In these days of straitened budgets, few people welcome the sight of a High Street filled with an over-aggressive army of charity collectors. Fortunately, innovation in the digital and social media sectors is helping charities to raise money in other ways.
Givey, launched almost a year ago alongside the Government’s Giving White Paper, allows people to give to charities using SMS and Twitter. Hundreds of charities have signed up to the scheme which provides them with a ‘Givey Tag’ that doubles up as a Twitter and SMS hashtag.
Donors sign up to Givey and link it to their PayPal account. Then they simply key in the amount they want to give and who they want to give it to and the money is then collected through that account. The donor they receives a return Tweet or SMS thanking them for their donation.
Other charities significantly older than Givey are also using social media to appeal to their audience and new donors. Animal welfare charity the RSPCA was formed in 1824 and is funded entirely by donations.
It recently launched its AnimalNation Facebook ‘pledge’ app over the weekend of April 28-29th to kick off RSPCA Week that aims to raise awareness of animal welfare.
During the campaign the RSPCA gave people the opportunity to publicly show their support for the RSPCA’s five key animal welfare pledges via the charity’s Facebook page.
Supporters had the opportunity to explore sensitive and priority issues such as animal euthanasia, animals used for experiments, welfare standards for farm animals and responsible pet ownership.
Moreover they could ask questions via Facebook to Gavin Grant, the company’s CEO, and talk to RSPCA staff in locations as remote as Malawi. This campaign was also backed up by the ubiquitous Twitter hashtag as well as content on YouTube.
Social media in the charity sector is also giving rise to a new trend that is unlikely appeal to over-excited chuggers and that is ‘slacktivism’. This that requires little effort but can be very effective if the so-called slacktivist tweets, signs petitions and shares charity concerns across Twitter and Facebook. According to the agency behind the RSPCA campaign this was a particularly key element in the creation of the AnimalNation app.
Other companies are using videogames to connect charities with potential audiences. PlayMob has done this by in-game virtual goods. Each time a virtual good with a charity connection is purchased, a donation is collected for the charity.
It costs nothing for charities to sign up to the GiverBoard platform, with a revenue share on each transaction between the charity and developer, with a small admin fee going to PlayMob.
As these virtual goods cost almost nothing to create, PlayMob is apparently working with developers to channel some of this revenue back to real world causes. The company works with another Facebook game Magicats where virtual cats help to raise funds for Flora Internationals’ Big Cats projects in South America.
Last and not least, major clothing brand Diesel recently teamed up with the Dubit platform to launch its Only The Brave Foundation.
After flying to Mali the companies produced an online virtual 3D Malian village to ‘enhance the effectiveness of marketing activities and real-life interaction with the village’… and obviously to raise the profile of the Foundation.
So while these are tough times for charities, there is nothing like necessity being the mother of invention. It would appear social media is certainly helping that invention and may completely transform the way we give to charity, although for now don’t ignore that collection tin, charities need us more than ever.