How Reach Donors on your Nonprofit Website


Within this technologically savvy world, the day-to-day tasks are progressively becoming more online demanding and mobile friendly. For the public, they simply enjoy convenience over everything. The concept of clicking on a button and having it do all of the work has become one of the biggest game changers in whether or not a person will donate to a charity. But even with this knowledge, many nonprofits have made the mistake of not optimizing their sites as their main priority for reaching their financial donation goals.

As a social activist, I have taken my hobby of photography and have published a 234-paged hardcover coffee-table book that features my finest photographs of my travels through North America, Africa, Asia, and beyond with a primary focus on people in some of the poorest and most inhospitable places. The book calls into action the desperate poverty and food and water shortages that are occurring all around the world. While the images are meant to educate, the public of the difficulties many of my subjects encounter each and every day, they are also mean to speak loudly about their stories and what the viewers can do to help impact the world. While I can talk much about my site and my nonprofit organization, I have to of course want to highlight how I was able to influence my marketing through the improvement of my nonprofit website.

Below, you will find five helpful factors that can shape your site in the most optimal way for its visitors. Keep in mind, no matter how compelling the message is, the more difficult it is to donate, the harder it is to get donors.

1.  Make it Social Media Friendly

With today’s growing social media market, it would be to your best effort to have various pages and Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest highlighting your cause and your mission. Be sure that every page of your website has links to these social media profiles so that people can share and market your organization to the world. To go even further than this, try optimizing your social media properties to its fullest so that you can gain more visitors to your site.

2. Be Informative and Simple at the Beginning of your Site

No matter who is visiting, you want to make sure you are marketing the background, history, vision, goals, and previous work of your campaign. This can be done through separate tabs or though an ‘About’ page on the front of your website. Whatever is the case, you want to make sure that you are informative of your organization. Do not dive too in-depth with the jargon of your field. Save that stuff for a blog page. Instead, be informative and simple. Enter the perspective of a layperson. Introduce your organization as if they are new to the problem. This will allow you to shape your content in the most beneficial way possible.

3. Show your Story

Like every great nonprofit organization, they are storytellers. As much as you want to be informative and educational to your public, you also want to pull at the strings of their heart. The best way to do this is to gain their trust and attention through a heartfelt blog post, videos, images, or even graphs. One of the most impactful statements you can make with your organization is highlighting the numbers. The more quantifiable the cause is, the stronger support you can get from the overall public.

4. Streamline the Donating Process

As stated before, user-friendly websites tend to get the most donations just because they offer a simple clicking option. To truly understand this importance, look at your website from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Would you be able to understand the mission and navigate through the site to donate a specific amount? If not, try and see what you can do to make the donation page easily accessible. Some sites prominently feature a ‘Donate Now’ button at the top of every page. If you do not have that, try considering that option and see how affective it is with the public.

5. Provide a Blog

To truly educate and increase awareness of your charity, try creating a consistent blog page on your site. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure you are consistent with the page. Try blogging about the history of your organization, the existing problem, and steps your charity and organization is doing to work its way to a viable solution. This will allow your donors to learn more about the issue and understand what their donations can do to truly impact the world.

Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy


When it comes down to corporate philanthropy, the entity and it’s overall success is contingent upon the thriving and ever-evolving acceptance of a company’s culture. Why? The answer is simple. The corporate culture of a business is the holistic personality of the entire organization. It dictates how its members behave, communicate, and believe in a specific idea. While the impact of a company’s culture is rarely discussed, company culture clearly permeates an ingrained philosophy from one employee to another. That is why business leaders and CEOs need to leverage this influencer in scaling a more positive and active mentality for philanthropies and charities outside of their business and intrinsic goals. This mentality will, in turn, allow a boost in the morale of the employees, an improvement in the image of the company, and last but not least, the financial gain in the goals of the business.

Let’s start off by exploring the importance of corporate philanthropy between employees and workers. Many people, especially at a big firm, want to be bigger than themselves. They see themselves as movers and game changers within their perspective fields and would love to rise to the occasion of doing more, even opportunities outside of their job description. In fact many of these individuals have been hired based on their impact through various extracurricular activities during and after college. By embracing corporate philanthropy, whether it is with an actual organization or a mentorship group through the company itself, employees are able to participate in social responsibility initiatives that can help shape them both personally and professionally. This will in turn generate a more positive attitude to their jobs and boost morale within the overall office.

