Dec days of ’Best Of’ lists: We reflect on some of the most impactful digital advances of the decade that have influenced the charity sector - from fundraising to story-telling
As we gear up for the festive season, we are celebrating the Dec days of Christmas, as well as the best in digital achievement, with Dec days of ’Best Of’ lists. Covering everything related to the charity tech sector, join us every day for new ’Best Of’ lists.
Heading into the holidays, we reflect on some of the most impactful digital advances of the decade that have influenced the charity sector. From increasing digital fundraising firepower to story-telling, these tech innovations have helped charities reach new audiences and brought engagement to another level. Virtual reality adds transparency to donations Over the past decade, charities have been innovative and creative in using VR. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) has used VR to give visibility to the cause. "Various teams at the charity identified VR as a useful tool that would help us to engage with existing supporters, as well as reaching out to potential fundraisers.
The VR experience will provide individuals and organisations from across the UK with the unique opportunity to explore the hospital as an immersive experience without having to physically be there and see how their support could help GOSH Charity give children who are treated at GOSH the best chance for life,‚Äù said Mark Mackenzie-Ray, Digital Content Manager at GOSH. Supporters now reach out to each other through P2P and crowdfunding platforms Taken from crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P), charity digital fundraising has taken off to constitute one of the biggest digital advances of the decade. Platforms like JustGiving, DoubletheDonation andThe Big Giveuse digital technology to connect those raising money for charity with other like-minded groups.
The impact on the charity sector has been two-fold - social proofing and greater reach. Social proofing, where people mimic what others are doing, means that P2P and crowdfunding platforms actually encourage users to do more. For charity digital leaders on a shoestring budget, the best feature about many of these platforms is that they require minimal investment - donors act as ambassadors. Fees for fundraising platforms vary - some platforms charge charities for payments processing, while others like Wonderful.org are free.
Compelling stories can be told with chatbots. WaterAid’s now-iconic campaign has been lauded as some of the best uses of chatbots. WaterAid’s ’Talk to Sellu’ features Sellu, a farmer, father, and craftsman who engages audiences in his search for water. The chatbot takes audiences on through his route to collect water in a series of photos, messages, and video content through Facebook.
Part of the charity’s Untapped appeal to bring clean water and facilities to poorer communities, Sellu has helped connect audiences with the realities of those less fortunate through digital advances. Online streaming Streaming content through video and real-time has enabled charities to engage like-minded audiences. Twitch, the online gaming platform has shown its power in fundraising.
Digital fundraising through gaming, or, ’geek philanthropy’ has helped raised nearly $340,000 in donations for the UK transgender charity Mermaids; more organised efforts includes the gaming tournament Games Done Quick. GDQ is a charity fundraiser, featuring star gamers ’speedrunning’ for charity. This year’s summer edition raised an all-time high of $3 million.
Valuable charity resources are just a click away Data crunching has been trending over the past decade with charities being empowered to use their own data to deduce trends. Customisable, automated reports from CRM and donor management systems provide reports that can add to operational efficiencies. Online resources have also been at the forefront of developing the entire sector. "Digital is changing the way the public behaves. For charities to stay relevant, increase the difference they can make, and protect their charity from risks, understanding and engaging with the digital world is vital,‚Äù said Sarah Atkinson, Charity Commission’s Director of Policy, Planning and Communications.
The Charity Digital Code of Practice launched in 2018 has helped charities come to a codified approach to digital tech.