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Do interactive web sites increase giving?

April 25, 2007

A recent study by two professors at Bentley College found that candidates having the "most comprehensive and innovative websites" were the same candidates that raised the most money. The report does not prove that innovative web sites raise the money, but it begs the question: how effective is the web when it comes to fundraising?

Interactive web sites can do a much better job of not only getting your message heard but also having it sink in.  A study that I brought up in an earlier post demonstrated that readers are better able to retain information if it is displayed in a creative manner.

Plus, interactive web sites are more likely to get people coming back for more information.  Any fundraiser will tell you that it is all about developing effective relationships.  By capturing an individual’s e-mail address and urging him or her to create a profile on your site, you can easily cultivate a relationship with these individuals. 

The web allows you to develop these types of relationships with a much wider audience, thus increasing the potential amount of grassroots giving.  This does not replace the big donor giving, which is still cultivated through person-to-person interactions.  But, the web can match those big donations with thousands of smaller contributions.  Plus the excitement generated through grassroots fundraising can even motivate big donors to give to causes that they may not normally give to.  Both the Edwards and Obama campaigns have demonstrated this.  They both have more small donors and the best interactive and engaging web sites.

Thus, the answer to the question is yes - interactive web sites can be an effective tool to strengthen and develop relationships with donors big and small.

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