Outside of the office, you have to understand that no matter what the project or motivation is for your company’s philanthropic work, the community and its prospective individuals will always benefit from the program. Take for example, the standard charity option seen in various companies and private business firms where they offer grants or financial support to local organizations and communities. That funding provides the individuals within the community the supplies and financial backing needed to improve and complete various projects such as extracurricular clubs or educational programs. Some companies go even further where strong and active business leaders are able to provide their support in a more impactful way. Whatever is the case, the specific helped offered by a corporation results in a cleaner and livelier community.

Going back to the impact on the business, corporate philanthropy also aids in boosting a company’s overall image to the public. Within the past decade, many private financial businesses have obtained a negative persona of greed and self gain. To help prevent that, many companies have implemented various philanthropic programs to help market to the public a more positive community driven organization. As a company continuous to invest and involve its time and money within a philanthropy or charity, the news of a company’s work will eventually gain popularity within the public eyes. This in turn allows customers to favor these companies over their competitors as trustworthy and dependable.

While business leaders need to be more inclined in improving the world than their own image, knowing the overall benefits of corporate philanthropy can help be the true game changer in switching the mentality and corporate culture from a money driven attitude to a community driven influencer.

Corporate Philanthropy within the Private Sector


For years, big banks and financially driven businesses have been negatively criticized for their lack of commitment to the communities and neighborhoods around them. These criticisms have even extended to the social responsibility aspect and the impact that they should be making day-in and day-out of their offices.

With that being said, we first need to explore why corporate social responsibility is required at these businesses and organizations. When we discuss social responsibility, especially on the level of money-driven firms, the public tends to focus on the ethical and economical aspects of this issue. However, with a variety of different elements within the definition of corporate social responsibility, the intended message and act of philanthropy is often lost in translation. Why? The answer is simple. Corporate social responsibility is relatively a vague definition. This in turn results into a multitude acts from donating to charity to holding events within the communities around them. Regardless of what the act is, businesses and organizations seem to have a misunderstanding at what is expected of them.

To clarify this definition, we need to understand that corporate philanthropy is not corporate responsibility. Many times, people swap these two entities as if they are synonymous with one another. While they are similar, the concept itself is very different. Corporate philanthropy is, in itself, an entity of corporate social responsibility. It is the act and engagement where companies and their employees contribute to nonprofit organizations through programs, mentorships, and noteworthy charities. In comparison, corporate social responsibility, as defined by Wikipedia, is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a specific business model. To put it in more laymen terms, corporate social responsibility refers to a business practice that involves employees, specifically within the private sector, participating in initiatives that benefit society. This can encompass the act of corporate philanthropy where a business or organization is donating money or time to charity or human advancement like the projects and works found with Elon Musk. Whatever is the case, corporate social responsibility initiatives are meant for corporations to go above and beyond in impacting and transforming the environment and social wellbeing of the public.


So the main question we should ask is: How should corporate social responsibility be initiated with large companies?

With big banks and large corporations, it is clear that they have an immense amount of power and entities within their prospective fields. For good or for worst, these corporations have enormously impacted their communities and environments around them. This can be either on a monetary scale, such as the financial growth through community purchase, or on a personal impact, such as removing a group of people to build up shop for their company. Whatever is the case, these industries need to be well aware of the effects they are having on the public, even if their intentions were good.

So what can they do to help the public?

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Unless their work is meant to improve the betterment of mankind, large businesses should look into engaging in various corporate philanthropy acts. These altruistic and ethical acts can shed light on a dark legacy that has hovered over field for years. Certain acts that companies can engage in can be the following:

  • Loan Grant Programs
    • Many corporations operate various grant programs for local nonprofit organizations. This can range from small financial gifts to local businesses to educational scholarships to students. Whatever is the case, these local grant programs allow companies to target a specific need for their communities.
  • Donating Resources to Communities or Schools
    • For many communities and schools, there has been a large outcry for new and functional resources. That being said, many corporations can donate their office supplies such as pens, pencils, papers, notebooks, or even computers to local school systems or libraries.
  • Corporate Volunteerism
    • Many organizations have several partnerships with afterschool programs or nonprofit organizations where their employees can volunteer their time to help aid the community. This can be beautification projects, tutoring, mentoring, or even the standard community service projects.
  • Issued-Oriented Philanthropy
    • Some companies are committed in working with specific philanthropy effort issues such as education, domestic violence, or hunger. If your company is involved in any of these organizations, talk to your employers and see what you can do to get involved.
  • Charity Donations
    • Similar to issued-oriented philanthropy, many companies and business firms are already partnered with specific nonprofit organizations. While time may be money, you as an individual can still impact your community on a financial level. Talk to your employer about any organizations they are involved with to donate to charity. If there is not one, try and find some on your own. You’ll be surprised by how many people at the workplace are eager to giving back to the public like you are.

