Make-A-Wish sets up large donor site

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Make-A-Wish sets up large donor site
Make-A-Wish sets up large donor site

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, has created a unique Web site for large donors. On the site, each donor is taken through a personalized experience of how his or her donation has made a difference in a child's life. 

It's a nonprofit fundraising best practice to not only recognize large donors, but also to also show their money in action. Many nonprofits, for example, send donors a direct mailer with a DVD showcasing all the things the organization is doing with their funds.

Digital Pulp, the interactive marketing agency that has aided Make-A-Wish with its Web site development for the past four years, has built off of this idea and created a donor recognition platform that is more personal and has the ability to be ongoing. 

The Wishes Forever portal "gives donors a real-time connection to what their money is doing and builds on the promise of the Web in a way that not too many other organizations have done before," said Ron Fierman, president of Digital Pulp.

The portal, which has been rolling out over the past few weeks, is for donors who contribute more than $150,000 to a current endowment campaign. These donors will receive a username, password and URL from Make-A-Wish via e-mail, direct mail or telephone. 

Once on the site, donors see a video of kids who have recently had their wishes granted by the foundation, with the donor's name appearing inside the video. 

There are four main areas on the Web site donors can visit. These include a news section with recent wish stories and photos to highlight the direct benefit of a donor's gift. Another section of the site provides financial information about the foundation.

Rounding out the site, the "My Wishes" area shows all the wishes that the specific donor's money has created. And, there's a section for a donor's specific contribution information. 

Children who have had their wishes granted as well as anyone who is a part of the Make-A-Wish organization can also write thank you notes to donors and post them to their Web sites. 

For Make-A-Wish, the goal of the effort is to make donors "feel connected to the organization and feel really good about the gift that they made," said Elizabeth LaBorde, VP of development at the nonprofit. 

The site accomplishes this by taking donor recognition — something that tends to be institutional oriented, such as with a donor wall or an event at the institution — and making it more donor oriented, LaBorde continued.

"When you use the Internet in this way, it brings donor recognition into donors' homes, and they can experience the impact of that gift anytime, any where," she said. 

LaBorde added that Make-A-Wish expects users to share the Web site with friends and family. 

The site will be regularly updated with the intention of bringing donors back again and again. 

Digital Pulp custom-built the platform for the Wishes Forever so that it will be easy for Make-A-Wish to administrate the site.

"This wouldn't work if each time they wanted to personalize each mini-site, it took a huge effort, so we made sure the ability to personalize is quick and easy," said Gene Lewis, creative director at Digital Pulp.


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