Digital acceleration in NGO fundraising


Digital acceleration in NGO fundraising – 5 useful technologies for fundraisers

Over the last 12 months the NGO sector has embraced technologies with a new urgency as a key way of raising funds in difficult times.  Existing technologies have improved whilst new ideas have burst onto the scene.  Despite the challenges, it is an exciting time to be an NGO fundraiser.  Here are some of the most popular technologies for you to try out:

Contactless devices

NGOs had been slowly investigating contactless giving over the years but there has been a recent surge of new options for everyone including large NGOs and smaller faith groups or sports clubs. 

Being able to give without touching is a rapid, easy and hygienic option which many NGO supporters are now looking for.  Some of the players in this field include

  • The Clip from TapSimple: a pocket-size device that pairs with your smartphone
  • “Thyngs”: can turn any physical object into a digital collection point for example wristbands, collection buckets or mascots
  • Good Box Podium:  a free-standing unit with a screen to add information about the charity, where supporters can use contactless to donate.  Ideal for larger venues such as schools, sports venues, libraries or museums.  There is also a “Good Plate” option for use in religious services.
  • QR codes:  these codes have made a come-back in recent times and are popular because of their touch free technology.  Charities can place QR codes on resources as well as physical assets such as a shop window

Text to Give

Although this technology has been around for a while, NGOs have seen a big increase in donations via text to give in recent months using a variety of operators including Donr, DONATE or Snowball. 

Text to Give is a popular choice for NGOs running virtual online fundraising events, they simply display the Text to Give number and code word on the screen throughout the event and supporters can donate while they listen.

Hand held devices for data collection in the field

Technology has enabled international NGOs to improve their needs assessment and data collection methods, accuracy and speed through the use of hand held devices in the field. 

Replacing the need for paper-based questionnaires filled in by hand and then inputted into a computer back in the office, hand held devices allow field staff to input and save questionnaire responses live, as they talk to beneficiaries and data is automatically saved. 

The devices have a long battery life and do not usually require internet connection at the time of the survey – all the data is automatically uploaded when the device is back at the office.

Online fundraising events

Technology has also enabled NGO fundraisers to start delivering online events instead of face to face activities.  Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Live provide an interactive space to host fundraising quizzes, gala dinners, concerts, comedy events and book launches. 

In some cases online event attendance has been higher and more inclusive than for in person events, where supporters’ ability to attend is often restricted by cost, travel time or access facilities for people with disabilities.  The ability to share the recording of a live event via You Tube afterwards means NGOs can further increase and track the number of attendees for each event.

Gaming for Good

NGOs have been slow to embrace the world of gaming but now many are seeing the potential for fundraising through video gaming, which enables them to reach new supporters of a younger demographic.

A popular way to raise funds is for a supporter to livestream their gaming marathon -  they set an amount of time that they want to play (alone or with friends) and ask supporters to sponsor them for each hour played.  Most gamers stream the gaming session through the platform Twitch.  One of the benefits is that the NGO can gain supporters across the world and raise awareness of their work at the same time.

Another option is to hold a Gaming for Good tournament.  Supporters choose a game, challenge their friends to a tournament and the best player wins!  Everyone participating pays a small entry fee or makes a donation to the NGO.

Get testing

As NGOs get up to speed with digital fundraising it is encouraging to think that technology can help organisations reach a wider audience and create fun events to raise the profile of their work and bring in vital donations.  Enjoy testing out these new ideas!



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