How about a water buffalo for the office grab bag? Update that online donation page for the holidays

by Carol Buckheit on December 1, 2011

Are you ready for the end of year fundraising push? If not, you need to read Joanne Fritz’s terrific round-up of articles to get your end- of-year fundraising appeals up to snuff.  I’ll add one more item for your website to-do list: Consider updating your online donation form to include virtual gifts–symbolic gifts/merchandise that allow a donor to make a real impact through gift-giving. The happy recipient receives an acknowledgment of this intangible gift and how it will make a difference.

Some nonprofits have created extensive virtual gift catalogs, while some have simply adapted online donation pages to reflect the tangible ways that one’s donation impacts others.  I love these holiday online donation pages developed by Project Hope, and this one from Blood: WaterMission.

How about a water buffalo in that office grab bag? Heifer Project International’s gift catalog also features llamas, camels and honey bees among their virtual gifts.

Heifer Project

MercyCorps kicked off the giving season with the email below on Cyber Monday. How about an irrigation canal for that special someone? An acre of rice? Crickets?  They’ve got them all.

MercyCorps Gift Catalog

The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Holiday Gift catalog will allow donors to fill a food pantry for a week with a $200 donation:

Atlanta Food Bank Holiday Gift Catalog

And who wouldn’t want a coral reef from Santa? The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre gifts raise precious dollars for conservation from the Rockies to Palau.

Nature Conservancy gift catalog email

This one from PETA’s virtual gift catalog may be perfect gift for the pet lover who has it all:

Undercover Investigator Supplies from PETA

You don’t have to be a big-shot organization to make the virtual gift concept work. The key is connecting your mission with your donor in  meaningful ways.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Kerr December 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm

We weren’t able to be this sophisticated, but we did have inquiries about doing a tote/food drive in lieu of an office grab bad so I posted a suggestion of how to make that happen …


Carol Buckheit December 15, 2011 at 7:57 am

What a wonderful idea! Thanks so much for telling me about it. I’d love to share it.


Sue Kerr December 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I think we will craft our next holiday project around this concept. We certainly can “sell” all sorts of virtual gifts that benefit the environment and/or hunger relief efforts. It is on the list.


Carol Buckheit December 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

Thanks, Sue! Lots of good ideas here–glad you can use them. And thanks for the comment!


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