What makes digital giving click in India?

The key determinants and deterrents of giving online by Indian donors

The use of the Internet in fundraising is a growing phenomenon globally. Online donation platforms are becoming increasing important for non-profits to reach a broader donor population at a relatively low cost. Particularly in a developing country like India, where Internet use is flourishing, online platforms have helped fundraisers reach a population hitherto difficult to reach. Despite the promising picture, however, less than 10% of the $8.3 – 17 billion raised by NGOs in India annually is reportedly generated online.

While most NGOs acknowledge the growing significance of online giving, it has been found that many lack the expertise to benefit from it. This, however, is a trend not exclusive to India. Waters argues that while “early adopters” in the global non-profit sector are indeed using social media to further their fundraising efforts, the majority are lagging behind.

“Donors online are easier and less resource-intensive to track, keep informed and re-approach for future donations.” – CAF, 2015

Two key studies on India’s fundraising landscape draw similar inferences on the determinants of online giving. CAF found that donors in India are placing a stronger emphasis on reporting, transparency and engagement; with many still concerned about the safety and security of donating online. Similarly, NPC’s report on giving in India found that the main barriers to giving by Indian donors are “lack of trust, lack of transparency and concern about corruption”.

Hence, as Shier and Handy point out, “perception of the organization” in terms of its reputation and trustworthiness of the information received, plays an important role in influencing online donations in India. In other words, people who perceive an NGO more positively are more likely to donate online.

So, can we conclude that the perceived NGO reputation of ‘trustworthiness and transparency’ are key influencers of online giving in India? What are your thoughts?