind:
- PROTECT YOUR BRAND! Defend your charity’s reputation, brand, and fundraising strategy.
- Your charity has the right to control the use of its name and brand. Your charity may want to establish a policy as to who can fundraise on its behalf and the process to receive authorization.
- In a majority of states, an individual supporter must get written consent from a charity before he or she uses its name when fundraising. If your charity gives consent, follow up with the supporter to verify that your charity received all donations.
- Research your charity’s online fundraising presence. It may be more extensive than you know:
- Third-party fundraising platform websites provide charities an opportunity to connect with donors and fundraise online, and allow individual supporters to raise funds for their favorite causes through peer-to-peer fundraising.
- Some fundraising platforms acquire a database of all tax-exempt charities and allow supporters to initiate peer-to-peer fundraising, even without the charities’ knowledge. Find out who is fundraising for your charity and what information and representations they are making on your behalf.
- If your charity wants to receive funds from a fundraising platform that has your charity pre-listed in its database, contact the fundraising platform and claim ownership of your charity’s presence on that website, so the site has the correct contact and bank account information.
- If your charity does not want to be associated with a fundraising platform, contact them to request that they remove your charity from the website.
- When deciding to use a fundraising platform website, a charity should research the following issues:
- What fees will the website deduct from each contribution?
- Will a charity be provided with its donors’ information?
- When will contributions be deposited into a charity’s bank account/mailed to the charity? Solicitation laws in some states require funds to be deposited in the charity’s bank account within a few business days.
- What happens to contributions that don’t meet a certain threshold amount?
- What steps are being taken by the website to prevent solicitation fraud?
- What kind of accounting will the website provide to a charity? If questions arise, what procedures are available for the charity to challenge the accounting?
- Contact the fundraising platform and the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office if you suspect any solicitation fraud.
By following these tips, your charity can fundraise smartly and safely online.
If you'd like to file a complaint regarding a nonprofit corporation, charitable asset or charitable trust matter, please click here: Charity Complaint Form