I recently spoke at a conference about internet fundraising for non-profit organizations and political candidates (they're really non-profit, aren't they?).
The key point I stressed was that while you need to ask for donations aggressively, keep in mind that you also want to engage the visitor to your site and build a relationship with them. It's Marketing 101, all over again. In a relationship scenario, your visitor may keep coming back, and they make keep making donations, over and over. And, they may even form up your grassroots, get-the-work-done volunteers.
That's crucial, because while it's satisfying to donate to organizations or candidates that suit your interests, it's even more satisfying to see them succeed. Money's a big part of that, but so are the actions of the volunteers who vote, recruit other supporters, contact decision-makers, and more.
We just ran a campaign for a political organization on one of our Intermarkets Portfolio sites. The ads generated in some instances >1% CTR, and generated tremendous amounts of donations. This level of engagement can be extended beyond just a single election cycle or issue to be advocated. It can be transformed into a commitment by the visitor to be an engaged member, making an impact, and in turn, producing self-actualization benefits that no "Thank you" card in the mail could ever achieve.
Greetings from South Carolina,