Making the Most of New Fundraising Platforms

Persuading someone to make a donation to an initiative they will never directly benefit from is always a tough sell. Even if you manage to connect to the perfect audience with a compelling message that speaks to their heart and their head, you’re still more likely to get a Like than a dollar. To overcome these challenges many non-profits are turning to innovative platforms for fundraising.

When discussing innovative approaches to fundraising, certain campaigns immediately spring to mind – the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” for it’s ability to engage donors, UNICEF’s “Tap Project” for its elegant and effective donation mechanism – the list goes on. While these campaigns undoubtably deserve credit for threading the needle in today’s fundraising landscape, MISEREOR’s “SocialSwipe” is a lesser known example that arguably has more to teach us. If you have not yet heard about this campaign, drop what you are doing right now and watch this video:

To begin with, MISEREOR’s donation mechanism is ingenious. Starting with the premise that “small donations can make a big difference“, MISEREOR acknowledges that the donation process must be completely frictionless for the donor to donate a small amount. By speaking to the audience when they have time on their hands (in an airport waiting lounge), and making the donation as simple as swiping your credit card, the SocialSwipe instantly removes a major barrier to donation. That they do this again when converting one-time donors to monthly ongoing donors (by including the call to action in their Visa statement itself) is the cherry on top. In both of these examples, MISEREOR completely re-defines the given channel; from a airport billboard to a self-contained one-step donation platform… from a financial receipt to a monthly donation appeal.

While these technical innovations are impressive in their own right, the real heart of this campaign is its ability to create a connection between the donor and the recipient. Without this, even the easiest donation mechanism will not illicit donations. On the surface, the SocialSwipe just a couple of screens, simple videos, and fancy software that syncs it to to swipe. In effect however, it creates a magical experience for the donor – powerfully illustrating what their simple gesture has done.

Many non-profits try to explain the intricacies of how donations are used, imploring donors come to the rational decision to give. MISEREOR instead targets the real reason behind their donation; the emotional value. Cutting through the technical details, they let their donors viscerally experience the impact made in another person’s life. MISEREOR goes way beyond connecting a donation to a discrete outcome – they let you feel that outcome first hand. Beyond knowing you have provided food for a family in Peru, the SocialSwipe actually lets you act that out.

The SocialSwipe shows that innovation is more than just new delivery mechanisms or harnessing the power of new digital tools – it is about using these tools to truly connect with the audience.

– Neal Pedersen