Let the Games Begin! Online Giving Gets Competitive

It has been growing slowly for some time now – contests where viewers vote for their favorite nonprofit organization or specific project and help them win greater support, donations and prime-placement positioning the online nonprofit aggregator sites. Places like GlobalGiving.com and American Express’s Members Project have invited viewers and members to vote for their favorite charities and charitable projects. The winners are awarded a variety of prizes including daily awards, a permanent spot on their listing of charities and, in the case of American Express and other corporations, some of the company’s money.

The Sunday, May 10, 2009 edition of the New York Times offered further evidence that internet charitable contests are gaining popularity as important online fundraising vehicles. Target Stores took out a two-page spread in the newspaper to promote its new Mother’s Day $3 million charitable contest which you can find at www.facebook.com/Target. In same edition of The New York Times, Stephanie Strom, charitable giving reporter, expands on the growing trend and notes how these contests create a level playing field and allow smaller organizations the same access and visibility as the largest ones.

While the charities in the Target contest do not include any targeted to Jewish causes, you can nominate projects for inclusion in Global Giving’s American Open Challenge until May 21st. Jewish nonprofit marketers should hurry to submit their projects and get into the game. As the saying goes, “Winning isn’t everything, but it sure beats losing.” And, if you don’t play you can’t win.

Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional, with deep experience in both the public and private sectors. She currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.