• Charity digitization: better things can be done

  • Charity fundraising is at risk of being left behind as the world’s attention shifts to internet activity. Taking cues from the COVID-19 pandemic trends and new payment technology, on the other hand, could open openings.

    The change will happen whether you are ready or not, but being prepared means you will be able to seize the chance. The past year has radically increased the pace of digital transition – granted, personal interaction was already going online, and contactless payments were gradually replacing cash, but the epidemic pushed the world quicker and farther than anyone predicted. This raises unique problems for the charity sector, as well as some interesting opportunities.

    Bring the word to the people

    The pandemic has severely restricted charity activities and street fundraising, two main traditional revenue streams. However, the lockout has unleashed some inspiring innovative thinking, such as the 2.6 Challenge, in which sports and fundraising organizations invited the people to create their own private challenges to fill the void left by the London Marathon. The genius of such personal fundraising initiatives is that they are, well, personal.

    Consider Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than 32 million euros ($44 million) by simply pacing around his lawn! This demonstrates quite starkly how an individual effort may generate significantly greater interest than, say, a marathon team: Supporters are inspired when they can see the motivation behind each challenge. It all comes down to storytelling and genuineness. To stand out among a slew of concerns competing for public attention, and to re-establish the path to positive feelings of donating, it’s critical to emphasize the “why” — make it personal, keep it relatable.

    While large occasions like this capture people’s attention and generate a flow of impulsive donations, charities rely on repeat donations and peer-to-peer fundraising to stay afloat. Organizations must turn one-time contributors into engaged supporters who are committed to spreading their message.

    Because of the power of storytelling, online fundraising can be very effective at this task. According to studies, 57% of people who see a fundraising video make a donation but wonder how much more might be done. A charity or activist website can serve as a forum for both helpers and those who are helped to communicate their experiences, motives, and the impact of their actions. How may individual internet efforts contribute to larger-scale change? How might online social tools help to foster community? And how do we organize a demographic that no longer believes established groups will do the right thing once the donations are made, or that believes the agenda should be dictated only by the largest donors?

    Transparency and accountability are becoming increasingly important in all facets of life. The same is true for social causes: Young people want to know that they have an impact. Show them a track record of effective action combined with appropriate management, and they will help you spread the message. Explain what resources are required, as well as how they will and have been used. Groups that use social networks and universal tools that are simple to use and comprehend will be in the greatest position to gain the trust and loyalty of the current generation.

    Embedded payments open up additional possibilities.

    Let’s go into the nitty gritty of payments. The actual process of making an internet donation might be difficult. Donors are normally required to fill out a thorough form, including their name and multiple methods of contact, before proceeding to the payment details. A moment of generosity and genuine willingness to contribute may turn sour when more and more demands are made on people who believe their personal information is being stored in a database.

    Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly simplify this phase. Wouldn’t you expect a charity website to build a micropayment layer that allowed donors to contribute any amount with the click of a button — no forms to fill out, no personal data to give up — to unleash goodwill, let alone giving? This is a distinct possibility. Once the technology is widely used, it will not only make online donations easier, but it will also pave the way for intriguing new forms of fundraising.

    Do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Donations from that social media phenomenon totaled $115 million, allowing the recipient, the ALS Association, to nearly treble its financing for illness research. During the lockdown, TikTok and Instagram challenge spread like wildfire, while few were associated with a specific cause. Consider what could be accomplished if you could build a viral social media challenge that harnessed that energy, linked it to meaningful action, and placed the contribution method directly in the posts made. If viewers were encouraged to donate a few pennies to watch the video and another few pence to share their own, viral marketing may do more than just spreading awareness.

    The trivia game Freerice has collected approximately $1.4 million (through advertising) for the United Nations World Food Program – it works because players are attracted not only by the addictive nature of the simple game but also by a sense of doing good. Making giving simple through an embedded, decentralized micropayment system might be used to pool tiny gifts to fund a variety of good, transparent, and productive initiatives. One could even conceive a free market for information that directs donations to the most important initiatives.

    What do you have to offer?

    To increase their revenue, fundraisers must think creatively about marketing. It is essential to solicit donations in a variety of methods across numerous platforms. However, remember the bake sale principle: what can you give in order to get?

    Any charity organization is likely to have specialized knowledge. That is a worthwhile product if it can use it to develop an online course or e-book or to deliver professional lectures. Because online contributors tend to donate less, fundraisers must work harder to cultivate them and provide many channels for donation. Another alternative is to hold online or hybrid fundraising events, which are less dangerous than traditional fundraising events (which are susceptible to weather and other uncontrollable circumstances) and have a wider reach. Embedded payments enable us to provide this added value in a frictionless manner, without jeopardizing data security or incurring any more costs in payment processing contracts.

    Concentrate on the next generation

    Remember, above all, that younger donors are more inclined to engage with online content and products – and younger contributors can provide a lifetime of support. As a result, fundraisers must pay attention to young people’s internet conduct. We know that Generation Z is engaged online, particularly on mobile devices, and that outdated websites turn them off. Because social media is such an important part of their life, online community building is essential. They also rarely utilize cash.

    As cash payments become increasingly rare, tiny change donations have become extinct, possibly leaving more than just a financial void. Dropping a few coins in the charity jar near the till, or in the “take a penny, leave a penny” plate popular in various parts of the United States, created a sense of community. Could micropayments provide a means of recapturing the social and economic gains that resulted from the anonymous movement of small sums of money? And may they assist in engaging young people at a level that is comfortable for them, so opening the door to increased degrees of support in the future?

    In 2020, advances in remote networking may combine with upcoming payment technologies to create disruptive opportunities for nonprofits. We can now see that, far from being a poor alternative for in-person activities, online involvement may be extremely effective in and of itself. New digital payments could represent a similarly significant improvement over cash. It is now up to fundraisers to utilize what they have learned and create new models for the future.

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