Digital in the Third Sector: Harnessing the power

by Givey Team

11 June 2015

Social feeds are the lifeblood of digital connection.

This is the personal space in which we publicly endorse, vocally propose, condemn and praise. It’s communal and it’s unceasing; daily we are washed by the newly uploaded 200 million hours of YouTube footage, the 30 billion pieces of digital content shared on Facebook, and sometimes, just sometimes, something sticks. It speaks to us, it guts us, it elevates us. It is this emotive power that can, and needs to be channeled into positive change; we just require the tools with which to take action. Liking isn’t helping.

Harnessing the Power

The intrinsic, normalised behaviour of ‘sharing’ or ‘liking’ doesn’t convert into digital ROI for charities, nor does it help to tide over the P&Ls of Third Sector organisations. Converting empathy, of which these behaviours are arguably often demonstrative of, into a meaningful monetary contribution is the next evolution of giving. More than 20% of charities currently have no means of accepting online donations on their own digital estate, despite believing this platform will become increasingly critical over the coming years and seeing a significant increase in the number of donations coming from the under 30s (showing a 30% increase in comparison to 24% for over 50s). Intrinsically linked to this is the perception that traditional fundraising will reign in importance for future charitable giving, yet tradition is transitory, fluid and reshaped and reconfigured with every wave of new generation. The day of the digital donation is nigh, and the Third Sector is at great risk of letting the surge leave it high and dry. We must ready ourselves for the next cohort of donors – those who demand, or rather exclusively expect, instant, intelligent, intuitive transactions and the charity sector is not exempt.

When we donate, we effectively ‘employ’ that charity to do the work we want done but can’t do ourselves. This is truly powerful, the concept of commissioning an act you feel is needed, and when you embed this within the context of social, we have the ability to establish an entire workforce that we contract as a united group to make good happen.

Selfie for the first time in Nepal

Since Givey launched the ability to connect pieces of moving content that depict or explicate a social issue, or recall an injustice, and then connect this with a monetary show of intent, 8,629 donations have been made and 1,502 of these connections have been shared. By far the most common media form utilised is YouTube, closely followed by Instagram. Unsurprisingly, visual media provides the best stimuli for relaying the source of inspiration. Interestingly, ‘Default’ accounts for 29% of all media forms shared, which means these are smaller providers or independent sites. Inspiration can be found in innumerable places; and now can be meaningfully acted upon.

Media forms shared on Givey to date

Media form shared

As the behaviour uptake has increased, the ‘ripple’ effect has started to become ever more apparent. In sharing the stimulus, weighting it with a tangible contribution to charity, and publicly spreading the action, we are started to witness the ‘hop’. This ‘hop’ is the translation of one donation ricocheting across the globe to inspire those completely unconnected to the original epicentre ‘fundraiser’ – the sharer of the content. In this sense, personal connection erodes; the power of the belief, and the anger towards the wrong, becomes a uniting and social cohesive for change.


Every donator becomes, in essence, a fundraiser – in the sense that they hold the power to utilise their social connection to inspire further donations. We’ve witnessed some really fantastic success stories in using video fundraising; a new evolution to traditional ‘fundraisers’ which provides a far more engaging medium in which to authentically communicate a story. But, the power truly comes when a string of inspirees and inspirers like those shown in the examples below (Bristol Rotary Dragons raising £1,261 in just a fortnight, or the St Mary’s Church Welwyn church vicar whose bike ride topped £1k in 29days) is born out of a collective desire to change or improve something. A simple link creating a wave of meaningful action.

Welwyn Champagne Bike Ride

Finessing the process for a donor so that the experience of giving is instant, intuitive, and critically, rewarding, is our sole mission. By unlocking this, small individual donations become a truly viable new revenue stream for charities. Any digital content in the world becomes an opportunity to take action and can be linked to a cause, building robust digital return and opening the first pages of social digital donating.

It’s a truly exciting time for the Third Sector, and harnessing the potential of online platforms is a critical part of the journey. The power of united belief, independent of personal familiarity, is awesome in its potential – the future of giving is here, and we need to embrace it.

by @beammeupemily, CMO at Givey

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