In June 2009, I set up a website for Little Academy Faye's School in Swaziland [South Africa].
The website has not been pulling in donations like the owners of the school expected, so one of the owners sent me an email and complained...

Hi Peter,
About the website have you been having some second thoughts the reason why I am asking I have sent you a lot of things to write about and have not seen any changes and not only that there is no place that on the contact page saying they can donate to my sisters address in the states even if they mail a check to her in the schools name.
As I said before I don’t write much e-mails to add the website on them and it is only to friends and family which is not many. I am really thinking of closing the website down for I have not many connections in the states any way and since I cannot get a 501c3 it is useless in my opinion.

Here's my answer.

Dear Russ,
Websites are not magic, and they do not function well without a lot of effort..
We host websites for two not-for-profits and here is how they promote themselves.

My friend Matt owns and operates Volunteer Peten in a remote part of Guatamala surrounded by Mayan ruins.
Volunteer Peten is an ecological tourist destination, has a spanish-as-a-second-language school, and is a favorite destination for visiting groups that focus on helping third world countries; for example by building a library for the local children, or by planting trees, or by teaching in Matt's ecological school.
He has a support system in the United States that has spent considerable time setting up a 501c3 for him and collects all his donations. His support system has also written several successful grant applications. Matt spends several weeks a year in the US speaking to groups, appearing on television interview shows, and setting up an email campaign targeted to groups that are likely to donate funds and/or visit him. Matt's website has about 5000 visitors[potential clients] per month.

My friend Wayne is an evangelist.
His Let's Talk About Jesus daily one hour radio showis heard live in the Boston-Washington corridor six days a week.
His radio show is also streamed live on the internet world-wide, and is archived so people can hear the show later in the day if they missed it.
His archived show/podcast gets about 4000 listener hours a month. His show is also available on iTunes for downloading.
On average, he devotes a one hour show every week asking for donations.
He holds 3 weekend events a year that attract 200-300 people. He is a frequent guest preacher at churches on the east coast.
He has an extensive mailing list for literature. He provides books and recorded messages for a donation to his ministry.
He has been doing this for 33 years.

So the key to a successful not-for-profit seems to be a good support group and a LOT of time promoting yourself.
What's your plan?


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