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How Digital is Transforming Crowdfunding in India Here's how social media is in fact one of the most important tactics for connecting supporters to an institution

By Anoj Viswanathan

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Crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds for personal causes and find supporters online globally. Whether it's to help a friend who is suffering from cancer or protect a lake in the community, many people have raised funds successfully through online fundraisers.

Crowdfunding as a concept is not new to India. It has existed for years wherein people would pool in money from communities to better public services, construct temples, organise weddings, for community celebrations and so forth. Crowdfunding platforms today are only taking this behaviour online by making it more organised and transparent while enabling people to lobby support from around the world. Slowly and gradually, more and more people are opting for the digital route to contribute for causes.

Raising money with it's help

Raising big money from crowdfunding may seem like an easy way to fund a cause. However, it requires your time and attention for a campaign to be a success. Crowdfunding campaigns or fundraisers require planning and preparation in advance. Creating visibility for a crowdfunding campaign is as important as putting the cause out on a platform.

Changes in working

The crowdfunding market has also undergone numerous changes over the past few years. While the crowdfunding trend is gaining traction, it has also transformed people's expectations. Ease of use and transparency are a prerequisite for all crowdfunding projects.

Merits of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms provide a simple and hassle-free way to raise funds. Digital payments have made it easier for people to contribute towards personal and social causes they care about. This is especially true in the case of medical crowdfunding, where the need is urgent. Through online payments, funds can be transferred in a quick, reliable way.

Digital crowdfunding platforms not only communicate a crying need to a larger audience, but also ensure the legitimacy of a cause. These platforms have dedicated teams and stringent checks and parameters to confirm both, the need and the person raising funds. Moreover, most platforms also make it mandatory for people raising funds to post updates on the fundraiser page showing donors how their contributions are utilised. This brings in the much-needed transparency into the process.

As technology continues to evolve, audiences are finding new online tools and digital places to hang out. Social media has become an absolute access point for discovery, referrals and trust building – all of which are essential for building a donor list or gaining support for the cause.

Social media and crowdfunding

Social media and crowdfunding are a natural combination. It helps you demonstrate a personalised story and extend reach beyond your known network. But the million dollar question is whether social media really works. Do you really need a great story to raise funds successfully? To which the answer is a clear "Yes'. You need to combine social media with your crowdfunding efforts in order to create a greater impact and connect with more people around the world who may or may not know you.

Social media is, in fact, one of the most important tactics for connecting supporters to an institution/organisation. This goes for all engagement projects, and crowdfunding is no different. It gives you the ability to engage your supporters where they are – online. It also gives you the opportunity to create new connections.

For your crowdfunding efforts to be successful, you must be looking beyond your current community. Social media lets your current supporters and your new supporters easily share your crowdfunding efforts. You can expand your community with every click, like and share. It may happen sometimes that the crowd you are looking for is not necessarily looking for you. This is where social media helps the most. It has become a proven way to reach out to specific communities and groups where a certain need matters.

Every generation is different, so how you reach them is going to be different. Social media analytics can help you in using the right tools to reach the relevant potential supporters for your cause.

Online fundraising can empower anyone with access to online payments, e-wallets, or just a smartphone, to participate in making a difference with great ease. More and more people are now raising funds online to tackle emergencies more efficiently. Increasing digital access, the convenience of online payments and an enormous growth in the use of smartphones are driving more and more Indians to take the digital route to mobilise greater support for urgent needs in time. Thus, it is evident that digital advancement is transforming crowdfunding at a micro level, making it a trend to watch out for in the upcoming years.

Anoj Viswanathan

President and Co-Founder, Milaap

An alumnus of the National University of Singapore, Anoj is the Co-founder and President of Milaap. He largely oversees all operations (campaigns, business development, digital marketing and technology) at Milaap.

Anoj has been associated with the world of microfinance and business development through his professional roles with the Microfinance Society of Singapore, SKS Microfinance, ReEx Capital Asia, D. light design, Frost & Sullivan and Microappli.

It is this experience of Anoj that led him to fully utilize the power of microfinancing for projects across the country through Milaap.

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