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Giving made easy in the digital age


August 2015


The new world of giving can look fairly complicated, but it makes donating easier than ever.



Millennials are leading a revolution in modern-day donating, where givers have enormous choice in how and what they contribute, writes Teresa Zolnierkiewicz.

You might remember a TV commercial from 2007 where a shop assistant rattled off a long list of milk variants to a customer who simply asked for milk. That showed the absurd complexity of a straightforward daily task. In the eight years since, choosing milk and many other aspects of daily life have only become more complex.

This includes giving to charity, exemplified by the explosion in choice happening right now in ‘micro-donation platforms’: where you once threw your spare change into a charity collection box at your local supermarket, now you can easily give these small amounts across many accessible digital platforms.

But just like choosing from a multitude of milk products, from sweetened almond milk to unhomogenised low fat, it takes some investigating to find the right choice for you among the varied donation options online.

…you must also become familiar with terminology such as ‘crowdfunding’, ‘peer-to-peer fundraising’ and ‘micro lending’.

Expanding universe of micro-donations

Along with the question of ‘Which charity will I trust and choose?’, you also need to ask ‘Which platform will I trust and choose?’. There are more than 20 fundraising platforms online and they’re not all directly comparable. Stepping into this new world you must also become familiar with terminology such as ‘crowdfunding’,i ‘peer-to-peer fundraising’ii and ‘micro lending’.iii

This isn’t all about charity. Well-known platforms such as Kickstarter and Pozible allow fundraising for personal creative projects such as performances. Other platforms, such as Indiegogo, are to raise money for dream projects, such as starting a beekeeping business. And GoFundMe and RocketHub are open platforms for individual projects, such as creating a bike park or funding a funeral service for a loved pet. Kiva is for lending small amounts of money to individuals, such as a Filipino in need of more feed for her pigs.

While you cannot give to charities through these particular platforms, many of their varied funding opportunities can deliver a public benefit and create a sense of community and caring. Some of them have a robust process for selection and report on results; others are less thorough.

Just like the escalating range of health milks, these platforms are popular with Millennials. This generation values self-expression more highly than generations before.# The broad choice on these platforms allows for self-expression. As well, the sites are all about self-enablement by directly connecting those wanting to give with those in need, using technology to cut out the go-between (charity). It is clear that technology is driving change in how Millennials relate to charity: a platform is essentially a tool to transfer money, but its greater significance is in creating links, connection and allowing the act of donating, which is a gesture of hope and creates immediate satisfaction.

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Charities get in on the act

There are also micro-donation platforms for charitable giving. Home-grown ones include Shout For Good which was recently acquired by ANZ, Donate Planet, StartSomeGood and Everyday Hero. These focus on specific campaigns for charities or social causes (think ice-bucket challenge); use individual stories to feature charities, rather than just a brand; or fundraise through a peer-to-peer facility.

Shout particularly captures the ease of giving, because you can donate or ‘shout’ the itemised cost of a coffee or another of your everyday expenses. This can be done on any device and to an ever expanding list of charities on the platform. StartSomeGood lists (often unconventional) social projects by those seeking to make a change. And Everyday Hero does what the name implies – idolises the fundraiser, rather than the recipient.

Just as dairy and health companies expanded the range of milk products to reach untapped markets and change consumption, philanthropist and founder of Donate Planet, Damien Stenmark, believes these donation platforms can cater to a gap in the market and ultimately change giving behaviour.

“We have a not-for-profit global donation hub tailored to the needs of donors which still caters for charities. Almost all other sites are built by charities and a donor needs to complete each individual charity form, which can be a daunting task. At Donate Planet the donor simply registers once then can donate to various charities and have tax-deductible receipts stored on a personal dashboard.”

It is clear that technology is driving change in how Millennials relate to charity…

How they work, where they’re going

Security, accessibility and ease of use are important in micro-donation platforms. Getting to know the site, seeing the people who conceived it, and understanding how charities or projects are selected, creates trust in those looking to donate.

How soon your donation reaches the recipient can vary. Some, such as StartSomeGood, hold pledges until a certain amount is reached, after which funds are passed to the recipient. Platforms will specify whether the transfer is immediate, daily, weekly or monthly.

Fees are another issue. There’s no such thing as fee-free fundraising or transactions. Fees often rankle donors, who may not consider the investment necessary to draw-in funds. An online donation with a transaction fee of 7 per cent must be considered against a charity’s overall fundraising cost which ranges from 10 per cent to 30 per cent of funds raised.

Jane Martino, co-founder of Shout, sees a positive future for charities in using these digital platforms to raise funds. In her view, because of their growing popularity among Millennials, these platforms will achieve scale and the cost of fundraising for charities will fall.

Indeed, Millennials are a new generation of givers that charities want to reach, and this method of promotion may be a great way to reach them. The picture makes sense: a breakfast coffee for you, a donation ‘coffee’ for charity, and an Instagram post of your sweetened almond milk moustache. Of course you’re smiling, because doing good feels good.


To discuss what this insight could mean for you, talk to your ANZ Private Banker directly, or contact us below.

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# Reference: 2012 Workplace Study conducted by Future Workplace LLC.

i Fundraising by raising small amounts from large groups of people.

ii Using your social group to give funds on your behalf.

iii Lending small amounts of money to people in need.

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