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Accepting Donations to Fund Your Website

Not all editorial or citizen journalism Web sites are supported by advertising. Some causes prefer to be free of the editorial constraints that paid advertising brings. If you’re depending on reader donations to fund your Web site, working smarter can net you more money.

Tools to Receive Website Donations

There are myriad tools available to make it easier for your readers and site visitors to contribute to your cause. Web payment companies, like Paypal and Wepay, offer donation buttons with the code already embeded, so you can easily place them on your site to offer a secure way for readers to donate.

Ways to increase your Website Donations

Just throwing together a Web site and hoping for the best is not likely to be effective in raising money for your cause or Web venture. Instead, follow these tips to increase your Web site donations:

1.Use social media. If you haven’t tied your Web site to Facebook or Twitter or one of the more than 400 other social media sites, you need to do so immediately. Even if you only have time to create a Facebook page, do it. Promoting your site to a small number of “friends” via Facebook can expand your reach exponentially when those friends share your message with their friends and their friends’ friends.

2.Set up a blog. Blogging is another good way to communicate with the Internet community and let people know why your cause is important and why they should contribute their hard-earned money. It also makes you seem more human and less like another impersonal Web site looking for a donation.

3.Create a mailing list from comments and newsletter subscribers. If you produce a weekly or monthly newsletter for your readers, you can use the email addresses they use to sign-up to create a mailing list for soliciting donations. You can also use the email addresses from those who comment on your Web site to solicit additional donations. However, make sure to use address verification software to minimize returned mail and wasted postage.

4.Be active. Like any other Web site, you’ll attract more attention and rank better with search engines if you add new content regularly, respond to comments and share relevant information with friends on your social media sites.

5. Pay attention to timing. According to Wepay, Web sites reap much more money in donations during the work week (particularly Tuesday through Thursday) as opposed to the weekends. They further maintain that solicitations sent out during lunch time, from noon to 1:00 p.m., are the most effective.

Funding your Web site with reader donations is a good way to avoid having your message diluted by inappropriate advertising. However, like any enterprise, raising funds for your site requires dedication, regular maintenance and efficient work habits in order to be effective.

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