Online fundraising project kicks off in South Africa

Digital Content

The worldwide growth in Internet use and fundraising by NGOs has been phenomenal. Funds raised online have increased from $250 million in 2000 to more than $5 billion in 2006. Some predict that online fundraising will continue to increase at a rate of 30% percent each year. To highlight the growing impact and value of online fundraising, 13 million Americans made donations online after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Although online fundraising for and in support of NGOs is still in its infancy in South Africa, a number of factors will contribute to accelerate growth in this field in the next few years. These include the growing number of South Africans with access to Internet, reduction in Internet costs, more NGOs with their own dedicated websites and appreciating the value of online applications, a growing middle class and a significant expatriate community with an interest in supporting good causes back home.

One of SANGONeT’s strategic objectives is to promote the benefits of the Internet to NGOs in South Africa, including how this medium can strengthen and complement their fundraising efforts. As a result, SANGONeT and EasiGiving are pleased to announce a partnership in support of BackaBuddy (http://www.backabuddy.co.za), an online fundraising website which combines the power of sport and the reach of the Internet in support of NGOs in South Africa.

Launched by EasiGiving in early 2008, BackaBuddy provides intuitive and accessible online fundraising functionality to help anyone interested in raising money for a cause or NGO they care about. Essentially, it is a community platform which enables people (“Charity Champions”) who are participating in sporting or other events to link their efforts to raising money for their favourite NGOs.

No matter where they are in the world, South Africans can ensure that their charitable giving goes straight to helping NGOs back home. What’s more, they can support their friends who are taking part in sporting, commemorative or corporate events in South Africa by sponsoring their endeavours, so it’s a win-win - NGOs benefit and their friends have the satisfaction of knowing their efforts have been recognised!

Any NGO seeking to participate in this unique fundraising system is now welcome to apply for a free listing on BackaBuddy. Once registered, the NGO can communicate its status to a broad audience, encouraging potential “Charity Champions” to participate in fundraising events such as running, cycling, swimming or even something as simple as a shave-athon! The Charity Champion creates a free page on BackaBuddy, and e-mails the information to a wide range of potential supporters - nominating a specific NGO as the beneficiary. They can then make their contributions by credit or debit card - quickly, simply and securely.

BackaBuddy has been officially appointed as a charity collection and credit card payment portal for the Discovery 702 Walk The Talk, the biggest walking event in Africa. The event is due to take place on Sunday, 27 July 2008, and will attract over 30 000 walkers. Refer to the BackaBuddy site for information about how to support a charity or NGO through participation in this event.

SANGONeT will provide potential donors with detailed information, through our Prodder NGO Directory (http://beta.prodder.org.za), about the NGOs profiled for support on BackaBuddy.”

Organisations listed in Prodder will be encouraged to sign-up for BackaBuddy. When an organisation has signed up on the BackaBuddy site, and is already listed in Prodder, a BackaBuddy logo will be added to its Prodder page. Where an organisation has opted in to BackaBuddy from Prodder, there will be a Prodder logo on each organisation’s record (web page) with the words ‘View this Organisation’s Prodder entry’.

We welcome feedback and suggestions about how to enhance the website, and encourage potential Charity Champions to open their own (free) pages on BackaBuddy and start fundraising for their favourite NGOs!