Does online fundraising offer a huge opportunity for most nonprofits? Yes. Does this mean that the more traditional direct mail methods should no longer be used? No! Many other bloggers recently discussed this issue:
Chronicle of Philanthropy - Direct-Mail Appeals Suffer, New Survey Finds
Sea Change Strategies – Mark Rovner - A Little Fundraising Rant
Seth Godin - I Gave at the Office, as well as his latest book, Meatball Sundae
A useful summary of the issue is provided in The Agitator’s Baby and the Bathwater.
I agree with Seth’s point that online fundraising clearly is not meant to replace direct mail fundraising. Some people may always respond best to direct mail, while others enjoy doing everything online. The real challenge, as Seth points out, is to convert the donor to an active supporter of an organization’s cause, or who encourages others to get involved. Whether a donor gives offline or online, getting someone to get and stay engaged has the biggest benefit for our organizations.