FUNDRAISING NEWS: Internet giving pays off for emergency appeals

Emma Maier

Online giving and the internet are helping to transform emergency fundraising.

Charities are using online giving, web sites and email as a part of their Iraq crisis response campaigns because the speed and flexibility of electronic communication reflects the immediacy of the situation in emergencies.

"This is a change from the old methods of crisis fundraising," said James Kliffen, head of fundraising at Medecins Sans Frontieres UK.

"The speed is the best thing," said Gemma Brassey, online fundraising executive of Care International UK.

Online campaigns give charities the scope to run widespread or smaller appeals depending on their needs. The British Red Cross and Concern Worldwide, which are both running major campaigns, are using the Charities Aid Foundation's online giving sites while Care International UK and Medecins Sans Frontieres UK are running low-key appeals on the Justgiving site.

"Online giving gives us the control to raise as much as we need and no more," said Kliffen. "We aren't running a large campaign at the moment, but some of our regular supporters do want to make donations, and this makes it easier for them. If we decide to step up the campaign, we can."

Email newsletters are also useful in a crisis. "They are a great way of communicating, especially with younger supporters," said Brassey.

Kliffen added: "Emails motivate donors by keeping them informed. We have had several replies from supporters saying how much they appreciated the updates."

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