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challenge - fundraising $5k in 30 days

anyone here with experience in non profits?



5:28 am on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

hey guys -

I'm in the process of applying for a job where I would have to build a small brochure site for a new non profit org with the ability to take credit card donations (I'm thinking Paypal for now), and do some marketing in order to generate around $5k within 15-30 days of building it. It's an interesting challenge that I'd like to take, but I know very little about non-profits and specially fundraising online. Now, the non-profit would have some partnerships that we could link to/from, so that could drive some initial traffic/donations from those, but that aside, how would I be able to 'surge' traffic so quickly in the space of 15 days or so?

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear about them.


12:26 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

- Buying traffic. PPC.
- Link exchanges. People do tend to link more liberally with nonprofits.
- Social media. Most nonprofits have stories to tell. Those stories can often evoke lots of clicks.

I would say using quality content to suck traffic from social media sites would be your best bet.


3:41 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

This is kinda obvious, but.... have you checked-out the organization?

Is the organization new, or just the website? Do they already have some sort of website, but just not the ability to donate online?

It would seem to me they would/should already have the ability to take credit cards, though they might need help on the "online" part. PayPal seems a non-starter, unless their audience is either pretty geeky or hangs out on eBay a lot.

I assume from your use of the term "job" this is a paid position. Is your continued employment and/or payment contingent on raising the money?

It's kinda strange that you would be tasked both with the technology and fund-raising. Do you have experience with the latter?

Something doesn't smell right.

It's pretty meaningless for us to comment on whether it's possible or not, without knowing the nature of the organization, their history (or lack thereof), etc. I would think though, that the best way to achieve that would be through publicity in traditional media, and, in particular, radio and TV. Put out a press release and hope for sympathetic editors and a slow news day.


3:46 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Remember to include the option to gift aid the donation online, in the UK this gives you an extra 40% from the IRS.


4:38 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


This is a brand new non-profit, and I would be 'employee 1'. And, the fundraising element would be part of my salary for the first month, hence the whole 'challenge' aspect of it. So basically if I can earn the non profit x amount, that's gonna go towards my salary. If I go over it, then there would be an incentive scale/bonus.

Mind me, if I get the job, I'll still be working at my current day job/ this would be something I'd move into working after hours and weekends, until I could feel that I had a good grasp of what's involved.

Just out of curiosity - the non profit centers around building houses in Somalia made of recycled plastic bottles. I haven't seen the whole package of information on it, but that's the one thing that it may have some difficulty connecting with potential donors.


8:13 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have a bit of experience with the non profit industry and I have to say that what you are describing sounds *very* odd and unprofessional.

It seems to me that there is a chance that some people are looking to start a non-profit and want to test things out. If they don't raise the amount they want they could easily fold and you would be left with nothing. You need to have some kind of bargaining room (whether is be the reputation of an established non-profit, a fee up front, etc).

I would ask for the following:

1) Their IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter. If they are a non-profit they are legally required to provide this (as well as other documents) to anyone who asks.

2) I would make sure that another non-profit can vouch for them. Every non-profit builds relationships with other organizations, so someone will be able to do it. This ensured that they are a legit organization.

My $.02


8:32 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks - most definitely - I do believe they do have partnerships with other organizations, which would be unconvered during the specifications process. I will just make sure to bring it up upfront.

I can see how it would be unprofessional - well, perhaps not the best word to describe it, but definitely against the norm. This is apparently something that this guy is known for - for swimming against the current.

The bottom line is that I think the challenge is very interesting, and the payout potential could be very large as well, and it would be nice to work for something more than your regular run of the mill ecommerce solution.


8:40 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Be sure everything is legit.

Back in early 1973, as a young tyke, I become involved with an "organzation" raising money for earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Too young, too naive, and too altruistic, I very nearly got caught holding the bag (and all the bills) when the con man that had set this all up made off the with not insignificant haul from about 6 weeks of fundraising.


9:12 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have a bit of experience with nonprofits myself in my ancient past, though not of this nature. I once owned a firm that (among other things) did custom programming for a youth drop-in center, Friends of the Library, etc. The wife of the partners worked full-time for the Red Cross, as well. (And it's through that connection that we got the contracts.)

An emphasis on online fund-raising at this stage seems strange. Something like this would normally start with a grant - from a government agency, a larger non-profit that doles-out grants to smaller non-profits, etc.

It seems unrealistic to expect the public to make direct contributions to a new organization with no track record or history of any kind at all. Contributers that such an organization might attract are most likely naive.

Offering a percentage of contributions, and, particularly, all of the first $n of contributions seems particularly strange and unprofessional. And offering it to somebody with no prior experience with non-profits? They prefer to work with people who are familiar with how they operate.

Add to that a somewhat bizarre cause in a far-away place that has no effective government and would be very difficult to verify. Somalia is a place for experienced NGOs, and I'd bet it's a challenge even for them.

Somebody pass the clothes pins.


9:43 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

well - thank you for all the eye openers in the behind the scenes of non profits. I'll definitely have to clarify with him if selected to do this project.


11:48 pm on Oct 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I got an initial response via email - apparently this non profit will work with (if these urls are permissable..):

www.unep.org (united nations)

so these are big ones, but of course he could just be throwing names around. And I guess, looking at the one.org site, I can also leverage social networks/photo sites to create exposure for the site. hmm, interesting project indeed.


1:14 am on Oct 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You can check U.S. organizations tax-exempt status here:


This is actually an online application, not a simple document. It's currently updated through June, 2007.

Alas, this means less than it should. There's been a lot of abuse on the part of unscrupulous accountants (or, perhaps, "accountants") who suck-in naive businesspeople.

A good example from my own neighborhood: the fellow who used to detail my car turned his business into a "non-profit". A "car detailing school". Not only did he make it a non-profit, but pays the employees peanuts (below minimum wage) legally and collects a hefty fee from the state for each "student" he "graduates". (Just how much "training" does one need to detail cars?)

He pitched this to his customers with the idea that they could deduct their car detailing expenses as a charitable donation. He showed me his "business plan". The "accountant" is churning these out like crazy.

Notice that I say "the fellow who used to detail my car...

[edited by: jtara at 1:23 am (utc) on Oct. 2, 2007]


1:23 am on Oct 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That is name throwing and not any sort of proof of legitimacy. The site of the first is down, so I am not sure exactly who they are, the second is more an organization that coordinates a large number of groups. They should have direct contact with at LEAST one real organization.


A local nonprofit that some of the board members are also involved with.
A local nonprofit that has been contacted because they will work together (ex: a food pantry contacts local religious organizations)
A non-local nonprofit that has some sort of real tie to the organization.

Getting to know the organization is a key part of the process. It lets you know how serious the organization is as well as how viable they are.

I won't post any more on this, I just figured some people who read this later would want to know.


4:05 am on Oct 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The site of the first is down

Worked fine for me. It points to the United Nations Environmental Programme. Of course, it doesn't mean much in and by itself.

In any case - we'll see what turns up if I get offered the job.


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