While NPS is prohibited from directly soliciting funds in person, parks are permitted to "develop lists of programs, projects or activities that NPS could undertake with donated support." Director's Order #21, Section 5.1 states that parks may provide information regarding their ability to accept donations in support of their programs, describe to the public and potential donors NPS needs, how donations will be used, and provide a sense of urgency to those projects.
Park Web pages can also describe the important role that philanthropy continues to play in their park and they can link the viewer to park partner Web sites. Park Web sites can provide instructions regarding how a person can make a gift to the park/National Park Service but cannot process donations on-line. Park partner Web sites can process electronic donations to them - park partner accounts are interest bearing which NPS accounts are not.
Most park Web sites include a "Support Your Park" page that link to partner Web sites which provide opportunities to make electronic donations. Linkages to partner Web sites are allowed provided that they conform to Departmental information technology management and security policies, and are authorized by written agreement between the park and partner, as described in Director's Order #21, Section 6.3.2
“Support Your Park” pages can explain park needs, how donated funds are used to help complete their mission, highlight volunteer contributions and internship opportunities, and include information about, and links to, their park friends groups and cooperating association.
Linking to a partner Web site can be done by clicking on their posted logo which are permitted on NPS Internet sites if an approved fundraising relationship or formal acceptance of a donation has been established. Most park Web sites also have a link to the National Park Foundation Web site.
When considering the design of a "Support Your Park" page, parks may also want to include:
- list of park projects and programs in need of support;
- list of projects funded through donations;
- Information on park friends groups and other key park partners, including their mission statement and information on how to become a member (perhaps including a "Join Our Friends Group" link);
- Information on other in-park support group opportunities such as bringing a friend or school group to a park or buying a book or souvenir in the bookstore.
- Links to VIP programs, online bookstore and membership page.
Parks may recognize donors on their Web sites by including a page that functions as a donor recognition board, where name plates or other markers honoring donors can be added and updated with ease, according to Director's Order #21, sections 10.1 and 10.2.3. Parks that include a donor recognition board on their Web site should establish the minimum thresholds for recognition and duration. The period of recognition should be commensurate with the level of the gift and life cycle of the campaign.
The following "Support Your Park" pages below are notable examples of effective and engaging Web sites at various parks.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Gettysburg National Military Park
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Yellowstone National Park