August 21, 2009

What are fundraising widgets and how can non-profits use them?

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John HaydonLast week, Chris Garrett and I gave a Techsoup.org presentation called Measuring Social Media ROI. A participant asked, “What is a widget?,” which Chris and I tried to explain, but only had limited time.

Thinking it might be useful to source the answer from an expert, I invited Eric Schrader of the social fundraising company givezooks! to answer two questions.

What is a fundraising widget?

Eric: A fundraising widget is a portable version of a campaign or personal fundraiser that you can think of as an ad for the fundraiser. And like an ad, it gets placed where potentially interested audiences will see it.

Like successful ads, it’s not good enough to be seen — it needs to move the person to action. Most fundraising widgets do that by letting people know what the fundraiser is for, what the goal is, how much has been raised so far, who else has given, how much it takes to make a specific impact and any number of other things about a fundraiser.

The nice thing about widgets is that once you place them, they update themselves — a widget typically pulls the latest status of the fundraiser from the main fundraiser webpage. Also, clicking on the widget typically will take you to the main fundraiser page.

Givezooks campaign

Why are they important?

Eric: Widgets allow supporters to promote your fundraising on various websites. Whether it’s a supporter’s blog or a corporate sponsor’s website, a non-profit can get exposed to a whole new audience via a widget.

The other important thing about widgets is that they help to tell the story:

  • How far along is the fundraiser?
  • Who else has donated or supporter the fundraiser?
  • What impact can I make?
  • How can I get involved too?

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that they have to do fundraising only on their website — that the “ask: needs to be done in the controlled environment or the organization’s website. But the truth is that you make your fundraising more successful when it’s exposed to new audiences.

So set your fundraisers free — get a widget!John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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