What can charities learn from direct-giving platforms?
It’s a tough time to fundraise. Alongside challenging economic conditions and falling trust from the public, charities have to contend with a break-neck speed of new ways to donate. Tried and tested fundraising methods like direct mail, street fundraising and phone call donations are being called into question with donors now becoming used to a more modern way of interacting with organisations. Arguably, these traditional fundraising methods are becoming less and less relevant, which means that charities have to adapt to changing donor behaviours to keep the donations rolling in. One of the biggest developments in recent years that is threatening the coffers of charities is the rise of direct-donation platforms.
We’ve outlined what direct-donation platforms are, and how charities can learn from them to make the break from traditional fundraising methods.
What are direct-donation platforms?
Have you ever been scrolling on Facebook to see a post from a friend raising money for a specific cause? Maybe they’re trying to get the cash together to fund medical treatment for a relative, or save enough money to put them through university. Either way, requests like these have been made possible through the emergence of direct-donation platforms.
These online platforms allow individuals to start their own fundraising campaign, for whatever cause they want – all in a matter of clicks They simply set a fundraising objective, publicise it, and cross their fingers. This new way of fundraising has proved wildly successful. The most popular charity donation website, GoFundMe, has raised in excess of $9 billion since it was founded 10 years ago for causes as diverse as cancer treatment to community art projects.
The appeal of these fundraising websites lies in the fact that people know exactly how their money will be spent. With larger charities, you often don’t know where your donation is going and how much of an impact your gift will be.
If you can’t beat them, join them
It’s a well-known fact that charities need to better utilise available technology if they want to keep donations coming in. The huge potential tech offers the charitable sector is evident from the business world – 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase using their smartphone in the past 6 months.
Jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon can include using direct-donation platforms for some charities. A number of platforms, including GoFundMe and JustGiving, have services specifically tailored for charities. For small charities looking to start fundraising campaigns, these platforms help you build your charity brand online, and more clearly demonstrate where donations will go. In this way, a charity donation website can be a great starting point for many organisations. Charities like Unicef, MacMillian, and Cancer Research UK already utilise them to maximise fundraising over social media – capitalising on the trend in the UK whereby people give more, but less regularly.
Going digital can also help charities to better understand donor behavior and tailor their fundraising strategies accordingly. Most direct-donation platforms include useful tools that interpret data gathered online – this includes things like donation patterns and demographics. All this information is incredibly useful to charities – our own GoodBox Portal has helped many organisations to track and analyse donations received, and refine their plans going forward.
Make decisions locally
Another lesson charities can learn from the success of direct-donation platforms is how to better connect their donors with where the money is being spent. Donors care about causes, but they also want to know that their donation has an impact. In larger charities, decisions on fundraising strategies are often made a long way from the end beneficiaries . With direct-donation platforms, on the other hand, charities are often cut out – leaving the donor to interact directly with the recipient.
This idea of distance is important. Not only is it a factor in how much people trust who they’re donating to, but it can also influence how efficiently a donation will be used. The longer the decision chain is, the less likely the decision-makers will understand the real needs of the recipient.
The benefits of reducing this distance are becoming more obvious across various sectors, particularly that of public administration. In a project headed up the Centre for Public Impact, for instance, Wigan council managed to deal with a 40% cut in their budget whilst improving on their services to local residents by transferring more decision-making powers down the chain. Are there lessons to be learnt here for the aid sector? We think so.
Is moving online the only option?
Charities can undoubtedly boost their donation revenues by using the web more effectively. Face-to-face fundraising is still hugely important, however, and can be enhanced by employing the right tech. GoodBox’s tap-to-give technology can be taken to the street or any fundraising event, and makes it easy for people to pay using their contactless cards. The Ruth Strauss Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy UK are just a couple of the organisations benefiting from our cashless systems at fundraising drives, and seeing their donations grow as a result.
Raising funds for your mission can be difficult at the best of times, not least when you’re competing with thousands of other worthy causes online. We believe that charities must move with the times to keep donations coming in. We’re here to help charities and non-profits adapt to the latest technologies and platforms and modernise how they fundraise.
Modernising means more than taking your fundraising campaign online. Think of the last time you had some spare change knocking around your pocket – it was probably a few years ago. Increasingly, people’s wallets, pockets, and purses are filled with cards and phones rather than cash and coins. GoodBox offers fully-customisable contactless fundraising technology that allows supporters to pay using their cards and phones. No more scrambling around for a few spare coppers. We’re helping charities across the UK keep up-to-date and safeguard their donation income – just take a look at how the Church of England has benefitted.