Whether we like it or not, calamities, especially natural ones, are bound to happen. And sometimes, no amount of risk mitigation and management can prepare us for the worst. These are the times when people need to set aside all possible bias and rally all the help we can possibly offer.

Take the Philippines, for example. Just last year, the cool winds of November painted the Philippines a grotesque picture of tragedy when Super Typhoon Haiyan nearly wiped out the country’s Visayan region, particularly the provinces of Leyte and Samar. Although Haiyan affected its neighboring territories such as Micronesia, Southern China, and Vietnam, it was the Philippines that sustained the gravest damages and loss in terms of casualties and property. Though the storm was not unprecedented, the imminent destruction was nevertheless witnessed by the rest of the world. But the one impressive thing that happened post-tragedy was the aid that torrentially poured from different countries. Numerous fundraising campaigns were jumpstarted both by local and international organizations, as well as private citizens, and help was eventually forwarded to the Philippines.

The point is that regardless of where you are, there are ways to extend a hand to people in distress, one of which is by hosting an online fundraiser. The key to ensuring its success, however, is proper management. Here are five things you can do if you wish to start your own online fundraiser and do well in it.

1.      Pick a Partner Charity

Raising funds doesn’t always have to mean that you need to start your own organization, as doing so would entail a lot of work. While you can definitely initiate your own agency, you can also choose to simply partner with established organizations and volunteer to be their online fundraising arm. Just remember to pick a charity that is legitimate and you can completely trust. But if building your own organization is what suits you and your purpose best, then by all means go for it.

2.      Build a Website

To be able to encourage people to give to your online fundraiser, you need to present your programme in a way that has a genuine look and feel. Aside from ensuring the internal integrity of your fundraising project, you can also assure your audience that you’re a legitimate organization by building a website.

Aside from introducing yourself and establishing your authenticity, you can use your website to publish different types of content about your fundraising projects, its objectives, and even testimonials from the beneficiaries you were able to help. You can also post photos, videos, and even data relevant to your missions. Bear in mind though that it may take a while before people start responding to you, since it’s also important that they feel you can be trusted. But if you keep on working on a visually-appealing and user-friendly site, it can help you establish your authority as fundraiser.

3.      Use Multiple Marketing Platforms

The fact that you’re doing an online fundraiser suggests that you want to maximize the potential of the Internet. But to really make the best of it, you have to use the handful of platforms available to you.

One of the most popular options would be social media, since there are a slew of social networking sites that are already available to you for free. Social media is one of the most convenient and reliable ways to stay in touch with your audience, keep them interested, and invite more.

You can also use email marketing which entails communicating with prospective sponsors and volunteers through email. Mobile marketing is another option you can explore as its progress gradually ascends in the Internet marketing scene. If, by any chance, you can afford to have a mobile app created for your org, let your audience download it to their smartphones so that they can stay updated and possibly track how much they have contributed to the fundraiser.

Also, you can tap in to reputable crowdfunding sites that provide free fundraising tools and tutorials to their members while allowing them to keep all proceeds. Some of them are:

4.      Provide Different Channels for Wiring Money

As you would expect, sponsors would want to determine that they’re sending their money to a trustworthy organization and one way of assuring them is by offering them safe methods of transmitting their donations. You can offer them the online payment service PayPal, as well as bank transfer or money transfer. Some organizations make use of text messaging by instructing donors to send a specific SMS to a short code and then the donation will be charged to their phone bill.

5.      Be Transparent

Apart from giving people secure means of donating, you also need to keep them engaged so that they may consider helping again in the future. One way to do it is by being transparent about how much the fundraiser is earning and where the money is going. While you don’t necessarily have to detail how the money was spent down to the last cent, you can give your donors an idea on what provisions (e.g. food, toys, or cash) you forwarded to the beneficiaries. This way, the donors will feel more connected to the project and look forward to contributing again.

Helping others get back on their feet after a tragic loss is always a great reason to come together and give all the assistance we can get. You only have to make sure that if this is the premise your online fundraiser will operate on, arm yourself with a plan and that you do your best to manage it properly.