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4 ways to use WhatsApp for Fundraising and Crowdfunding

Published by Mario Alvarado Lucena on

How to use WhatsApp for fundraising and crowdfunding

A few years ago I could never imagine using WhatsApp as a tool for organizing citizens, campaigners and even less to push crowdfunding for social impact.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile apps used for one-to-one, group, or broadcast messaging, with several advantages:

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s encrypted end-to-end
  3. It’s one of the most widely used mobile apps in the world, with over 4.93 billion active users in 2018. 

More recently in a crowdsource document developed by Blue Prints for Change, we had discovered that this tool has a lot of different uses in advocacy and movement building.

WhatsApp can be used for:

  • communication between campaigners;
  • a platform for supporter community building;
  • a way to activate distributed networks;
  • a channel for crowdsourced knowledge;
  • and as a channel for crowdfunding campaigns. 

How big is WhatsApp around the world?

Whatsapp is a global distribution channel.

With 4.93 billion active users, predicted to rise to 5.07 by 2019 and high usage in the Global South.

WhatsApp has become the most widely used smartphone application in a number of countries, including India (where it has 200 million monthly active users), Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and Spain.  

It has become popular worldwide because it is mobile-based, uses little data (under 2kb per message) and is logistically simple.

That means you can be distributing campaign content and internal organizing material anywhere in the world without being reliant on mobile service providers or expensive data plans.

Many mobile service providers offer unlimited access to WhatsApp with their plans, meaning that users do not have to depend on having data active on their phones to be able to use the app.  

As global online campaign communities grow and flourish, we are learning that ease and accessibility are some of the biggest factors in the adoption of digital tools.

While access to a desktop computer can be limited based on region, there are almost as many cell-phone subscriptions (6.8 billion) as there are people on earth. 

New trends in a new power world 

And as time goes on, a lot of behaviours, trends, and values had changed and the skills of raising money are not unrelated to these changes.

In a world where informal networks and self-organisation has arisen with the collaboration and crowd wisdom of sharing open source content and knowledge with radical transparency, generating a do-it-ourselves ethic it is no surprise for campaigners, organisers and fundraisers.

We need to change our mindset, taking into account new short-term conditional affiliations and open ourselves, our organisations an initiatives to a more open participation.

This participatory and more horizontal experience is multiplying across all the world and showing us new models that reinforce the human instinct to cooperate, rather to compete, by rewarding those who share their own ideas or assets, spread those for others, or even build on existing ideas to make them better.

In a New Power world as presented by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, I have learned that we need to develop a new skill set when generating funding – be it via revenues, investment or donations.

How to use WhatsApp for Fundraising and Crowdfunding

Here are 4 tips you can use when thinking on using WhatsApp as a Fundraising and Crowdfunding channel.

1. What is your cause and what makes it special 

When going on a crowdfunding quest you better be able to tell your cause story, the Why.

Why is it important, why is this different from other attempts of crowdfunding?

Make it a SUCCES story.   

  • S – Explain it in a simple way– easy to remember and retell, two scenes, two characters, minimal plot.
  • U – Be unexpected to get attention, to hold attention, use curiosity gaps. (What are Saturn’s rings made of?) Before your message can stick, your audience has to want it.
  • C – Use sensory language and be concrete. Paint a mental picture.
  • C – Remember ideas can get credibility from outside (authorities or anti-authorities) or from within, using human-scale statistics or vivid metaphors. Let people “try before they buy.”
  • E – But be aware of using too much data, remember that people care about people, not numbers, include emotions, identity appeals can often trump self-interest. 
  • S – And finally, use stories to help people see how an existing problem might change. 

2. Identify and build your network 

Before you launch your crowdfunding campaign is quite important to identify your contact network.

Who are those people you are going to ask first?

Well, they are your folks, friends, family, co-workers and you!

If you don’t believe and are attracted to your cause, how do you expect others do so?

An excel list with names, emails, phones will help you to systematise your first audience but do not limit the campaign to these contacts.

Create a community, a WhatsApp broadcast list or a group first with champions for your cause and ask them to feed this group with other champions, “evangelisers” to promote your campaign.

3. Think ACE 

ACE stands for the three design principles to making an idea spread:

  1. Actionable, design your idea to do something, I mean something more than admire, remember and consume. It must have a call to action and begin with sharing but go beyond. 
  2. Connected, Make your idea promotes a peer to peer connection with audiences that you care about or share values with. Connecting ideas brings you closer to other people and make you feel part of something bigger than you. 
  3. Extensible, your campaign should be easily customised, remixed, shaped and reshaped by your participants and audiences. Encourage your community and network to alter and extend it.

