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The next crowdfunding platform wouldn’t be Just a website.

Photo Credit : Mayeko

I recently wrote about how crowdfunding has changed over the years, especially how it has evolved from being a coupon to a platform.

Today, I make another case for why the next crowdfunding platform wouldn’t be anything like the website we see today. The next crowdfunding platform will be built on top of our everyday apps (embedded), and it will be gamified.

When I talk of gamification, I mean attempts that include game-design elements like points, badges, avatars, leaderboards, Performance graphs, and the like.

Social Media and Gamified Crowdfunding

Nonprofits have used the internet to reach out to supporters for storytelling and fundraising. This has been made possible by the widespread adoption of social media platforms, which provide a quick and easy way for organizations to share their mission and goals with a larger audience.

On 29th November 2022, we fully witnessed the power of social media in charitable fundraising. A simple hashtag (#GivingTuesday) raised a record $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. alone despite the tough global economic crisis.

The mass adoption of social media in the nonprofit space is not just a trend; it is also a picture of how philanthropy will be in the next decade. In the next decade, philanthropy will be driven by young, digitally savvy people who like their Instagram, Twitter, and iPhone and will be less interested in attending fundraising dinners and gala.

In the U.S., nearly all social platforms have launched some version of gamified fundraising tools. For instance, Donation Stickers by TikTok (and also Instagram and Facebook) can be embedded directly in videos and Tiktok LIVE streams. Through a platform partner, Tiktok LIVE makes donations as easy as a tap sticker, and a pop-up window guides the payment process. 

Amazon, the retail giant, has also introduced Amazon Smile, which is a user opt-in program that allows consumers to donate a small percentage of purchases to charities.

In China, the “Little safflowers” by Tencent Charity are virtual tokens that users can collect by participating in certain activities for good causes throughout the year on the WeChat app — China’s super app that rolls Whatsapp, GoFundMe, Instagram, Twitter, Fitbit, and others into one, and Tencent owns that — and then convert into money to donate to their charities of choice.   

What these crowdfunding initiatives have in common is that: they are gamified and built on top of everyday apps.

TikTok has 1.534 billion users, out of which 1 billion are monthly active users. Amazon has 300 million active users (that’s 10x the entire population of Ghana!), with 197 million people visiting every month. For WeChat, it probably has the entire population of China!

This makes embedding and gamifying crowdfunding crucial. They do not only remove friction to visiting a website, but they also lower the barrier to donating and further build giving habits on top of existing habits. 

Swiping through TikTok, shopping on Amazon, and using Wechat for daily errands are frictionless habits, and users don’t have to relearn or type a web address to donate.

Data and Gamified Crowdfunding Platform

Beyond cash, embedded and gamified crowdfunding platforms will put organizations in the real age of data analytics to better understand donor behavior and preferences. By collecting and analyzing data on donor demographics, giving patterns, and engagement levels, organizations can tailor their fundraising efforts better to meet the needs and interests of their supporters. This can help to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns and ultimately lead to more successful fundraising efforts.

Platform Gamification In Africa

In Africa, the gamification of crowdfunding is happening but as to how it will be built on top of our everyday platforms (embedded) is not yet clear. The issue of cross-border payment, fraud, and access to the internet are still big issues awaiting an urgent response from African governments and are likely to push its mass adoption on the continent a bit further.

In Ghana, where I am based, I have witnessed interesting gamification crowdfunding platforms like Mayekoo and Chango.

The Mayekoo platform allows people to donate to fund projects. After donating, you can enter a raffle to win incredible prizes such as a car, iPhone, cashback, and more.

A crowdfunding campaign by Mayekoo

The Chango platform also allows people to see the performance of the campaign in real-time and the people who donated (if it was a real game, donors would have been players)

The Mayekoo and Chango platforms are an interesting case study for the future of crowdfunding on the continent. Will Africa build its own gamified crowdfunding platforms and wouldn’t bother embedding it into our foreign apps? Or will its embedding be more local and native? How can such platforms translate users’ giving into sizable tickets and into a habit? These are questions that only time can answer.

However this may turn out, I strongly believe the immigration of Africans will accelerate how embedded, and gamified crowdfunding will happen on the continent.

The widespread of Africans across every corner of the world is enabling access to global payment systems and support (which would not have been possible to get in Africa). Non-profit Organizations are incorporating offshore and gradually turning from local players into global operators.

For instance, the Lenoir Foundation, founded by James Mawaka operates actively in Uganda and other East African countries, but it is incorporated in the UK. For this reason, Lenoir Foundation has been able to use Amazon Smile and Facebook fundraisers to raise money to support their E-lab project, which would have been very hard to do if it was only incorporated in Uganda.

African organizations are now rapidly incorporating in multiple countries and seesawing the globe in an interesting spiral, and the entry of global companies like Amazon, which just launched in South Africa and soon Nigeria, will all be key catalysts for this blossoming future of fundraising on the continent.

Overall, the future of nonprofit fundraising looks bright as technology and data analytics continue to evolve and provide new opportunities for organizations to connect with their supporters and drive donations. With the right strategy and approach, nonprofit organizations can continue to positively impact and support the causes they care about.

But to attract the new class of donors, organizations will need more than a white-label website to raise funds; they need to start thinking of embedded gamification because the next crowdfunding platform can be anything but not a mere website.

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