Gone are the days when NGOs relied solely on asking for donations. In a time where an organization’s success is based on the number of likes it gets on its Facebook page, NGOs have also changed the way they seek support.
At 12, my teacher told me to make a flyer about a blind school and ask for money from the people living in my locality. After that, at 16 my friend organized a benefiting concert wherein we successfully raised one lakh rupees. There was a huge difference between the former and the latter. Regardless of the amount we collected, our supporters’ connection to the cause was different. It was easier to knock on doors, show them flyers and receive donations than calling sponsors, bands, making tickets and calling in food stalls. The latter made us feel as if we deserved that money as if in a way we earned it.
Organizations today are increasingly using the help of social media to not only raise funds but also to try and create fundraising “campaigns” where supporters feel more connected to the cause.
Recently, UNICEF started the Tap Project, wherein supporters can log on to the project website through their phones and with a single touch, they have to give up using their phones for 15 minutes and project sponsors will donate enough money for a day of clean water.
This concept of feeling more connected and engaged to a particular cause is the drive behind Operation Smile’s Walk to Heal movement on the Just Move mobile app. By enabling supporters to donate their “steps” to Operation Smile, the movement appeals to a larger audience that may or may not otherwise be in a position to donate time or money to support the good work done by the organization. The app also allows participants in the movement to interact with each other on the movement news feed, which helps strengthen the connection of the individual supporter to the cause as well as to other supporters.
This brings about a realization too that these social issues are more than just videos and pictures we see on the Internet. They are real and the problems that come with it are real too.