4. Know your data 

With appropriate monitoring and analysis carried out at each stage of the campaign cycle, you will ensure optimal digital campaigning that maximizes peaks of public interest in campaign topics, for growth and impact and document learnings to share.

Explore your ideas and options for implementation, understand your audience needs, motivations and barriers to taking action with the campaign. 

Be open to feedback, as it will help you decide which ideas will be most effective in achieving your objective.

Based on results and feedback, you can refine your ideas to amplify what’s working, improve what can be fixed and eliminate elements that won’t benefit the campaign.

Happy messaging, y’all!


Mario Alvarado Lucena

Mario Alvarado Lucena

Mario is a creative Internationalist interested in social change, communication and politics. He currently works as Digital Campaigner for the Americas with IS of Amnesty International articulating digital campaigns for social change and citizen participation.

27 Comments

SYED RAFIQUE ALI · October 21, 2019 at 05:40

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    Sandhya Kandathil · April 22, 2020 at 12:20

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Suresh Kumar · April 13, 2020 at 21:44

Hi friends this is Suresh. There are more than 75% daily wages people in my area are striving for food due to Corona.

Even a little contribution can help them. Please contribute.

Not a compulsion, just a request

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Kavitha R Ramaiah · June 24, 2020 at 20:20

Hi All,

Myself kavitha Ramaiah, due current situation many of us are suffering in different way, but we can pass from this situation too by helping each other.

We have a small organization called Evren delight which helps poor migrated workers, disabled people in getting basic commodities and basics like food, clothes and other.

One trust in humanity and god, kindly donate what ever you can and also pass on these numbers to various groups for group help and group funding.

In this crucial time let’s not leave one and other hands.

You can transfer through gpay, phone pe and even paytm tooo 7406214713..

Kindly in the name of humanity kindly help. And even you can write to evren.delight@gmail.com.

    Tharun · June 26, 2020 at 05:22

    Dear all I am Tharun, my uncle has lost his two kidneys by doing some work to run his family in this deadly corona lockdown. He has now permitted to bed and there is no source of income to his family, now his son left his studies to look after the family
    We are looking for the kidney transplantation, and need some help from you people
    Please donate if possible, your small donation can save a family which is in real pandamic

    I request all of you to donate generously

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    Here is the link to donate the amount of your wish
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    Hope you all will help a family to stand

      Mohammad faiz · August 29, 2020 at 08:59

      Hallo,Guten Tag ,Ich bin a mechanical engineering student from india.Right now I’m going through so tough financial problems,due to this covid19 Lockdown period .I’m final year student now I’m preparing for ms (mechanical engineering) from Germany so for that I’ll have to collect 10236€ for block account &which of them I’ve arranged 3000€ but Highly needed support for 7236€ for my career purpose.i belong to a middle class (normal) family never faced financial problem but This quarantine/lockdown period destroyed my father’s business & now I’m here for getting help if you’ve or you are able to then please help me,I know it’s a huge amount whatever you can do you can pay that .I’m real not fake If you believe/understanding the situation I’m going through then help me & if not then stay happy & prosperous because God have provided you all the physical facilities & be thankful of God. Thanks & warm Regard. It’s my google pay/phonepay/amazonpay mobile no.+918090164174 or upi is 8090164174@apl/8090164174@paytm/mohdfaizan1700@oksbi

ADRINE JOSEPH · September 26, 2020 at 13:27

*Support the voiceless.*

 Hello, friends, this is Adrine joseph here I am a student and I love street dogs a lot. I love feeding street dogs and taking care of them and once in month, I give them a bath. So, friends, I feed more than 150 dogs every day. I love taking care of them. But nowadays due to some financial problem I cant provide them proper food and medicine. And as these dogs are growing they need proper food so friends I want to continue feeding street dogs and this can happen with your guys support .please help me so that I can feed them properly and regularly.      Whenever I see street dogs who are need of food I want to support them by giving them food. I at least take 80 kg of dog food per month so it is very difficult for me to manage so friends please help me. need your support Thankyou
Payment details

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Naseer Ahmed · October 10, 2020 at 19:38

sir. My near most poor.discovert uneducated children diseses ailig and other embiter i want to help them for huminaty.

    Erick Ogutu · May 28, 2021 at 08:04

    Help me here sir, in mukuru kwa njega, need help urgently caring for a mother who just gave

      Erick Ogutu · May 28, 2021 at 08:08

      Pay details
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      Faroque · April 19, 2022 at 18:04

      Dear respect brother and sister,

      Please I like to request you a little help to educate 375 Rohingya children in the world’s largest refugee camp Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

      Please contact me via WhatsApp or direct at +8801833928178

      Thank you very much.

