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Social Connections Key to Future Online Fundraising

23 October 2014 at 9:59 am
Xavier Smerdon
The way that people donate to charities online is set to be even more influenced by their social connections and what friends are doing, according to the co-founder of a major global social giving platform.

Xavier Smerdon | 23 October 2014 at 9:59 am


Social Connections Key to Future Online Fundraising
23 October 2014 at 9:59 am

The way that people donate to charities online is set to be even more influenced by their social connections and what friends are doing, according to the co-founder of a major global social giving platform.

Anne-Marie Huby, the co-founder and Managing Director of JustGiving, is in Australia this week to promote a new corporate giving tool.

JustGiving describes itself as the world’s largest social giving platform, based on helping to facilitate $US 3 billion in donations since it was launched in 2001.

Huby said it is also the fastest growing online tool of its kind, with 100,000 users joining the site every week.

The London Times has described JustGiving as ‘one of the top 50 websites you can’t live without’.

She told Pro Bono Australia News that charities in Australia should expect donation trends to become more swayed by people’s online social connections.

“The key trends that Australian  Not for Profit should think about and reflect on is the fact that just as social (media) has changed the way that people consider their shopping choices, their media consumption patterns have been fundamentally changed by social media… all these things are profound changes everywhere and ‘giving’ is being changed in the same way,” Huby said.

“We believe charities should absolutely take note about this deep, deep consumer trend. People are hyper social, increasingly social in their music discovery, in their communications, in their book choices, where they choose to stay when they go on holidays, so we think that giving is being changed and transformed for the better, because of the same underlying trend.

“What our numbers prove is that what your friends are doing for good is at least as powerful and compelling and important to you than what your favorite charity tells you to do next.

“45 per cent (of donations) to our Australian charities come from other countries. That shows that this people-powered universe that we’re depicting is much more influenced by the numbers in your facebook network. I’m sure that you have friends on facebook that are certainly not in your state and definitely some friends that are overseas.

“Of course charities are increasingly brilliant at using social media to talk to their loyal supporters, but we firmly believe that your next wave of supporters, the supporters you have yet to have, will likely come through social platforms”.

Huby also said that charities in Australia should look towards partnering with sporting events to help them raise more money.

“In our view Australia is an ideal place for social giving to thrive because you have the sort of magic combination of a global outlook, a lot of Australian’s have travelled and have friends all over the world. You are addicted to your mobiles, which is something that we know a lot about and are passionate about. And you’re a generous country,” she said.

“The difference is, there always are some between different countries, in the UK for example the tradition combining charity fundraising and sports and sports events, is really mature and here we think it’s still in growth and there’s still a lot to be done to turn some events into fundraising opportunities for charities.”

Despite being the largest social giving tool of its kind in the world, Huby said it was challenging to try and instigate change in the way charities look at their donors.

“We were very much the pioneers in this space, I mean as always with startups it always takes longer than you always hope for to find your voice and to find your customers,” she said.

“So the first few years we focused on building a platform out, onboarding charities and educating the market, it’s fair to say. Because even though charities were very intrigued by the internet they didn’t necessarily know how to use it and some indeed weren’t completely convinced it could work for them. It took a few years.

“The economics, globally and I believe it does include Australia too, the economics of cold acquisition whether its through direct mail, television, radio etc, are really very challenging. So for a lot of charities unless you have very deep pockets, direct mail is becoming very challenging.

“So the idea was let's upset, let’s transform, one of the most difficult and hardest aspects of fundraising, which is asking people for money when you run an event. Which we know is socially awkward, administratively messy both for the user and the charity.

“It’s insecure as well, let’s face it, cash is never a good medium. And so we started there and what helped JustGiving, and by extension of course, our charities grow, was that it was essentially a social proposition, even though the words ‘social media’ had yet to be invented then, it was a very much one-to-many proposition.”

JustGiving launched in Australia in 2012.

According to JustGiving’s Country Director in Australia, Nikki Kinloch, the decision to launch JustGiving in Australia was made simple by Australia’s well documented love affair with all things digital.

“In 2012, over $1.9 million was donated via JustGiving from Australians to charities in other countries,” she said.

Charities on-board with JustGiving’s Australian launch included ChildFund Australia; Shane Warne Foundation; Evolve; Australian Red Cross; Guide Dogs SA and NT; Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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