Indian NGOs have come a long way in terms of raising funds for charitable causes. While most major Indian NGOs have a fairly good web presence since the past few years, GiveIndia and GuideStar India has emerged as mature online platforms that allow online donation, fundraising and linking potential donors to the correct charities.
Until recently, NGOs in India have had a tough time raising funds though traditional channels like personal appeals, expensive advertising banners, seeking famous brands mascots, hiring committed volunteers who can spread the message, holding events and so on.
But fundraising trends are now changing and NGOs in India are using social media to raise funds – Here is how…
Mint quotes an example of how a 23-year-old engineer working for Teach for India wanted to raise Rs. 50,000 for buying academic materials to teach his students. He simply set up a pledge on GiveIndia in 2011, posting details about the funds he wanted to raise. This pledge was a part of GiveIndia’s India Giving Challenge, a 6 week online fundraising event in which participating NGOs and corporates set up fundraising pages online, outlining their causes and goals. By utilizing the sharing option on Twitter, Facebook and GiveIndia’s own database, they reached out to friends, family, acquaintances, stakeholders, clients and donors to seek donations.
To facilitate and promote donations, GiveIndia gave out limited ‘matching’ grants, on a daily and weekly basis. Dhaval Udani, CEO of GiveIndia states that this event was amongst the first of its kind in India in terms of scale and its use of technology for fundraising. It also marks a shift from the traditional methods of ‘giving’ that have been used in India until now. He says,
Since this event started in 2009, it has nearly doubled the total funds generated and seen a substantial increase in terms of the number of participants. It further reported that Teach for India was one of the champion fundraisers only because of their effective use of Facebook, Twitter and other online social networking tools.
Udani stated that Teach for India utilized Facebook very well for the challenge. They went up from providing only 10 referrals to more than 1000 per day to the GiveIndia site.
“They know how social media works, they are on Facebook all the time and have managed to reach out to their friends and colleagues and raise a lot of money online just through that.” – Dhaval Udani, CEO of GiveIndia [Source]
On the other hand, Surf Excel celebrated the 2011 Joy of Giving week through a unique social media initiative by contributing products to NGOs, as the HUL website reported. Users were asked to visit the Surf Excel Facebook page. For every ‘Like’, Surf Excel donated Rs 11 worth of goods requirements to charity organizations around Mumbai.
Users could also go to the ‘Make a difference with Surf Excel’ section and invite friends or upload a badge on their profile picture to inadvertently promote the cause and display their support. HUL employees were personally involved in the distribution of goods to the NGOs generated through this unique form of social media fundraising. Images, videos and testimonials of their experience were posted back on the online Surf Excel community to maintain and increase traffic.
Similarly, many other Indian NGOs are using social media to leverage promotion and fundraising.
Here are a few interesting ways of using social media techniques to raise funds and promote awareness of charity campaigns. Some of these that Indian NGOs can start using are:
Active Twitter usage:
Some NGOs in India that use actively Twitter to promote their events are
Active Twitter usage helps in making donors believe that the NGO is consistently going something good.
Crowd Sourcing is a technique that allows customers, employees and stakeholders to supply ideas, designs and features for a business’ products or services. In India, The Joy of Giving Week has also been successful in using crowd sourcing for fundraising for other NGOs.
With the coming of age of coupon and deal sites like Snapdeal and Naaptol, they can become platforms for listing special vouchers and deals, the margin of which would be given as proceeds to NGOs. The popularity and large visibility of such sites can also help in promoting a charitable cause.
Instead of having generic open ended donation campaigns and volunteering initiatives, the use of social media pages can help NGOs to fix countdowns and limits for campaigns that can be tracked. Social media pages can help in reminding potential donors about a certain campaign in an interactive way, which can in turn, further last minute donations.
Although challenges such as having different local languages or inadequate access to Internet are still being dealt with by NGOs to use social media to raise funds, using mobile apps for charitable fundraising is the next thing to watch out for in India. Samhita, an online philanthropic platform for supporting other NGOs states that using apps to improve operations for NGOs working on specific community based projects has big potential.
Fundraising and online charity in India has come of age and Indian NGOs can and are using social media for a variety of objectives – from online promotions, recruiting volunteers, increasing campaign awareness to fundraising of course. More innovations in this area are awaited in the future.