Giving to MU Extension made easy: our Giving Web Pages and online giving form

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Online giving is the fastest growing mode of making donations — especially for tech-savvy people, such as those who have grown up with electronic banking and social media as the norm. University of Missouri Extension is committed to making it as easy as possible for donors to give, whether in person, by mail or via the Internet. To that end, we have developed an easy-to-use online giving form, enhanced the Giving pages on the main extension website and created a Donate page for each county.

The Giving Web pages

To simplify the online giving process, our Giving Web pages include a list of several options for how to make a donation and a brief description
of many of the funds to which donors can give. The main Giving page also features stories about donors and how MU Extension has used donated funds to advance the mission. The Giving page is located at http://extension.missouri.edu/main/giving  and can be accessed from a link in the footer of MU Extension Web pages.

A Donate page has also been created for the county websites. Each county’s Donate page is customized to include links directly to its gift and endowment funds on the online giving form. These links are generated automatically for existing accounts. Counties can further customize their page by using WebTool to add information about their goals for each fund (see Customize your county Donate page). The county Donate page can be accessed by clicking the Donate link in the left-hand navigation on any county website.

The online giving form

In October 2013, giving to MU Extension online became much easier. A new online giving form was designed specifically for donations to MU Extension. Located at https://donatetomu.missouri.edu/extension, it can be accessed from any of the pages described above. This form allows donors to select from among MU Extension’s strategic initiatives, several statewide endowments, and county gift and endowment funds. The form and the Direct Your Donation page on the MU Extension website both provide brief descriptions of the strategic initiatives and statewide endowments that are listed on the form.

During one transaction, donors can give to multiple funds. In addition, donations may be made in someone’s honor or memory. A donor will need to use a credit card to make an online donation. The form and the giving pages include instructions for giving by phone or mail for people who prefer not to give online.

Donations made using this online form are processed via a secure Web server. Using this new form, donors can easily navigate to the specific MU Extension fund to which they want to contribute. This online form also has the following strengths:

  • The online giving form was cooperatively designed by MU Advancement and MU Extension specifically for MU Extension.
  • Donors can give to MU Extension funds in fewer clicks and with more assurance than before.
  • The form is quick and easy for donors to use.
  • The form features options for donating to county gift and endowment funds.
  • The website is available to donors 24/7.

The form takes online donors through the giving process step by step. First, they select a fund. Next, they indicate the amount of their gift and can add special instructions, such as tribute information. Then they view their cart and either choose to add another gift or check out. If they choose to add another gift, they are taken back to the first screen. After they have added all their gifts and are ready to check out, they are taken to the payment screen, where they enter their credit card and contact information. On the final screen, they review and complete the transaction.

Immediately upon completion of the transaction, the donor, MU Advancement, and the MU Extension directors of development and donor education receive email confirmations. Shortly thereafter, thank-you notes are mailed to the donor and notifications are sent to honorees or their families.

If you would like to see for yourself how well the online giving form works, there’s no better way than going online and testing it by making a donation to the fund of your choice.

Establishing county gift and endowment fund

The online giving form lists all the established county gift and endowment funds. If a county is missing from one or both lists, the county program director or extension council can contact Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education, for information on how to establish funds that meet their goals. Note that having development goals in the county extension council’s business plan is an important step when establishing funds.

Customize your county Donate page

Boost your county’s online donations by adding details about the plans for donated funds to the county’s online Donate page. If your county does not already have development goals in its business plan, now is the time to establish them. Donors want to be assured that their money will be well spent.

To customize your county’s Donate page, select the Donate page from your specialty pages menu in WebTool. In the box below the link to a fund, write a compelling explanation of your goals for the fund. See the following examples for ideas on how to describe your goals.

  • Endowment fund example
    The ________ County Extension Council wants to ensure that MU Extension in ________ County can continue to be responsive to the changing needs of its residents for generations to come. To that end, the council has set the goal of building its endowment fund to $100,000. Upon reaching that goal, the fund will generate $4,500 a year to be used to address the emerging educational needs of ________ Countians. Your donation to the fund is a long-term investment in ________ County's future.
  • Gift fund example
    In early 2013 the ________ County Extension Council decided to improve the kitchen facilities at the extension center so that our food and nutrition specialists can teach more workshops on topics such as food preservation, food safety, and cooking quick healthy meals and low-sodium meals. Our goal is to have $15,000 in the ________ County Gift Fund by December 2014 in order to replace the appliances, sink and countertops in our demonstration kitchen. Your donation can help us reach that goal.

For help with WebTool, contact Kate Akers at AkersK@umsystem.edu. For information on establishing development goals or editorial help describing your goals on your county’s Donate page, contact Cynthia Crawford, director of donor education, at CrawfordC@missouri.edu.