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The shift towards digital technologies has opened new doors to how civil society groups raise funds, but it also raises challenges for fundraisers, a new comparative research by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) has found.
The research explores the trends and benefits, as well as potential risks, and the global standards and national regulation that affect digital fundraising.
The paper provides an overview of the current digital trends shaping the ecosystem of fundraising such as the spread of e-payment systems, the climate crisis, the closing civic space and the rise of misinformation, and showcases how digital fundraising has flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights that launching an online campaign is now relatively easy and cost-effective, with the process of identifying target groups and reaching them able to move rapidly due to the large amount of information available. Processing donations is also easier thanks to the digital tools available.
However, it also explores the risks and challenges associated with digital technology, including profiling, the increasing roles of intermediaries in designing algorithms, managing data and controlling content, data ownership and more.
ECNL’s report includes too an overview of the global and regional policies that affect the right to seek, receive and use funds generally, and the use of digital technologies specifically, as well as a look at how co-regulation and self-regulation can help.
Commenting on the report, Eszter Hartay, ECNL’s Senior Legal Manager said:
“Although digital technologies are used widely, we believe there is still a lack of wider awareness of their implications. It is important to continue the conversation on how regulation can support a better environment for digital fundraising. Our research and follow up expert discussions aim to stir dialogue on this.”
It is hoped that gaining an overview of global examples outlined in ECNL’s research can help civic groups consider solutions that best support their digital fundraising efforts.