Card Linking

Using micro-donations for more sustainable fundraising

Driven by younger generations and new tech, giving through micro-donations, called micro-philanthropy, has the potential to change the giving space.

We all have a desire to make a difference and help, but it can be daunting to think about the sheer size and seriousness of the problems that face us. Climate change, for example, seems to be a problem so huge that it needs a Patagonia-sized amount of money in order to be able to even begin contending with. 

The reality is, however, quickly changing. 

The days when philanthropy was purely the domain of the rich and famous are fading with the advent of new technologies and mindsets. Enter the world of micro-donations where everyone (yes, even you) can become a micro-philanthropist. 

What is micro-philanthropy and micro-donations?

Micro-philanthropy is the idea of giving smaller donations to charities. These so-called micro-donations generally range from $0.25 to $25 in size.

Micro-philanthropy is the idea of giving smaller donations to charities. These so-called micro-donations generally range from $0.25 to $25 in size. Younger generations, including Millennials and Gen-X, make up a sizeable portion of micro-donors. For instance, Millennials and Gen-X generations made up nearly 50% of all GoFundMe donors.

Despite their “micro-ness”, micro-donations have the ability to galvanize great change because they are typically more frequent, and thus give charities and causes the ability to depend on more reliable sources of funding. 

The benefits of micro-philanthropy

For charities and non-profits, micro-philanthropy offers a newer, and potentially more sustainable way to raise funds. A few benefits include:

  1. Widening the donor base. Because the donation amount is smaller, they appeal to a wider audience. If it’s easy to give a few cents or dollars here and there, many more people will. 

  2. Extending giving and resources. Today, almost one-third of all giving happens in December (a time of year when most of us are thinking about charity). For causes, this becomes a critical period to contend for attention and donations, otherwise funding for the new year might be in peril. Micro-philanthropy helps extend the giving period. 

  3. Appealing to younger generations. After multiple economic catastrophes and rising costs, younger generations simply have not been able to build wealth similar to Boomers. At the same time, they are more familiar with social media and digital platforms that make it easier to give (such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter). Digital micro-donations, therefore, are more natural to them.
  4. Democratizing charitable giving. While $1 on its own likely won’t do very much to combat climate change, lots of $1 from millions of people certainly can. For example, after the disastrous 2010 earthquake in Haiti, more than $30 million was pledged through mobile donations via SMS. 

The technology driving micro-philanthropy and micro-donations

Previously, the idea of micro-donations was hampered by credit card transaction fees of $0.30 per transaction. However, with the rise of mobile payments and digital wallets, these fees are decreasing or practically non-existent. 

Furthermore, technology and ideas that blend naturally into micro-donations, such as digital roundups (where the total transaction amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the change is deposited to an account or a charity), cash-forward (when retailers will donate an amount based on your transaction to a cause on your behalf), matching (when employers or retailers match your donation in kind), and more. 

The future of charitable giving and donations

Micro-philanthropy and micro-donations are set to rise in popularity as the technology gains momentum and people see an easier, simpler and faster way to give and integrate charity into their daily lives. 

Imagine all those daily coffee runs helping to fund cutting-edge cancer research, or rebuild a city, or rebuild someone's life. The future of donating is here today, where everyone can become a philanthropist, and make the world a better place to be in.

Olive and micro-philanthropy

Olive was founded on the idea that charitable giving should be simple and easy. We provide the technology for fundraising organizations to set up 10-second card-linking that allows donors to round up their donations with every purchase. There's no screen-scraping involved and users are able to set up their giving patterns easily within the platform. 

Over time, rounding up purchases leads to more donations on average, more stable financing for the organization, and a more reliable relationship with donors. 

To learn more about how Olive works, schedule a chat with us today.

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