Source 10: Advantages and Barriers
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Source 10: Advantages and Barriers


Each Internet fundraising strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages. This list reflects a broader analysis of resource development and community building strategies on the Internet. The goal is to leverage strengths while avoiding pitfalls.


  • Reaches a large audience inexpensively. 
  • Markets your mission with more marketing opportunities and more marketing niches.
  • Allows renewal/retention at a much lower cost.
  • Increases new donors, retention and renewal rates, and loyalty.
  • Makes renewals easier and more effective when you use your website and email as tools for donor cultivation, relationship management, and stewardship versus purely for solicitation.
  • Increases accountability and donor confidence because you can offer easy access to information about where funds are being spent.
  • Gives immediate, personalized thank you messages online.
  • Offers higher response rates than pure direct mail.
  • Allows you to provide free public service information online in exchange for email addresses that will help build your core audience.
  • Fosters community.
  • Creates opportunities for affinity programs in which your organization gets a portion of sales that originate from links on your web page.
  • Improves your capabilities for researching individual, foundation, and corporate support such as who will give, how much, and to what?
  • Offers new and more effective ways to cultivate donors, such as email greetings and video.
  • Reaches higher disposable income group compared to other marketing methods.
  • Publicizes traditional fundraising programs.
  • Offers more fundraising choices, such as partnerships with e-commerce sites, charity auctions, direct donations, selling web space for advertising and corporate sponsorship, buying or trading web space or links, and selling products and services.
  • Attracts new and nontraditional volunteers and allows for volunteer orientations and trainings.


  • Cost of hardware, software, network connections, consultants, staff time, and training
  • Staff and volunteer resistance
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lots of competition online
  • Computer glitches and other technological headaches
  • Legal complexities since online fundraising is relatively new
  • Regulations and fees, both for charitable giving and professional solicitation
  • Credit card laundering or “factoring” when an agent that’s not authorized as a service reseller by a credit card company uses its own merchant account to offer credit card services to others
  • Unrelated business income tax when nonprofits partner with for-profits in an online cause-related marketing venture
  • Up-front time investment to research and consult with attorneys, and accountants
  • Potential unfamiliarity with the technology among donors
  • Tax implications and possibility of alienating donors by pushing commercial advertisements on them through corporate sponsorships
  • Tax implications of selling merchandise online





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