Online fundraising is the new kid on the block but is already proving to be a winning choice for NGOs.
In a country like ours, it is commendable that we have approximately 32 lakh non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working towards the betterment of the nation. This means that there are a significant number of Indian citizens who were spurred enough by our nation’s social and political issues to form an association that works doggedly towards resolving them.
It is unsurprising that a majority of these NGOs – approximately 59% – are located in rural areas, working towards providing the very basic fundamentals necessary for life (running water, electricity, sanitation etc.). Of course, these are not the only issues rural NGOs deal with. Issues related to women, children, education, health, the disabled, elderly, housing etc. are also focused on.
According to a survey conducted in 2012, 41% of NGOs in India work in social services towards children, women, the disabled, the elderly and others, 19% work in education and research, 5% in development and housing, 2% in health, 1% in the field of environment protection and so on.
Of course, one NGO may have more than one area of focus. Such as Smile Foundation, an NGO that works for education, healthcare and livelihood preparedness for women and children. Or the NGO Care India, whose area of focus is disaster preparedness and relief in addition to and in relation with issues faced by women and children.
Even with the effort our NGOs put into raising awareness and funds for several causes, it is an unfortunate truth that they are only able to raise Rs 41.5 crores, of which a sizeable portion gets whittled away in salaries, rent and various other operational expenses. Nearly 54% of the total funds raised are sourced from grants, while a mere 16.4% comes from donations.
To raise a significantly higher amount of funds, the traditional method of offline fundraising needs to be supplemented with online fundraising. The internet is a powerful beast and can be tamed to suit our requirements.
In fact, the most fundamental advice given to NGOs is related to creating a strong online presence. Smaller NGOs are often advised to follow the basic tenets of success – to ensure that their website is mobile-optimised, that they begin sending out periodic e-newsletters, that they begin to accept donations online, that they create a Facebook page for their NGO and that they observe the online fundraising methods and social media campaigns of larger, established NGOs.
This is because online fundraising may be young, but it is growing exponentially each year. Yes, offline fundraising does provide a substantial 90% to online fundraising’s 10%. But the latter has grown leaps and bounds in its few years of existence and continues to do so.
The online realm offers some distinct advantages over the traditional offline methods of fundraising. Online fundraising gives NGOs the promise of longevity in terms of donors. It makes sourcing newer donors and sustaining their support easier for NGOs.
With the 2012 Bain study showing that the younger demographic (under 30) has a strong inclination to give back to their community and tends to make a large first donation online, with a sustained habit of giving, online fundraising is the cool kid on the block that’s quickly beginning to rule the fundraising roost. It is a fact that online donors give more and continue to give over a longer period of time as compared to offline donors. Our advice to NGOs large and small – if you haven’t dug into the online fundraising pie yet, help yourself today! You are guaranteed some sweet, sweet fundraising dessert.