Giving money to charities used to consist of donations at shopping malls or pulling out a cheque to send through the mail. As the world moves towards a unified technological ecosystem, the methods for supporting charities and causes are changing as well.


According to the M+R 2015 Benchmark Study, which looks at online fundraising, online giving increased 13% from the previous year, with monthly giving growing 32%, and web traffic for non-profit websites rising by 11% as well.


There are a great amount of opportunities to embrace the digital age and ensure that contributing towards a charity is as easy as possible, whether it be Doctors Without Borders or a childhood cancer foundation. Here are a few ways that companies can do just that.



With the popularity of Kickstarter, crowdfunding projects and companies have become hugely popular. Besides funding the latest board game or a bowl of potato salad, crowdfunding can be used to raise funds for a notable cause or a charity.

The premise is simple: a page is created with all of the details of the project, which includes where the money is going to and what it’ll be used for. A threshold is also set up in order for the public to see just how much money is needed to be raised. People can then donate to the cause through a number of payment options and see how much money has been raised in real-time.

An example of this is crowdfunding service Generosity by Indiegogo. It allows for a range of fund raising opportunities, such as cancer treatment and legal fees for immigrants.


Donation buttons

If you already have a full dedicated website for your charity, then a donation button may be the option for you. This allows visitors to not only see everything about your cause, but donate to it without leaving your website, though in some cases they may just have to.

PayPal is one option for this, which allows you to gather amounts from all over the world, and even Facebook offers its own donate button for charities.

The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) website, for example, enables the public to either donate once, or set up a monthly recurring payment. It means that people can donate without having to create monthly payment options and they can select how much will be donated, and to which cause as well.

There is a chance that if the donation process is overly complicated, or leads away to a third party website, the person will be put off and won’t want to donate anymore.


Text messages

Contrary to what the marketing of major phone companies will have you believe, there is a still a large portion of the world that use feature phones and not the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S device. This means that creating an app for your organisation may not be the best idea. Instead, look at using SMS or USSD codes when it comes to donating.

If your charity specialises in disaster recovery and relief, this is a simple and fast way of being on the ball for donations. The public will be able to select how much they want to donate, which is usually added to their phone bill or taken from their airtime. It is a simple and unintrusive way of enabling the public to donate without the need for an app or signing into a website.

Getting the word out on social media about sending an SMS is also much easier than lengthy campaigns.


Partnering with a restaurant or ecommerce store

Though not as technologically savvy as others on this list, partnering with a restaurant, especially a fast-food one, can make donations a lot easier. KFC, for example, asks patrons if they’d like to add R2 to their order when paying. This goes towards the company’s Add Hope campaign. Not only do patrons not need to scrounge around for change, it’s automatically added to the bill and into the KFC system, which means that donations can be tracked as well.

Online shopping website Takealot has a similar system with its checkout process. Customers are asked if they would like to add R5 in order to donate to the Beautiful Gate Children’s Home. This too is added onto the customer’s final total without the need for another purchase being made.

There are multiple ways in which your charity can embrace the digital age and ask for donations. What it boils down to is making giving donations as easy as possible for the general public. If something is too complicated or abrasive, then there’s a chance they will spend their money elsewhere.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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