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Tech for Good talks: How can technology shape the future of fundraising?

The economic impact that Covid-19 will have on fundraising is uncertain at best. In the past few months, we have seen both short term and long term responses from charities, but focusing on the future, how can funders support projects and organisations that are looking to become more resilient, sustainable and commercially minded? And how can technology help shape this future?


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The economic impact that Covid-19 will have on fundraising is uncertain at best. In the past few months, we have seen both short term and long term responses from charities, but focusing on the future, how can funders support projects and organisations that are looking to become more resilient, sustainable and commercially minded? And how can technology help shape this future?

That’s where our fabulous hosts come in! Rich and Gabby did a stand-up job talking us through the in’s and out’s of the future of fundraising and the impact technology could have. 

Because 3 Sided Cube is so passionate, and our ethos of “Tech For Good” is what drives us, we are lucky enough to work with a lot of people that also want to do good. We do a lot of work with the third sector, fundraising is something we are so passionate about for us as an agency and our clients.

Pre-Covid Fundraising

Taking a look backwards, before Corona was anything besides an ice-cold brew you cracked into on a hot day, the demand on charities has been increasing. Whether it’s public funds reducing, or income streams that don’t seem to match the level of demand. The real heroes are the charities that provide the services that people need. 

Often, people expect them to be there when they need them, without even realising we need to support them for when the need arises. Now, people are more aware that the need for charity could be a single paycheck away, and we all need to do what we can to lend aid, whenever possible.

The Post Covid Fundraising Frontier

The nature of Coronavirus, as a crisis, meant that our most vulnerable were suffering. Which means charities, and all those doing that good work had an even greater increase in demand. Those vulnerable or shielding needed even more services from charities. Food, essentials, support, just the bare minimum people required was put under so much strain when the pandemic hit.

Only 25% of charities have proficient reserves to last for 3 months and in many cases, income streams were wiped out completely. Events, individual giving and the normal fundraising avenues almost completely ceased from what we all knew before. 

Which resulted in charities needing to rely on their reserves, and with only a quarter of charities had reserves. We’re in month 6 and “going back to normal” isn’t happening any time soon. So what does that mean for charities?

Weighing In With The Experts

We had the pleasure of talking with Zahra, the Head of Fundraising at Children With Cancer UK. She gave some really great insights into the rollercoaster that is fundraising throughout Covid. 

What is really interesting is the change management that she’s had to undergo. Not just with her donors, but within the organisation to keep it running. The ultimate balancing act to try and keep the charity running and make everyone aware they are living in a new world, along with running the day-to-day in a completely new landscape.

The luxury of planning ahead has been flipped on its head. The focus has been changed from planning months, years down the line to now. What can we do NOW to get our organisation through this. There were a few questions she kept at the forefront of her mind when navigating the charity through the murky waters of the unknown.

  1. Does it deliver income?
  2. Are our audiences interested?
  3. Will it help us stabilise for the future?

Those 3 points are so interesting because it is about income, but also engagement. What can you do to bring your audience closer and be invested in your charity? People were at home, surrounded by nothing but the four walls of our homes, so how can charities capture attention that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity. 

And the need to look in the future. While everyone was taking the crisis one day at a time, we had to, organisations need to think ahead once the fight or flight mode passed and carve out a plan to stabilise the future. Zahra made great points and gave excellent insight into the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into keeping up fundraising efforts in the current climate.

Next up, we were lucky enough to talk to Maryna from SOS Children’s Villages International, to get her experience on a global perspective of fundraising. Her efforts are focused on Central Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and a few countries in the Middle East.

She mentioned that Covid-19 has disrupted the organisation’s typical fundraising efforts, as expected, in a massive way. They’ve needed to respond quickly to keep up communication with their donors, and families that the children were safe and were working around the clock to protect them. This is something that technology enabled them to do quickly and efficiently.

Front line workers, carers and social workers relied heavily on constant communication to assess the quickly changing situation. Face to face support needed the quick transition into digital. It was a lofty challenge, but it also was a catalyst to speed up digital fundraising. It forced a change that was coming.

Relationships were strengthened from donors to the vulnerable. Her charity found that reaching out now doesn’t just entail asking for donations, but doing a mental health check. It brought the community together within the charity.

It was invaluable to get Maryna’s take on fundraising and lived experiences!

Where Can Technology Help Fundraising?

Our most successful fundraising effort would be our blood app. We produced it for The American Red Cross, to expedite and encourage the process of donating blood and seamlessly getting into the hands…or veins of those who need it! The American Red Cross obtains the blood, then as it is all private healthcare in the USA, it is sold to the hospitals and used to fund the blood operation and other activities that The Red Cross perform.

This is a really interesting example of using technology to bolster a fundraising effort, but instead of money, you are donating your blood and plasma. The real bonus that digital gave to The American Red Cross, was that it gave the power back to the person. They can decide and oversee when and where they choose to donate, instead of the old phone call appointment method. Which led to a high amount of missed appointments and longer processing time.

It’s a much more streamlined experience.

Probably the coolest part of this app is that the person can follow their donation. From leaving their veins, by accessing the app, can get an alert for the journey all the way to your donation being used and the important impact they have made and over 5,000,000 appointments have been made through it!

Frictionless Giving

Virtual engagement is such a necessary component of creating engagement, and circular frictionless giving. Making it so easy to donate for causes you care about. Kind of a one-stop-shop for donation. Many organisations are getting creative and finding a niche to reach more people. Whether it’s through gaming to raise money for a particular charity or like us, through this event. 

We pledged Julia’s House, a wonderful Dorset charity that lends support and care to children with a life-threatening illness and their families, £10 for every person that attended our event. Their services have been invaluable for countless vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic. It was fantastic to be able to donate £500 to help them continue providing these amazing services. 

This was our fourth Tech For Good Talk, and I’m impartial, but it was the best one yet! Our amazing hosts did THE BEST job at guiding everyone through the tricky new landscape that Covid has created in the third sector. The need for fundraising is now greater than ever, so spread the word! Please reach out with any additional questions or comments on the topic, if they weren’t covered!

Published on August 12, 2020, last updated on August 12, 2020

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