Jakarta – Even though in general the funds raised by most non-profits has decreased due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the trend of donations through digital platforms has increased significantly. Millennial donors are one of the potential donors who give through digital platforms. Here are some trends and behaviour of online donations by Indonesians during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the discussion from the Philanthropy Learning Forum ‘Digital Philanthropy in Indonesia: Prospects and Challenges’ (17/12).
The increase in digital donations each year is acknowledged by many crowdfunding platforms and philanthropic institutions in Indonesia. This further confirms that the change in human activities to the digital platform has penetrated social activities, like giving/donating. The rise of fundraising efforts through humanist narratives on social media has encouraged people to donate through digital applications. That is why it is not wrong to say that social media a powerful tool for marketing information about donations.
At the end of 2020, together with Kopernik, GoPay launched a study describing the digital donation ecosystem in Indonesia. The research titled ‘GoPay Digital Donation Outlook 2020‘ looks at people’s motivation to donate digitally, the online platforms they use, and what benefits they receive from digital donations. The research shows that millennials donate more often than other age groups. Health issues and social justice issues received the most donations by donors. In addition, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, it was noted that the acquisition of digital donations increased by 72%. Digital donation transactions using GoPay also have doubled during the pandemic.
With these findings, Winny Triswandhani, Head of Corporate Communication at GoPay, revealed that GoPay is more eager to educate people on digital donation. The hope is that more and more people will donate cashless to other development issues in the country.
Digital Donation Education
Dr. Firman Kurniawan, a professor at University of Indonesia and also an expert on digital and marketing communication, underlined the statement that education for digital donation still needs to be improved, especially outside of the major cities in Indonesia. According to Dr. Kurniawan, we need to emphasize that education on online giving must be distinguished from the methods as referred to in ‘market education’. From marketing communication practice point of view, market education depends on Cognitive Dissonance Theory (which is to generate cognitive discomfort due to dissonance in the audience). However, in giving practices, we must minimize creating a sense of care and call to action to donate based on cognitive discomfort. Continuous exploitation of the cognitive discomfort of the target audience for a period of time could create immunity or indifference.
A sincere compassion that leads to donation should not be exploited so that potential donors would not feel numb. Everything comes back to the basis of donation, which is “trust”. Trust from donors need to be established and maintained, but not exploited. Here is a simple illustration, starting from an invitation to donate from a philanthropic organization that communicates that there are people in need out there, then the donations are channelled through digital devices / applications, and all the donations collected are managed by credible philanthropic institutions (not everyone can become donation collectors).
On the same occasion, Hilman Latief, chairman of the LAZISMU Executive Board, revealed that the development of digital philanthropy in Indonesia cannot be separated from the role of the urban middle class group. Social cohesion between urban and rural communities is different. In the village, there are lots of spaces and opportunities for social activities. Meanwhile, in the city it is rare. The social cohesion of urban communities is low because there is no strong interaction space. However, it does not mean that there is no solidarity in urban communities. In fact, in urban areas, there is something called ‘hidden solidarity’ or ‘silent solidarity’ that we should explore.
To explore the silent solidarity of urban communities, the digital platform can be utilized in such a way. One of the ways that philanthropy can do is to invite people to get involved and donate. The presence of a digital platform that makes donations easier can stimulate silent solidarity. On the other hand, it is a challenge for some philanthropic organizations to be able to seize this opportunity by “advancing” to a digital level.
Beside silent solidarity, another opportunity that can be captured from urban youth is the tendency of young people who donate in small amounts, but they are large in number of people (quantity). This will benefit philanthropic organizations who fundraise in public because they could attract many donors.
Solidarity and Identity
Adding to GoPay’s findings, Hamid Abidin, Executive Director of Filantropi Indonesia, revealed that giving and donating, in fact, is not only related to solidarity but also related to personal or group identities who want to be recognized in society.
In Seven Faces of Philanthropy, an overview of people’s motivations in doing philanthropy, there are many motivations for people to do social activities. The seven motivations are: the communitarian (doing good makes sense), the devout (doing good is God’s will), the investor (doing good is good business), the socialite (doing good is fun), the altruist (doing good feels right), the repayer (doing good in return), and the dynast (doing good is the family’s tradition).
In GoPay Digital Donation Outlook 2020, people’s motivation to donate digitally is still too general, such as donating because they are asked to or contacted by philanthropic institutions. If the report could also explore and correlate them to the Seven Faces of Philanthropy, there could be many more details revealed. For example, there are many philanthropic activities based on someone’s community or hobbies, such as group alms, rice sharing communities, book alms, and so on.
Another thing Abidin highlights is that donations through digital applications help donations become more organized. In fact, later on, a structured program and a clear monitoring and evaluation scheme can be made. Thus, philanthropy has also developed away from conventional patterns, from being loyal to institutions into concern for social issues that really need assistance, from direct giving to beneficiaries to being managed by philanthropic organizations to be more strategic and long-term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added more lessons to philanthropy practices in Indonesia. The role of donors is getting bigger, from just donating money / goods to becoming campaigners who can mobilize other people to contribute. Mass media philanthropy, which usually stands out during natural disasters, has switched to crowdfunding and influencer-based philanthropy. The strategies used to fundraise are also increasingly diverse. While many people are tired of staying at home to avoid the COVID-19 virus, many innovations are born. For example, music concerts via YouTube and online auctions for charities.
When all donations are done completely through digital platforms, then we should really focus on the data security and the code of ethics as major concerns for everyone.
To access the GoPay Digital Donation Outlook research, click this link: https://bit.ly/GOPAYDDO2020
To watch the full webinar Philanthropy Learning Forum ‘Digital Philanthropy in Indonesia: Prospects and Challenges’ (in Indonesian) go to: https://youtu.be/dOy5bPRBzEU