Technology has changed the way that charities not only obtain initial donations, but how they continue to receive the help they need to thrive.

Charities can use online technology in a number of ways to help them better serve their charitable recipients, as well as expressing their gratitude to their donors. Phone calls, thank you letters, gifts and events were all traditional ways of thanking donors but today, technology has made the thanking process much easier.

To start, make sure you have a compelling reason for people to donate on your site. A simple button on your home page isn’t enough. You can create a wide variety of “pushes” to make your visitors feel your needs.

Build your pages not just to ask for donations; build them so they convey the story of why you need them. What will the donations be used for? Who will benefit?

And while simple stories work, with today’s technology, you can showcase everything in a visual way. Photos, video and text work together to provide a deeper meaning to those that visit your site. You can offer quick commentaries to please your current base; then move into detailed “mini-movies” that provide people with a behind the scenes look at the various aspects of your charity.

Once your pages are built to convey your message and accept donations, its time to bring people to your site.

Social media is the fastest growing way charities show they care. Not only is social media a powerful way to improve donations but it is also a terrific way to show gratitude. Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube videos are wildly popular in showing donors that they are appreciated and can actually build the momentum improving long-term donation possibilities.

Social is a highly visual form of media. During donation drives, you can tweet out your desires and have results in seconds. People respond better when they see others participating, which is much easier to accomplish when the masses take over. Tweet out or showcase in your newsfeed links to your stories. Then watch as the masses begin to share. Don’t forget to monitor the action and continue to feed into the discussions as people share your links.

You can also move into real time events. Live events can be broadcast as they happen – people are even more encouraged to give just knowing how much has already been given. For those not in attendance, social media can be used to stream events and provide a live feed so that everyone can experience it firsthand.

Another cost effective way of thanking donors is via personalized emails. Most organizations use an automatic email system that thanks people for donating. However, a bit of personalization can go a long way. Not-for-profits often use email lists of donors and craft personalized emails for a much more intimate and creative touch. This shows the donors the impact of their donations and creates a stronger connection.

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