Online fundraising is a significant - and increasing - income stream for charities. Agencies such as JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving and MyDonate are recruiting and supporting fundraisers and donors, on behalf of numerous charities, to create fundraising pages for the collection of donations from their various events and activities.
These agencies can provide you with files of pages created, income received and gift aid claimed. alms.NET can provide support from start to finish: from setting up fundraisers and associating them with an event - such as the London Marathon or an activity like a coffee morning - to managing the income received and attributing it to both the Fundraiser and the Donor, and recording the Gift Aid income.
For the charity, agencies provide notifications of activities from these fundraisers. The notifications can come in via email or by downloading the relevant files. These files can be updated into alms.NET using dedicated import routines for new pages, donations and gift aid transactions. alms.NET uses the unique identifiers from the agencies - fundraiser id, fundraising page id and donor id - as matching criteria to streamline the process. Each transaction can be associated to a fundraiser, donor, event or fundraising activity, tribute fund and a funding agreement, which allows all relevant processes to be managed effectively.
The process starts with a supporter wishing to raise funds for your cause. This may be driven by marketing activities or by the supporter’s circumstances - from sheer enthusiasm to doing something in memory of a loved one. The supporter could contact you first or the earliest notification your charity may get could be from the agency working with the fundraiser. The agency may send notifications on a daily or weekly basis.
If the supporter has contacted you first, then you will at least be aware of their intent, enabling you to capture the appropriate details on alms.NET; their actions may be related to requesting a Bond place in a marathon, doing a bike ride or one of many other creative and enduring ways these fundraisers will enact their commitment.
Whether you knew about their activity or not, many agencies can send you the details of the ‘fundraising pages’ that these fundraisers have set up with the agency. This notification comes in a file with the fundraiser’s details including preferences, event/activity details including team details, agency reference number and a web link to their fundraising page. If you know the supporter you can couple these details with their record; if not you can create the supporter and the relevant event/activity details. If the supporter’s efforts are in memory of someone, or as a tribute, this may also be captured in alms.NET. Ultimately you will have your supporter on the system with direct access to their fundraising page to keep apprised of how well they are doing on your behalf.
When your fundraiser begins to receive donations, the fundraising agency can provide you with details so that alms.NET can record the financial progress. The file provided will not only contain details of the fundraiser for first time capture if not already recorded in alms.NET, but also details of the donors including their marketing preferences. If the donor wishes to remain anonymous, their donation will still be captured and related in alms.NET to the fundraiser. alms.NET will answer the question of who is your biggest donor and not get confused between income donated by your Fundraiser and income raised by your Fundraiser. A standard report of records imported is readily available.
Through the use of a simple tick box you can inform alms.NET whether the agency or alms.net will manage the Gift Aid. If the former, the agency will provide a file of the Gift Aid they have claimed on your behalf which is easily imported into alms.NET and related to the fundraiser and donor concerned.
Going through this cycle once is enough for alms.NET to automate the second and subsequent occasions against the same fundraiser, reducing the number of clicks and streamlining your processes as it becomes busier.
If you would like further information on how alms.NET supports this process, please contact Westwood Forster on firstname.lastname@example.org
The best way to keep up to date with what is happening in this area is to follow us on Twitter @westwoodforster. We will be posting all these updates on Twitter as well as re-tweeting relevant information from the sector. Please encourage others in your organisation to follow us as well.
See our blog at http://www.westwood-forster.co.uk/blog/ for additional posts on Online Fundraising Agencies as well as other topics of interest for our sector.
Some useful links providing information on Online Fundraising Agencies and how to work with them.