Thursday 28 July 2016
Any project that requires consistent, long-term change can benefit massively from the power of Internet. The Internet can, and has been a tool to educate, involve, and become an avenue of fundraising and garnering unprecedented volumes of support, and amplify any real-life campaigns for social change. The open, free and abundant nature of the web makes it a perfect match for charitable institutions, who use it to uplift the downtrodden and the exploited. 'Online activism' is easy to do, and presents many tangible ways of achieving change.
1. Donate money to charity online
A one-time or a regular donation can be easily set up for online transfers for causes. App based banking, instant online access and high speeds make it possible for any Indian to donate money within minutes. It is also the easiest and fastest way you can make a difference to a cause you support. And it's not even too expensive - you can donate money equivalent to the amount of you would spend on movies at a cinema hall, having coffee with friends at an expensive cafe, or that new dress or suit you've been eyeing for a while.
Just set a registered NGO as a beneficiary, and then transmit money. Money donated to a formally registered NGO earns donors tax rebates, giving you a substantial tax deduction when Income Tax Returns (ITR) season comes around.
2. Support charities on social media
People spend a substantial amount of their time, and therefore develop followings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This social capital can be encashed - without you spending a penny, and also earn you the respect of your peers, as you will be seen as someone who uses these platforms for a good cause, instead of just seeking attention.
Here's how you can use social media to increase awareness:
i. Share and like posts: NGOs like Save the Children actively display their campaigns, work and achievements on Facebook, Twitter and other leading social media platforms. Online, you can get real-time access to events, achievements, campaigns, and other important updates, and share them with friends and family and thus, contribute to the cause of children.
ii. Invite friends: It is equally easy to invite your social media contacts to awareness events, fundraising and any other campaigns for social good. People need to be involved and engaged, in order to amplify support. Invite friends to Like the groups, and then also Share essential information like fundraising goals with them.
iii. Simply hitting the 'Retweet' button adds a lot of mileage, as today's Twitter trends become the breaking news of tomorrow.
Your social media audiences are also your first and foremost readers, making it great for you to set up a blog. Serious bloggers are respected, and enjoy credibility for their commitment to causes. Blogs are easy and free to set up; anyone can begin writing about contemporary social issues, and the NGOs and other initiatives to provide aid and support. Social media teams of NGOs reach out to these bloggers and give them foremost access to their work, events, campaigns and more. Many bloggers simply curate social campaigns locally as well as internationally and become a source of inspiration for others.
4. Become an online fundraiser
You can encourage others to contribute. NGOs like Save the Children are running several projects simultaneously, making it necessary to obtain constant fundraising, especially in disaster situations.
A variety of crowdfunding platforms lets anyone sponsor causes like donate for education. Micro-funding like Bitcoin lets funders provide donation as small as a few cents - these donations add up after massive awareness. Crowdfunding sites set up fundraising targets to sponsor schools, health care centres, water purification units and other deliverables for social good.
ii. Mobilising on-ground activism
Events like concerts, dinners, telethons can drive brands, philanthropists and the common public to donate and pledge large support. Social media can popularize these events, and ensure these enjoy real-time traction to increase visibility.
There is so much you can do, with just the press of a few buttons, even if it is just ‘Liking’ a post by Save the Children - it can go towards giving a new lease of life to children in need. You have the power to drive social momentum - at least one of your few hundred friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter will see this, and possibly give a little bit. Clearly, you don't need to spend a penny of your own money, and your wealth of friends and family can translate into fundraising and emotional support.