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Five ways Australian charities are embracing tech to fundraise

17 September 2019 at 8:41 am
Maggie Coggan
Technology is improving all the time, something many industries are fully embracing. But where do NFPs sit on this? We find out. 

Maggie Coggan | 17 September 2019 at 8:41 am


Five ways Australian charities are embracing tech to fundraise
17 September 2019 at 8:41 am

Technology is improving all the time, something many industries are fully embracing. But where do NFPs sit on this? We find out. 

Now in its fourth year, the Global NGO Tech Report provides an insight into how NGOs across the globe use technology to communicate with their supporters and fundraise.

Using the survey results of over 5,700 NFPs from 160 countries, it delves into what charities think is working and what’s not working. 

The survey was sponsored by Funraise and researched by Nonprofit Tech for Good. Pro Bono Australia was the Australian partner for the survey.  

Globally, 64 per cent of the NGOs surveyed said they accepted online donations to their website, and 40 per cent reported using software to track donations and manage communications with supporters and donors.    

Eighty per cent of charities surveyed said they had websites to help them fundraise and communicate with supporters, and 71 per cent regularly sent email updates to supporters and donors. Ninety per cent of charities uses social media to engage with supporters and donors. 

But how do Australia and New Zealand charities stack up? We take a look. 

A good website might be the key to success

The report found that having a good website was the most effective fundraising and communication tool for 83 per cent of charities surveyed, and that 95 per cent of charities in Australia and New Zealand reported having a website. 

The most common tech features on websites were mobile compatibility (84 per cent), and a privacy policy (78 per cent). Sixty-two per cent of Australian charities were also able to take donations through the website. 

Katherine Raskob, CEO of the Fundraising Institute Australia, told Pro Bono News she was surprised at how few charities were capable of accepting donations via their websites.   

“It is a fairly straightforward, relatively easy and cost-effective way to raise funds so I would hope the charities not currently prioritising this might consider it critical,” Raskob said.  

Access for people with disability (25 per cent) was also way past the global average (18 per cent).


What’s the news? 

Coming a close second to a slick website, the report found keeping supporters and funders up to date on current projects, advocacy and fundraising campaigns via email was an effective way to fundraise and communicate with supporters. 

Forty-four per cent of charities reported sending a quarterly email, and 34 per cent sent a monthly email. This matched up globally as well, with 41 per cent of charities reporting email updates as a good way to keep in touch and fundraise. 

Social media campaigns

Facebook was found to be the platform of choice for Australian and New Zealand charities, with 92 per cent on Facebook and an average number of 14,079 supporters.

The report also found that over half of those charities shared Facebook Stories, nearly 50 per cent purchased Facebook ads, and 45 per cent had a Facebook group. Facebook Live and making use of Messenger bots were less popular, coming in at 34 per cent and 27 per cent respectively. Charitable giving tools on the platform were also low, sitting at 17 per cent.    

Despite nearly all charities surveyed using some kind of social media, only 49 per cent had a written social media strategy, and just over 30 per cent used an editorial calendar to schedule content on social media.

Karen Mahlab AM, the CEO of Pro Bono Australia said these figures in particular identified skill gaps.  

“This reinforces the need to upskill NPOs in order to harness the full potential of social media platforms,” Mahlab said. 

What about new technologies?  

When it came to how well NFPs understood emerging technologies, the report found there was still some way to go. The least understood area was predictive analytics, with only 15 per cent reporting they understood it “very well”. The highest was cloud computing, at 44 per cent. 

But the report recorded that 56 per cent of NFPs in New Zealand and Australia increased spending on technology, while just seven per cent decreased spending.  

Print is dead, but not for Australian charities  

Australia and New Zealand is the only region where print newsletters and print fundraising appeals made the top 10 list of the most effective communication and fundraising tools, with 56 per cent of NFPs finding it highly effective fundraising and communication technique. 

This compared to just 26 per cent globally.  

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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