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Guide to Online Fundraising for Nonprofits in Emerging Markets

Why do some online fundraising campaigns succeed while others flop? The guide to online fundraising for nonprofits in emerging markets.


Guide to Online Fundraising for Nonprofits in Emerging Markets

We often hear about a great cause that managed to raise a large sum of donations from an online campaign. We don’t hear about the thousands of causes that are trying to achieve a similar goal unsuccessfully. But what makes one online fundraising campaign succeed and the other flop? Here are 5 main issues to consider when raising money for a non-profit in a developing country.


Infographic explaining why do some online fundraising campaigns succeed while others flop

1. Localization

When fundraising for a cause in a developing area such as Africa, Asia, and South & Central America, you must keep in mind your target audience.

There is a cultural difference that can influence where and how people give. The way you reach out to different donors should be based on these differences. For example, donors in developed countries tend to prioritize giving money, while those in developing countries are more likely to reach out and help a stranger. Therefore, when reaching out to donors in a developing country one should focus on the humanitarian aspect: “this person could really use your help”. Whereas, when approaching someone from the US you might say – “this is what your money can do”.

Cultural values and how they relate to giving in any community are complex. Your understanding of the community and culture you’re appealing to is the key to the success of your campaign.



2. The Platform Many online fundraising options exist today offering non-profits various features and tools to raise money. Most of these platforms are directed to a western audience, and don’t give attention to the uniqueness of other audiences.

Important things to lookout for when choosing a preferred fundraising platform in emerging markets:

  • Quick Setup - How easy is it for you to set up a fundraising campaign? In developing countries, it may be difficult sometimes to present all the documentation requested from some platforms. If you want to start raising money for your cause now, avoid platforms that involve a long process of validation that may take weeks to get started. Prefer platforms that allow you to sign up and begin raising money immediately and provide the documentation later on.

  • Donation Options - The easier it is for your donors to donate, the more money you will raise. Are the donors given many payment options in the platform? Does it support relevant currencies? Can it process local mobile payments? In many developing countries donors and even the non-profit itself don’t have a bank account or credit cards. Choose a platform that offers you local solutions to process money easily.

  • Fast Payouts - How easy is it for you to withdraw the donations received? Is the payout quick & easy or does it take a while for the payout to be approved?

  • Easy Management - What devices do you work with? Do you work on the go from your mobile device? Make sure that the fundraising platform you choose is mobile friendly, and simple to understand and manage.


3. Community There is an African proverb that says: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” With hard work you can get far in your fundraising efforts but not as far as you can with the power of your community. Use your community’s power and networking to reach more people and spread your message.

Recruit influencers – find people who believe in you and also have a large audience of followers.

Identify where your communities hang out – reach them in their forums and online groups.

Use social and peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising to increase your reach of potential donors.

To build a strong community you constantly need to interact with it and keep it engaged. Keep your donors close to you, update them frequently and let them know how important they are to the cause.

4. Online Presence

Give validation to your cause. The more serious your cause looks the more serious donors it will attract. This is extra important in locations where there are many fraud and corruption stories. To create a reliable trustworthy impression, back it up with a serious looking page that presents your org, brand, and cause. A social network presence with followers, reviews and posts enhances that impression. Your own website and social pages are great places to promote your cause. Add images and videos showcasing your activity and who you are helping. Don’t forget to add “donate” links everywhere, and make sure to use payment processors that are secure.

5. Hustle It’s not enough to create a campaign and expect the money to come in. Once your fundraising campaign is ready, that is when the real work begins. It’s time to share share share! Spread your cause anywhere you can, online & offline. Send donation links to your community, on your social network, on your website. Try to get featured in local press. The difference between the fundraising campaigns that work and don’t work comes down to how hard you push them.


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Remember you are not alone! Join GivingWay’s community of nonprofit organizations to share your insights and questions with organizations similar to yours.

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