Doing Good Together

Transparency is Key in Fundraising for Nonprofits

People can always be counted on to support a noble cause, especially if it’s one that tugs their heartstrings. Last September, BBC reported that a campaign in the U.K. that was launched to support the surviving animals of the Manchester Dog’s Home fire had generated more than £750,000 (or about 1.22 million USD) in public donations. Such an outpouring of support was quite unexpected, though one expert believes it has to do with the people’s special fondness for animals:

"People want to prove they have a genuine connection to a cause and a legitimate reason for supporting it, so proving you have a loved pet is a way of saying 'this is my thing'," said Dr Beth Breeze, the director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent.

According to a study by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the Charities Aid Foundation, we give markedly more to charities related to medical research - mainly cancer, hospitals, children and animals than we do to groups supporting religious, disabled, overseas and homeless causes.

If your organization has a similar advocacy, you can also achieve success by appealing to the hearts of your chosen audience. Once you’ve gained a huge following, you can boost your visibility by launching an online fundraiser. Because the FTC has cautioned people to be wary of suspicious nonprofit organizations that ask for donations in cash rather than through check, an online charity fundraiser has an added level of credibility. We’re quite familiar with fundraising for nonprofits and charities, and our platform allows you to manage your auction without much fuss. You can assure your audience that their donations will reach you intact.

As we shoulder much of the work, you have to be ready to face your constituents once they start asking you hard questions. Don’t be intimidated; they only wish to know exactly how their donations will be put to use. Prepare a sufficient and truthful answer if they ask you about your current projects, your future plans, and the impact you’ve made thus far in the community. This may not be necessary in some cases, as the Manchester Dogs’ Home didn’t have this problem because everyone in the region was well aware of the issue.

Of course, merely answering those questions won’t guarantee your auction’s success. You also have to maximize your revenue by avoiding unnecessary expenses and evaluating your fundraiser’s progress. We at eBay Giving Works can provide essential information on effective fundraising for nonprofit organizations compiled from our collective experience in working with various groups such as yours.

The short version? It always pays to be honest to win the hearts of your audience. How you achieve that is up to you.

(Source: Manchester Dogs Home: Why is the fundraising so successful?, BBC, September 12, 2014)