Creating a path to web pages using e-mail messages

Like you I receive a lot of wonderful and funny email messages forwarded by family and friends. The one below caused me to pause and uncover a very very effective internet marketing technique! Here’s my response:

Yes, the images and sentiments cause you to reflect on the important things in life (pixiesplace.com/trainride/). Thanks for sending it to me. As a web designer I’ve done a few guest books and am interested in marketing approaches. So when I found a guest book reference at the end of the slide show I took a peek and was amazed at the ‘hits’ of over 2000 pages of comments in a few weeks. Shows the power of people forwarding an email to all of their friends!

The author points to a page where you can make online donations to the National Autism Association and I got suspicious since it is on a subpage of a generic website called FirstGiving which allows anyone to set up a page to collect donations for charities. I’ve donated to personal fundraising campaigns where the donor pages are part of the charity itself. But it seems everything may be on the up and up since the Autism charity recommended going to the other webpage to set up a donation collection page which they don’t do on their site — although suspicious that I am I did see the pixie train ride page on the Autism site (part of their shopping cart!), but didn’t question it any further!

My only caution is the 7.35% fee (taken out of your donation) — goes to FirstGiving (www.firstgiving.com). Why bother when you can go directly to the charity itself for a single donation (www.nationalautismassociaton.org) and get a valid tax deduction confirmation?

Here’s an excerpt from the website where the donation page was setup
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Does it cost anything to make a donation?
No, Firstgivingā€™s services are free for fundraisers and donors. Firstgiving takes a fee of 7.35% of each online donation. This percentage is a summary of credit card processing, hosting, security, administrative, service, etc. fees.

What form of payment can I use to make a donation?

You can make a donation using a MasterCard or VISA charge card.

How do I make a donation via personal check?

If you prefer to make an offline donation, please contact the fundraiser first. They may prefer to have checks sent directly to them, so that they can track donations. Also, they might need to write certain information (e.g. their name or the event name) in the memo line.

Can I get a receipt of my donation?

Once your donation has processed, you will receive an e-mail titled Donation Acknowledgement. You can print this e-mail for your records.

However, please note that Firstgiving is not an accounting, taxation or financial advisor, and you should not rely on information given on this site to determine the accounting, tax or financial consequences of making donations to charity. We strongly recommend that you consult your own advisor/s about any accounting, taxation or financial consequences that may affect you.

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What do you think about this topic??? (click ‘comments’ below to respond, then select Anonymous or Name/URL to identify yourself.)


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