The global pandemic created an upheaval in nearly everyone’s daily routine. Everything shut down almost overnight, and people had to find new ways to work, learn, and interact. Online platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet replaced classrooms and boardrooms. Many businesses also ventured online by either creating or strengthening their digital presence. Slowly, the world is regaining a semblance of life before COVID-19, but even as we try to forge ahead there are a few takeaways from this period that need to be carried forward.
Kenya has slowly been experiencing its economic recovery this year, and confidence about potential financial growth is on the rise. Research conducted by the Mastercard Foundation in March 2021 reveals three important drivers for growth in a post-COVID economy: easier access to funding, acceptance of digital payments, and digitizing business operations. It is therefore safe to assume that for any business to flourish, it must take these matters into account; this is no different for nonprofit organizations.
Many nonprofits rely on grants to ensure sustainability of their causes and have in the past looked to foreign organizations for funding. Over the last year, grants have been pulled or reduced because of the pandemic, thus effectively drying up this income stream for many local nonprofits. To adapt to the situation, nonprofits have been forced to shift focus onto other forms of resource mobilization in order to supplement and meet the increased needs around them.
For many nonprofits, online fundraising has been their channel of choice as it grants them easier, faster and safer access to funding while offering the convenience of receiving donations from all over the world. In 2020, for instance, 73 Kenyan nonprofit organizations were able to raise $404,039 via online fundraising platform M-Changa. The platform’s capacity to allow for virtual registration, management and withdrawal processes gave these nonprofits the ability to gather financial resources from donors across the globe and with this cushion Kenyans from the effects of COVID-19.
The global virtual nature of interactions currently has further forced many organizations to be creative about how to use digital media to position themselves. This is especially owing to how nonprofits that had an established online presence have managed to maintain connections with their audiences more than ever. Coupled with a good appealing story, these connections have further proven to be valuable as it makes it easier for potential donors to connect with the organization’s cause and hence easier for them to contribute when called to.
More than giving, going virtual has given nonprofits a chance to cultivate a sense of ownership and loyalty with their networks. This has been made possible by the ability to keep donors up to date with progress through frequent social media posts or direct communication. In addition, organizations are now able to receive real time feedback enabling them to better tailor their messages, delivery and select appropriate channels.
While the pandemic came with a handful of negative blows on businesses, organizations and individuals alike, it is impossible not to acknowledge the positives in the shifts it caused especially in this ‘post-covid’ era. As the country is slowly reopening and the effects of the pandemic are slowly dissipating, one thing remains certain: some business models that were adapted during this period are here to stay.
M-Changa is an African online and mobile fundraising platform that was launched to make fundraising more convenient, more efficient and more secure than the traditional Harambee. To date, over 50,00 fundraisers have raised millions of dollars from over 1M+ contributors.
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