Seth Goldberg, a New York executive with a medical malpractice insurance company, is a self-described Internet "news junkie." He had followed reports of the North Korean famine with great concern. So when an October 1997 North Korea news story he read on the Yahoo Web site linked him to the World Vision (WV) Web site, Goldberg decided to give $5,000 for relief efforts with a few strokes of his keyboard. "That made the difference to me, that I was able to get enough information to come to a decision," he says. "It was a very intelligent, easy way [to donate]."
Confronted with donor attrition and the increasing cost of direct mail, Christian nonprofits are turning to technology, especially the Internet, to attract new donors such as Goldberg.
World Vision U.S. (www.worldvision. org), which has had a Web site since April 1997, created an emergency campaign on its site for Sudan, with facts, photos, and video clips of relief work. In July, nearly 170 people donated $70,000 to World Vision through its Web site, about 10 percent of the total amount the agency raised.
The four-year-old Web site of Food for the Hungry (www.fh.org) already has become the group's second-largest source of new child sponsors, nearly doubling to 7 percent over 12 months and generating annual income near $190,000.
Web sites with .org in the domain name (typically used by nonprofits) have grown from a few hundred in 1992 to 115,000, according to Network Solutions, Inc., the company that registers new Web sites. Most of those that accept online donations use secure sites with encryption technology. But not all organizations have been successful in recouping the cost of Web site creation and maintenance. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) added ...1
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