Online Fundraising and NGOs in Developing Countries


An ever increasing number of people all around the world have become reliant on the internet to live and work. It has changed everything we do from how we keep in touch with our friends to how we learn new skills. Inevitably, the effects of an always online world are having an increasingly powerful effect on fundraising, something that good causes around the world rely on to survive and support their beneficiaries. In the new world it is vital that NGOs understand the changing landscape and learn how they can use online tools to raise funds and connect with supporters.

To start us off, a few quick facts about how the internet is changing peoples behaviour in relation to Non-Profits:

  • 47% of Americans learn of causes through social media
  • Animals, Children and Health are the most successful online causes
  • 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.
  • In an average peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, 15-18% of donations are referred directly from Facebook.
  • The average social media donation is $59 and growing each year.
  • Using Twitter during fundraising events can result in 10X more money raised online.
  • $2.7 billion dollars was raised through crowdfunding campaigns in 2012 alone, nearly doubling in growth from the prior year. That number is only expected to grow and could quite possibly double again in 2013.

Whilst the share of donations across the US in 2012 was still just 2.1% on average, some organisations such as the American Lung Association reported that 30% of its gifts are made online. A survey of over 100 leading Non-Profit organisations in the states showed that three quarters of them had targeted for online fundraising to account for more than 10% of their overall fundraising within the next few years whilst one in five predict that online donations will account for more than 20%.

Julie Taylor, Director of Donor Information at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation says “Giving online is just where people are these days, that’s how they’re comfotable giving now. The Hospital Foundation increased its online giving by more than one third in 2011.

Non-Profts around the world have found particular success in raising funds through regular gifts online, whether it is monthly, quarterly or even annually. The same survey mentioned earlier showed that some organisations earned as much as half of their their online giving totals from people who committed to recurring withdrawals from their accounts in support of their chosen cause.

“You talk to any nonprofit organization that relies on fundraising, and they’ll tell you online monthly giving is the most reliable giving,” says Scott Nilsen, vice president for development services at Young Life, a Christian charity that serves teenagers, “They’re the least likely ones to stop giving.”

Major Donations

Any Non-Profit with a website and a Facebook page can now reach a huge audience, an audience that simply would not have been possible to reach before the web takeover. These new opportunities have created some surprising new developments such as the prevalence of major online donations. Major donations had previously been secured through years of cultivation, wining and dining wealthy guests in the hope that they may bestow your cause with a lifechanging gift.

Today we see individuals making huge donations of over $1m, often anonymously, to organisations they have only read about online. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported that its largest gift online was $1-million, while six other organizations said they had received at least one gift of $100,000 or more online.

Although not every organisation can expect a donation that big, most are reporting larger contributions from donors online than they would likely receive from more traditional fundraising appeals such as direct mail.

The Environmental Defense Fund reports that its first-time donors online make gifts that are roughly twice as large as those who give for the first time through direct-mail solicitations. New donors typically give $40 to $50 online, versus $20 to $25 through direct mail, says Sam Parry, director of membership.

Non-Profits are increasingly targeting young donors under the age of 45 who they can connect with cheaply online whilst sharing a wealth of information about their cause. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit raised $1-million online in 2012—roughly twice as much as it had raised the previous year — by focusing on donors 45 years old or younger.

How your NGO can take Advantage

Creating a website is increasingly affordable wherever you are in the world. Sites now offer a year of hosting for less than $10 for a relatively simple website at the same time as offering complimentary customisable templates that ensure that your organisation looks professional. It is getting easier and easier by the day to create and maintain a website meaning there is little excuse. Almost every donor will look at an organisations website before donating funds, whether it is a government organisation or an individual at home. If you’re interested in targeting domestic audiences with your fundraising it may be beneficial investing a little more money in a mobile optimised site that will enable people to visit your site with their mobile phone. All you need is some basic information: What do you; Why do you do it; Who do you help: How do you help; Pictures; Contact Details. That’s it. It doesn’t need to be complex and often keeping things simple is the most effective strategy.

The next step your NGO should take is to get on Facebook. Wherever you are in the world the platform is either already hosting a huge population of your countrymen or it is in the process of doing so. It is an incredibly powerful tool that connects people from all over the world making it the place you need your organisation to be. Social media doesn’t need to be complicated, just treat it as a social outlet by sharing what you are doing, who you are helping, the problem you are trying to solve along with any quotes, videos, pictures or facts that support your cause. You’ll be amazed how many people discover your organisation if you invest just a little time and effort.

The penultimate step in propelling your organisation to a new generation of online donors is through an e-newsletter. These are the same as your typical printed community newsletter apart from they are delivered directly to your followers email inbox. It is a effective tool at highlighting news stories and developments, sharing information and directing traffic to your website, which neatly brings us to the final task to start generating donations online for your NGO.

