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Charity redesigns Web site to boost donations

Executives of the non-profit hope that by adding more features to their Web site, they’ll be able to boost online donation levels by five percent over the next two years, said Allan Wilson, director of development and planned giving for the camp.

Since the non-profit — which has its administrative offices in New Haven — began accepting online donations last year, it has raised $14,000 via the Internet, Wilson said. But that is a small amount for a charity that raised $5 million last year.

"We hope this will help people get to know us better and at the same time support our mission," Wilson said at a luncheon Tuesday celebrating the launch of the new Web site.

The Hole in the Wall Gang camp — founded 15 years ago by actor Paul Newman and others — is located in Ashford and serves children with cancer and other serious blood diseases.

The new Web site — designed by Meriden-based Web Solutions — allows visitors to have a 360-degree view of 15 key locations at the camp.

"It allows children and their families to familiarize themselves with the camp," said Thomas Barton, president of Web Solutions, which donated over 50 percent of the costs of developing the new Web site to the non-profit.

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is looking to boost individual donations, Wilson said, because the nation’s economic troubles have dramatically decreased financial donations from corporations.

Corporate giving to the non-profit is down 30 percent so far this year, he said, while individual giving has risen as much as 39 percent over the same period.

The fund-raising goal for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp this year is $4.6 million, Wilson said.

Last year, the non-profit had the same goal and raised $5 million, he said.

Online donations are a growing trend in the non-profit world and Wilson said camp officials are looking to take advantage of the trend.

A Harvard University study, for example, reported that about $10 million was contributed online in 1999. That number jumped to $250 million in 2000.

By 2010, the study estimates, one-third of all the money donated in the U.S. will come via online contributions. That amounts to about $64 billion in current dollars.

Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register Business Editor