At the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that businesses like these are at a status of privilege. While they are busy with their own intrinsic goals, they need to understand that there is a world outside of their office. For philanthropy, the act is not about money. It is about the understanding and tolerance about caring for those that need our help. We as a society need to reconcile the misunderstanding and redefine our relationships between the private sector and the community. Only then will we be able to see the transitive change we want for our world.

The Top Crowdfunding Sites and How to Use Them


One of the biggest hurdles many people find themselves in when starting a project or an idea is funding. Financial funding plays a large portion in our society. No matter where you go, money never sleeps. It is essentially how the world works. But how does this help you? What if you are not one of the lucky ones born with a silver spoon? How can you possibly establish your idea with no financial funding?

With the new millennial age of advanced technology, many organizations, startup companies, products, and classrooms have benefited from the concept of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of financially fund and establishing a project or venture by raising various small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically through the Internet. Think of this like donations. If you have a great idea, many people are willing to invest and donate a small financial portion so that they can see certain your company come to fruition. Many crowdfunding industries have grown exponentially over the past few years helping many people raise billions to fund their projects. These campaigns are usually broken up to specific niches such as: unique experiences, charity, social impact, consumer packaged goods, innovative inventions, gaming, startups, and much more. Without these sites, many innovative ideas would not have made it to our homes.

So how does this work? There are two basic crowdfunding models. The first model is the one people are usually aware of which is the rewards-based crowdfunding model. Rewards-based crowdfunding is where people can pre-purchase a product, buy various rewards, or simply donate to the company. These donations do NOT allow the funders an investment or shareholder with the company. This brings us to the second model, the equity crowdfunding. You may have heard of this in various shows like Shark Tank. This is when the donors are able to become shareholders in a company. In equity crowdfunding, companies will often sell ownership stakes online to require the necessary funds to make them operational and profitable.

Below, you will find four of the best crowdfunding websites to help start you off on your journey. Remember to be clear and precise about what you are planning on using the funding for. Donors want to know what they are investing in. Furthermore, make sure your message is strong and appeal. The best way to succeed at these sites is if your message truly impacts the public.


Kickstarter helps a variety of people is a range of interest. On this crowdfunding site, you can find artist, musicians, filmmakers, designers, charities, and consumer packaged goods that are trying to establish themselves in their congested markets. To date, Kickstarter has helped tens of thousands of create projects allowing them to come to life and impact the community for the better.


Indiegogo is one of the first and largest global fundraising sites that help individuals, businesses, and nonprofits raise money online. It allows people to activate their global community with their user-friendly dashboard. The site’s market is open to anyone who has an idea and wants to raise funds to financially start them to reach their goal. It has been estimated that over nine million people from all around the world visit this site on a monthly basis. With this type of traffic and strong reputation, you are looking at an incredible untouched resource to get you started on your journey.


DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to directly donate to the education sector. This is specifically designed to help teachers, educators, and administration raise funding for various classroom projects. This site is one of the first civic crowdfunding platforms of its kind. It gives many people the opportunity to truly create an impact especially on the future leaders for tomorrow.


Similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Rockethub is another large online crowdfunding platform. It users usually include a variety of people from music, business, science, arts, fashion, startups, and nonprofits. Rockethub operates in a way to help raise awareness for your project and future endeavors.


Tips for Fundraising Online

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Within these past few years, Atlas Finance, and their founder and president, Jack Halfon, have been engaged in various philanthropic projects with the Chabad House Community Center. Their mission was simple. They wanted to provide the under-represented communities of Johannesburg with the tools to grow and thrive each and every day. In a short amount of time, Jack and his company were able to successfully raise awareness, fund, and build two well-functioning, well-resourced libraries through the Grow Your Life campaign. Now for those who think this task is easily accomplished, you are far from right. Something this impactful, especially within the confines of time, takes more than just a positive attitude. Rather, for these opportunities to become tangible entities, there needs to be a foundation in which an organization can run. That is why, for any non-profit, it is imperative that you fundraise in the most efficient and effective way.

What is fundraising? Fundraising is the process of gathering voluntary contributions, mostly money, or other resources from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. There is of course the traditional aspect of fundraising in which you can network your way through friends, family, and businesses. But in order for you to reach your goal, you are going to need to think outside the box. With our digital age, people are able to get information within milliseconds. Presenting an online fundraising account can be one of the most beneficial and effective techniques you can do for your campaign. But it is not simply creating a website. When you are presenting an online platform, you need to make sure you are able to drive your campaign to a large mass of people.

