Online Fundraising: The latest on what's trending, and what's on the horizon

By Dr Steve Francis, Frontstream Asia Pacific

"Make things people want, don't make people want things. If you do this, people will market it for you."

Facebook. It's leading the way.

Something everyone wants to do is use Facebook. According to the inaugural 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report*, 94 per cent of charities around the world host a Facebook page for their cause, the same number as those who have a website!

The elevation of Facebook and its clear domination of social media has made it the reference point for online behaviour. Facebook has been watching us too in an effort to create better pathways for their online community.

Facebook has introduced the Donate Now button for Pages and Link Ads available to not-for-profits around the world. The company also launched a fundraising campaign in the wake of the Nepal earthquake in 2015, raising $15.5million from the public to benefit International Medical Corps relief effort on the ground. Facebook then donated an extra $2 million to Give2Asia helping local organisations in Nepal support and rebuild their communities. This natural disaster response was a first for them as they offered transparency on how much was raised, where it was going and then reported back on immediate and projected impact.

Cementing their commitment to positively harness the potential of the Facebook community, in September 2015, Facebook announced the launch of their 'Social Good Team'. We have already seen evidence of theis after the recent Paris terrorist attacks, when the safety check function was activated so Facebook users could see when their friends 'checked in' as 'sage' in the disaster zone.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

All of this activity is Facebook's response to the evolving potential of the platform and its enormous community. In this context, what can not-for-profits do on Facebook to enhance their brand communication and influence their fundraising campaigns? It's an exciting and evolving practice.

A great example is the rise in digital peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Peer-to-peer campaigns have flourished on digital and social platforms in the last ten years. More people are getting behind the work of charities to raise money, usually through completing a personal challenge like a trek, a fast or shaving their hair (a nod to our opening quote: make something people want).

Donations are raised when a fundraiser taps into their personal social network and asks for donations to their challenge all the while offering some insight into where the money will go. This is how a supporter can be converted to becoming a valuable fundraiser for your organisation as well. People are more likely to donate to a charity when asked by their friends and family, this endorsement quickly bypasses the credibility risk resulting in a double reward for the individual fundraiser and the charity.

Our client data at FrontStream suggests that up to 55% of peer-to-peer campaign donors are new to the charity, and we know that collecting new donors is a critical KPI for growth in any not-for-profit. Concurrently, social media platforms, like Facebook, depend on users to create personal and engaging content so everyone can stay online for longer. As a result, peer-to-peer fundraising has flourished in a period of digital and social revolution.

What does the data tell us?

Our FrontStream data tells us that the average online donation is $50. Fundraisers collect more money for charities with less effort plus one in four fundraisers repeat the campaign each year. We've also learned from our clients that donors are influenced by previous donations. So encourage your peer-to-peer participants to be the first donor to their fundraising, and make it a big donation. Most campaigns also collect new 'likes' and followers along the way, and this can be a first contact with a potential new recurring donor or advocate for your charity.

Fundraisers are your cause ambassadors and advocators. Essentially peer-to-peer fundraisers are more engaged than traditional donors.

The growth in Corporate Social Responsibility

Something to watch is the growth in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the emerging trend towards digital wallet, and other tools to generate donations by asking customers to 'round up' their purchase as a donation to a chosen charity. This is happening in-store, and online. Apple Pay is a good example., and other crowdsourcing ideas such as are now trending in the United States. We also predict a growth is workplace giving in line with an increased trend in CSR, something we support strongly for our clients and the long-term prosperity of the global community.

Exciting times are ahead with more opportunities to connect online with world changing donors.

*See 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report at

Dr Steve Francis is the Managing Director Asia Pacific of FrontStream. Contact Steve on or visit

Online Fundraising: The latest on what's trending, and what's on the horizon



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