Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NPO Marketing in Ireland

I'm about to visit Ireland for some much needed vacation time - so I wondered what Irish charities were up to - what do Irish charity sites look like? I wondered what events do manage and if they have e-mail newsletters, donate now buttons and affiliate shopping sites...

It's always fun to look at how different cultures do similar activities like fundraising, charity and especially marketing and advertising. I grabbed a random sample of Irish charities to see if I could learn anything!

The Irish Cancer Society

They have a full featured web site with a ton of cancer content. I love how they feature iconic buttons on the right - the first one being "Just Diagnosed." The home page features a poll, news and key stories. Their daffodil day fundraising program raised 3.3 million euros - love this bit from the press release:

"the Society made a heart felt plea to the public through the national and local media to come out and dig deep into their pockets and the public responded in force"
Like LLS's site - there is just too much there - it's overwhelming. They are have a mechandise shop and are selling all sorts of merchandise, including wristbands (ack!).

Irish Multiple Sclerosis Society

Awkward layout with rollovers makes this a hard site to dig into - and unlike the Irish Cancer Society this site feels a bit empty. After digging a bit, I found their "Fundraising section" - which features donations, marathons, MS Swimming, a readathon and christmas cards. I didn't read the annual report, but I do not think that the society is very big in terms of funds raised, for example the swim event raised only 11,000 euros last year.

I was encouraged by the readathon in terms of looking for a unique, new fundraising concept, but I'm not sure this is it... still can't figure out from the site how they raise money other than through sponsorships.

Finally, the walk program shows some novelty in that their walks are to places like Peru and Tanzania - but I'm left wondering how it works - I assume partipants have to raise significant funds to go on the trip (like Team In Training), but the site offers no online registration, requirements or any other information!

Barnados: the leading Irish Children's charity
The site is very modern/slick looking and features a ton of great content and information. Like many American charities, they have jumped on personal page fundraising and even feature a "Sponsor Me" link on the homepage. This site feels very familiar, there isn't much here that many/all US charities are doing - I couldn't find any really unique things.

The one thing I didn't see in any of these three sites was any community at all - no message boards or blogs - nothing! I'm a bit surprised, only because basic message boards have been around so long.

I've never been to Ireland - can't wait to get there and out of the office!


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