Receiving donations online remains difficult for organisations in many countries around the world. Rules and regulations vary widely from nation to nation with some making it exceptionally easy whilst others make it all but impossible. is the option of choice for a large number of Non-Profits, especially in the developing world whilst is another service to consider which currently enables online donations in over 76 different currencies. If you’re lucky enough to be able to use one of these services then all you need to do is setup a donate page on your website and you’re ready to start raising funds online. If you’re not so lucky, money transfers are often possible where services like PayPal are not but receiving funds is likely to remain difficult for organisations in certain countries for at least the next couple of years.

Has your organisation received donations online? Are you considering trying to raise money through the internet? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Avatar V.P.Murugan says

    V.P.Murugan Says
    We are searching online donors for our project in Theni & Madurai district of Tamilnadu, India

  2. Avatar Shubham Vikas Sansthan says

    We introduce ourselves as an NGO.Our aim is to fight against Rural and Urban poverty,Human Rights and Democracy,Women Empowerment,Physically Handicapped person of the society etc.
    we are working with the poor and marginalized people of Uttar Pradesh.
    We formed out the Self Help Groups (SHGs) among the poor and marginalized people and supporting them in their struggle to access their rights against food, shelter, education, healthcare, human rights and democracy .We help them their development and livelihood.
    Sansthan is working within limited source of income and eagar to do above work in large scale in the State for the welfare of the public, because it is highly needed in the State. Therefore Sansthan requires advice from the experienced people/sansthan.Sansthan is very thankful for it.
    Ramakant Maurya
    Shubham Vikas Sansthan


    I am the Executive Director of a NGO called THE BARNABAS FOUNDATION

    Our organisation works in the areas of Health, Education,Environmental conservation,Youth and Women Empowerment, and poverty reduction in Kenya. How can we engage ourselves in productive fundraising?

    With regards.
    Charles Kimeli

  4. Avatar Women & Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (WAGEP) says

    We are a newly established NGO in Liberia working with very poor women and less fortunate
    adolescent girls to empower them to be self sufficient.Please help us get donation on line as we have not gotten donation on line before.

    Hope to hearing from you sooner.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Barpaye

  5. Avatar JOAB KATONYA says

    I am the Executive Director of Orison Therapy Center. Our organization is involved in health care for the underprivileged and poor people in the community who can not be able to afford health services. We treat them all nerve-related ailments originating from the backbone through thermal therapy. Many who have been bedridden for years are now healed and back to their farming fields. We need donors who can fund this project. The project is popular and benefit the poor community by restoring their health and making them go back to work for their families. I need urgent support. I need to raise funds online. please help.

  6. We are NGO that promote self employment and local industrialization, we seek for assistance in the are of online donation posibbly we will need support in website design.

    Entrepreneurship Development and Support Initiative
    Programme Director
    Suite 206 Hillside Plaza Asokoro
    Abuja Nigeria

  7. We are willing to take up this strategy for our development initiative on urban poverty. Our organisation named UDRC(Urban and Development Resource Centre) works for urban poor in eastern states of India more specifically in eastern states eg Odisha/West Bengal states. We work on sanitation, water, energy, housing , health/livelihood sustainability (TB being very rampant due to environmental pollution/sustainability issues) provision for women and children in urban poor communities living in slums and pavements and our work is widely acknowledged in the country. We are interested to raise funding on line to strengthen our urban initiatives with a people led processes to scale up our work.


  8. Avatar Francis Mutambuka says

    Empowerment of Sustainable Communities (escomm) is Ugandan registered NGO dealing in Primary Health Care and Food and Nutrition among other objectives

    we have tried several times to get funds on line but all in vain. we are ready to get it if any funder out there is willing to get in tourch with us.

    Francis Mutambuka
    Executive Director

  9. Avatar tuligenda isaac says

    I am the coordinator of students empowering students Uganda in buvuma district one of the biggest highland districts in Uganda.and our aim is to promote education in the highland children,but since we started in 2009 we have never received any donation on line or government but we have managed to set up a school in one of the villages in the district on the members effort,so if you mean that there chances of getting donations on line we are the right organization to receive those donations. Because to work in the highland with out support is not an easy thing so we request for your help.

    Tuligenda Isaac.
    ses Uganda 1860 jinja [u]

  10. Avatar fred nyasoro says

    Mother Me Africa International specialized in sexual gender based violence recovery and counselling among other health programs targeting schools and out of schools. The organization was establishment in Kenya in the year 2007 as a peace building youth group to avert the post poll chaos Currently our programme had been identified as a model which had to continue to allow replication to the rest of the country to have national strategic plan to help deal with SGBV menace. We are seeking for different local and international well wisher to work with us towards building a recovery centre of the same, And if you have the hear to humanity kindly don’t hesitate to give us a hand.


