2009 will be known as the year when charities learned to work online communication channels to maximum advantage, if the number and breadth of these campaigns are any indication.
Such anecdotal evidence is backed up by a recent study by Convio that found that charities with an online presence can expect to reap more than $4 billion during this holiday season, writes MarketingCharts.
Many of the online initiatives are straightforward partnerships with retailers. CommonKindness.com, for example, donates 60% of the profits each time a person prints a coupon or uses a discount at the site. Other initiatives are as elaborate as a for-profit marketing campaign.
shopkick's free CauseWorld iPhone App enables iPhone users to collect "karmas" by opening the app and "checking-in" when they come close to, or enter, retail stores.
Karmas will then be funded out of the nearly $500,000 that has been provided by Citigroup and Kraft Foods. Users can spend collected karmas on real world charitable actions like planting trees, feeding families in America or providing clean water to people in Sudan and then publish their deeds on their Facebook feed.
Nine charities are already partnering with the CauseWorld App including American Red Cross, Feeding America, American Forests, GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose.org, Prevent Child Abuse America, Carbonfund.org, American Humane Association and Room to Read.
Last Minute Donations
Not surprisingly, given their success online, charities seeking last minute donations for 2009 are redoubling efforts on these channels for last minute donations. Cone Research found that email, websites and social media networks work best with people who have donated in the past. (via MarketingCharts).
In terms of causes supported, about 22% have supported causes related to the environment, which falls behind animal welfare (29%), health and disease (28%), education (23%). More than one in five have supported human rights/equal rights (21%).