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Fundraising: The Online vs Offline Channel Debate

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Fundraising is the act of raising money usually undertaken by a non-profit organization to fulfill their favoured cause. It can be conducted online or offline. Online channels of fundraising refer to websites, digital ads and other mediums that make use of the internet whereas direct mail, events (eg: concerts), competitions (eg: raffle, cake bakes) major gifts, and the like are offline sources of fundraising.

In an increasingly techno-savvy world where apps connect people more than old school dinner plans, it can be argued that online fundraising has an upper hand in revenue generation due to its wider reach and easy accessibility. Crowdfunding, is an essential tool here. It refers to large groups of people who each donate a relatively small amount of money – to finance an otherwise unattainable monetary goal. Impact Guru is the leading crowdfunding platform and an online fundraising India site.

Older donors who were earlier more or less dependent on offline channels or direct mail for charitable giving, are increasingly familiarizing themselves with online channels of fundraising. Furthermore, offline fundraising sees a decline in growth every year.

Online fundraising takes place over the internet and as such is useful in acquiring new younger donors who earn a relatively higher income and consecutively donate more over a longer stretch. Furthermore, it is easier to introduce online donors to offline methods of donation as opposed to the other way round. Fundraising India has seen a rise in the number of people who make donations online. Lastly, online fundraising is also quicker and more cost effective.

However, it turns out that 90% of total donation revenue is through offline channels! Direct mails alone make up 79% of total donation revenue. In fact, direct mail and online giving are a tangled web and each feeds off the other. Givers tend to engage in both and so if suddenly direct mail were to be taken out of the equation, it would negatively impact online fundraising as well.

One powerful example of offline fundraising would be the affiliation between Coldplay and Global Citizen since 2015 where Chris Martin, lead singer of the Rock Band has joined as the curator of the International Global Citizen Festivals.

Global citizen organized a fundraiser led by Coldplay, where a percentage of the tickets for the 2016 Mumbai concert were set aside for fans who ‘earned’ them by pledging for/working towards a social cause.

Research showed that people aged 65 and older preferred offline giving due to it being more personal process but mostly because they could be sure of where exactly their money went.

So it is vital that the two channels are integrated together to boost fundraising revenues. In conclusion, fundraising India relies on both, online and offline channels of fundraising for its charitable goal accomplishment.