    Executive Director

  11. Avatar vitore lelaj says

    Our NGO in Albania has never received donations online. Yhe government here in our country ignores drug problem. We feel sorry but we are determined to go on our struggle against trug and drug addiction. narconon Albania has done all he activities by using our own money.Our voluntary staff is working hard to help people in need, but for me as the Executive Director it is more important to prevent trugs and drug use for the children not to touch them, than to rehabilitate them. We need help and support to go on our mission. Albanian people deserve to live a clean and happy life.

  12. Avatar Centre for human Resource Development says

    I am the Project Secretary of a NGO called Centre for Human Resource Development (CHRD), Sri Lanka.

    Our organisation works in the areas of Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Human Rights & Democracy, combating domestic and sexual violence. How can we engage ourselves in productive fundraising?

    With regards.

    Jayathri Mihirani (Miss)

  13. Avatar Yannick Ndoinyo says

    RAMAT – the pastoralist CBO in Ngorongoro Tanzania would like to engage in fundraising approaches including raising money online. We would like to engage an institution or an individual to assist us in fundraising activities.

  14. Avatar Ashish K Bardhan says

    Re: Request for joint venture for FOOD SECURITY (through a special Environment friendly Agri-Technology) for the Tribal Women communities, who are in vulnerable situations.
    Dear Donor,
    We take the opportunity to introduce ourselves as an NGO, whose aim is to fight against hunger and injustice. Since 2002, we are trying to work with the poor and marginalized tribal people of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa of eastern part of India. We are working with local communities to address collectively the people’s movements, hunger, inequity and injustice.
    We are reaching out with the target groups, through NHGs (Neighbourhood Groups) of which, mostly are poor and marginalized, belong to tribal communities, supporting them in their struggle to access their rights to food, shelter, education, healthcare and human security and helping them have their voice in the development decisions affecting their lives and livelihood.
    As we are working with the Tribal and other backward communities at the Purulia, Balasore and East Singhbhum districts, under the State of West Bengal, Orissa & Jharkhand respectively, that is why, we would like to propose the FOOD SECURITY, program by using a special technology, which is considered to be a system of irrigated rice crop management through which production can be substantially increased by effective changes in and integration of the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. The system is likely to make rice cultivation more sustainable, enhancing rice production without heavy dependence on modern high-cost inputs, reducing costs of production. Being environmental friendly, the system is also quite accessible by resource-poor farmers, while its increases in yield enhance their food security.

    The overall objective of this project is to empower key food security stakeholders for enabling them to participate in decision making and participatory process,
    Specific objectives are inter alias,
    ● to strengthen the capabilities of women smallholders’ farmers through aimed capacity building, so that they can directly contribute to their own food security,
    ● to develop and implement exemplary actions aimed at attaining availability and accessibility to food, and
    ● to improve the exchange of information, experience and knowledge within smallholder women farmers for food production.

    We look forward to hear from your end.

    Thank you,

    Ashish K Bardhan
    Member Secretary,

  15. Avatar Maron Musamba says

    We are willing to engage ourselves with an individual or institution that can make us succeed in the area of fundraising

  16. Avatar Maron Musamba says

    I am leader of a christian organisation called Lifeline in Zambia, and you are welcome to check out our website and our Facebook page; Lifeline in Zambia.

    Our organisation works in the areas of Health, Education and Family Empowerment. How can we engage ourselves in productive fundraising?



  17. Avatar SOSSOUGA DOSSE says

    I’m the President of NGO: ADET. We work for social development, sustainable development. Our field of activities is disable persons, older persons, migrants, indigenous persons, youth, vulnerable women and children. We come to be granted to special consultative status with ECOSOC and we would participe to UN meeting in New york, Geneva and Vienna. We need your Aid to allow us (21 persons) to assist the UN events. Thank you very much.

    Best Regards

    Avenue Jean Paul II
    BP: 20123 Lomé- Togo

  18. My organization is specialized in community based control of TB and HIV in Namibia. Its establishment in 2007 was as a result of advancing and sustaining the work of an international NGO which had started the joint TB/HIV control programme but had to leave the country. The programme had been identified as a model which had to continue to allow replication to the rest of the country. It was seen fit to establish a Local NGO that would continue with mentoring other NGO in community based TB care. However, the new organization never got funding for governance, training of staff management, documentation and publishing its work, staff benefits, research purchasing relevant equipment and furniture as well as other relevant issues related to establishment and sustaining an NGO. We get programme activity funding from our donor but we need money to fully establish the NGO

  19. Avatar Simon Peter Katabalo says

    I have never received donations on line.

    Are you considering trying to raise money through the internet? ( Yes)

    Let us know in the comments.

    ( Kindly advise and arrange for our Organization to receive donations online)

    With thanks,

    Simon P. Katabalo
    Programme Director,
    Tumaini Trust Fund
    P.O. Box 71029, Dar Es Salaam