From fires, influencers, bunnies, donations … and NGOs?

For Norma Galafassi

Once again, the emergency hits society, and as in many other parts of the world, the public, faced with images of high impact in the media, feels compelled to mobilise.

It was Argentina’s turn this time. The fires in Corrientes province had already burned 10% of the province´s surface area. Images of uncontrollable, harrowing flames were seen live and direct in the media; animals from natural reserves were fleeing from the flames; producers and entrepreneurs had already lost everything they had. People were putting out the fire as best they could and firefighters were working overtime with little equipment. Stories with a big impact.

Within this context, the media were promoting campaigns for people to make in kind donations with the necessary materials such as: water, medicine, clothing, food…

But one campaign got all the attention: Argentine influencer Santiago Maratea began making a series of donation appeals, and in only one weekend, he reached incredible cash figures. Meanwhile, no other fundraising campaign was heard or seen in the mass media at the same time. The same influencer, however, had previously launched a series of campaign appeals for different purposes: helping a young girl to be able to buy the most expensive medicine in the world for her rare condition, as well as other requests, including the most recent one, to pay for his vacations. A young man who speaks in the same language as his audience, who tells them all the time what he is up to, who tells them about the difficulties and concerns he is facing in a natural way. Many fundraising colleagues still wonder, how does the influencer achieve a record of donations. Is it true that people trust no one but him only? Is it because of the emergency? An important and urgent issue? Could be… But let’s look at another example. This time from Singapore, young 11-year-old Chng Rui Jie is a fan of rabbits and with the help of her dad she started a series of campaigns to help the “hungry bunnies”, thinking about COVID times and who could be taking care of the animals when there were so many people with other needs. Thus, with a series of posts and videos on social networks, with animated bunnies on pink backgrounds, she began her online campaign, already managing to raise more than USD 250,000 in donations for different organisations.

Chng Rui Jie gives a very clear message in one of her current online campaigns on the platform: “I am 11 years old, I am older but I still love bunnies so much that I want them to have their food to eat. Would you help the bunnies in this difficult time so that they and their friends can have food? Omicron has been so difficult for everyone. Life can be tough, but we are much more resilient and bunnies are too cute to ignore.” Thus, with her campaigns she has raised funds for different NGOs including Care Singapore, SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), School Pocket Money funds, among others.

It does not appear to deal with such pressing issues here. So, how do they pull it off? Analysing, among other things, it turns out that both influencers follow many of the rules that make for a successful fundraising campaign…

  • First and foremost they are genuinely concerned about what is going on and effectively tell the problem and commit to a tangible solution.
  • They communicate all the time with an audience that follows them to whom they “speak”, and “in their language”, as equals, among peers.
  • Even more, they share the achievements in the campaign. Nothing more motivating than updating and telling live how much they are raising and how much they still need to raise…
  • When they reach the goal they set a new goal and think what else they can do.
  • And they make absolutely transparent the process of using what they collect… And even, in Maratea´s case, he explains the difficulties he has in getting help, accounts for everything spent and even shows how each of the tasks and purchases are done (thus continuing to generate content for his audience).

Telling the Case – Direct Communication – Motivation and involvement – Inspiration – Transparency

Do these pillars resonate with you? These are some of the “basics must-haves” for any fundraising campaign

They are, in fact, standards that every fundraiser should follow. Because a fundraiser is still an “influencer” of potential donors. In emergencies and in the day-to-day operations of our organisations there is a lot to do and little time to think about. Because these influencers who are successfully raising funds, finally follow all the principles that make a good fundraiser.