The Logistics

When presenting your organization online, you want to make sure that your ideas, your vision, and the overall process is clearly stated. People want to know not just what their money is going to, but where it is going. Having a strong layout of your logistics of your campaign will play an imperative role in reaching your goals. In addition, come into the mentality as a teacher. You want to make sure that everyone is educated about the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ before donating. Last but not least, make sure your website provides an easy layout to actually donate. If it becomes too convoluted, this can turn people away.

Grab The Public’s Attention

Take for example ALS. Yes, it was fun to challenge people online and dump a bucket of water on their heads, but the message was clear, donate to ALS. Getting the public’s attention is one of the most difficult challenges when fundraising, especially for a non-profit. This goes back to the logistics. Try your best and educate the public of the problem. Some people are not aware of what is going on in their backyard. Having your campaign as a voice to this epidemic may be the game changer you are looking for. In addition, be unique! There are thousands of ways nonprofit organizations organize to the public. ALS did it virally through social media. Others have used a ten-minute video, selling miscellaneous items, or providing a unique experience to help grab the public’s attention. At the end of the day, continue to educate the public. That will be the best way of grabbing their attention.

Brand Yourself

Once you have grabbed the public’s attention, your next step is to brand yourself in the best possible light. This is an incredibly tough process that takes a lot of consistency, strategy, and time. Organizations such as Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and Americorps (Teach For America, City Year), have built a brand and image that is synonymous with their message. Having a name, logo, imagery, symbol, or anything can be impactful in the beginning stages. But to have it become your brand will take time. Best way to brand your work is by being consistent with the imagery. Replacing a brand is probably more difficult than starting one. Eventually through time, your name, logo, or imagery should be the representative of your mission.


Keep your website simple! Do not try to go overboard with all of the bells and whistles that you can add to your site. Best way to think of this is to put yourself in the mind of a donor. How easily will they be able to navigate through your site? If the answer is questionable, then you should make the appropriate changes. In addition, try and keep the information simplified in your home page so that those who are reading to educate themselves can understand it easily. If they would like to learn more of the technical information such as why the problem started or where the money is going to, make sure you have a tab or links that can provide it for them.

Be Transparent

The word transparency gets used so often though when it comes to nonprofits. You want to make sure that you use transparency as a general guiding principle. You want people to understand how you interact in and out of the office. When it comes to donors, be honest with them. Let them know where their money is going to and what impact they can have. If they seem like they are unsettled about giving, approach them on that. Remember, you want them to give. The best way to your success is for them to understand why you need their help. Any other tactic besides honesty will only hurt you in the future.

Be Wise: Inkwenkezi School’s Dropout Prevention Initiative

Halfon Be Wise

Studies show that there are eight primary reasons South African students drop out of high school, including lack of discipline and lack of interest. Principal Mr. Lekgalake of the Inkwenkwezi School in Soweto estimates that the highest dropouts are 7th, 8th and 9th graders.

To motivate students and reward attendance, the school is introducing a new initiative called the Be Wise Project. Atlas Finance is sponsoring the print and distribution of some of the Be Wise books, which drives home the importance of an education and offers advice to combat peer pressure. Each incoming student will receive a copy of the book.

The collaboration of Atlas Finance and Inkwenkwezi School is just the latest in a long series of partnerships between the two institutions. In December of 2013, Atlas promoted sustainability with a gift of citrus trees to the school. Atlas and Inkwenkwezi both hope that Be Wise will lead to lower dropout rates in the upcoming school year.

“I believe that education is the cornerstone for the growth of any community or country. I really admire this initiative for tackling the issue of school drop-out and getting this Be wise project off the ground in Inkwenkezi” said Jack Halfon, CEO of Atlas Finance.

Atlas Finance Opens a Second Grow Your Life Library With Chabad

Jack Halfon Chabad Orange Farm 1

In an effort to improve access to education for the poor, Chabad House established a library in Malatajlie in 2013, when proceeds from a charity auction of Jack Halfon’s photography made it possible to purchase a new library. For children with limited opportunities, education is crucial in the development of social and cultural capital, which can impact impoverished communities in profound ways. Under the banner of the Grow Your Life project, Chabad House aims to build even more libraries where children can learn to read and write.

As with the first, Atlas Finance is pleased to have helped develop Grow Your Life’s second library in Orange Farm. Crafted by modest means, the library was made by renovating a six-meter shipping container, outfitting it with shelves and filling it with books donated by Miracle Drive and the READ Educational Trust. Here, a part-time teacher and a librarian will help children learn to read, while also letting them take home books to further practice and develop their language skills. See below for more pictures of the new library.

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