Shaziya · October 14, 2020 at 12:14

Helllo everyone my name is shaziya nd i need money urgently my family nd i is in problm please help us i need 2 lakh rupees for my debuts i will really thank for to u all guys if u will save my life please i need help support me
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Shaziya · October 14, 2020 at 12:15

Helllo everyone my name is shaziya nd i need money urgently my family nd i is in problm please help us i need 2 lakh rupees for my debuts i will really thank for to u all guys if u will save my life please i need help support me i need all ur support nd please pray for me allah will help me soon
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Ifcs BARB0MIRARO

Gnanasekhar · December 1, 2020 at 17:11

Hai Friends
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emmanuel · December 13, 2020 at 15:16

Pls I need someone to support me please I need $200 to buy a laptop so that Ivan become a indie game dev please help me fulfill my dream please help me build my future thanks.
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My name Mohsin · December 19, 2020 at 21:29

I need funds to start my business and complete study any one help me contact on whatsapp+923049545127

    Christopher Bassey · July 30, 2021 at 00:22

    Thank you for giving an opportunity to express my intention. I am a Heath worker, I live in Nigeria. I have an intention to travel to the USA to work there. I need some funds to secure my passage. My current job engagement does no afford me enough funds to purchase my visa, air ticket and book accommodation in order to travel. So I need some financial assistance from well-wishers to enable me accomplish this and engage with my opportunities overseas. My account number is 1405662761, Acess Bank, Uyo, Nigeria.

    Christopher Bassey · July 30, 2021 at 00:27

    Thank you for giving an opportunity to express my intention. I am a Heath worker, I live in Nigeria. I have an intention to travel to the USA to work there. I need some funds to secure my passage. My current job engagement does no afford me enough funds to purchase my visa, air ticket and book accommodation in order to travel. So I need some financial assistance from well-wishers to enable me accomplish this and engage with my opportunities overseas. My account number is 1405662761, Acess Bank, Uyo, Nigeria.
    For contacts my WhatsApp number is +2348165815479.

Nasim Shaikh · December 20, 2020 at 20:30

Hi my name is nasim shaikh I’m 25 year old I’m suffering from brain tumor I need money for my treatment 5500 USD plz help me I have 1 baby girl they will die if I die I have no one in my family Else my wife and my daughter
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chigozie · January 28, 2021 at 01:35

Go to crowd fundraising today to assist people who needs your help

bharti · February 4, 2021 at 06:56

Hi,

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    Faroque · April 19, 2022 at 18:03

    Dear respect brother and sister,

    Please I like to request you a little help to educate 375 Rohingya children in the world’s largest refugee camp Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

    Please contact me via WhatsApp or direct at +8801833928178

    Thank you very much.

mohd avesh · May 22, 2021 at 09:07

hello my name is mohd avesh i am from delhi, my mother suffering from brain hammarrage she need good treatment and due to corona govt hospital not caring perfectly so i need to go good private hospital for my mother treatment and there is huge fees to pay my mother treatment please help me out for small donation..
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https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/my-mother-is-fighting-for-her-life-and-we-need-your-support-to-save-her-353696?utm_medium=copy&utm_content=8858a4e7fe601de236a22564ebd4529c&shby=1&utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=my-mother-is-fighting-for-her-life-and-we-need-your-support-to-save-her-353696

Piyush Didolkar · May 23, 2021 at 08:53

My Mother Mrs. Vrushali Didolkar was diagnosed with URINARY BLADDER CANCER. Her condition is worsening day by day and doctors are suggesting an immediate surgery, which costs around 4,70,000/- rs.
Our savings have already exhausted in pre and post-treatment and thus we seek financial help for the final major operation. Your little donation will bless our family.
Paytm/Gpay/Upi
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Shrirang Didolkar.
Bank of India
Gopur Square Branch Indore
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THANK YOU
~ Piyush Didolkar

James Onyango · June 24, 2021 at 12:54

I have a fundraising on July via whatsup group please help to pursue my career (Water technology).mpsa no.0745718068

Pranav Kumar · June 24, 2021 at 17:03

Pranav Kumar
A/c no 309003434059
IFSC code RATN0000142
Paytm , phone pay & Google pay 9205052949
Due to the lockdown, my financial condition has become very bad, all the deposits I had have been exhausted, I need financial assistance, I request you to kindly help me if possible. Because now I have nothing left so that I can take care of my family.There are two small children in the house, now there is no money left even for food and milk, you guys are the last hope, please extend a helping hand. And share further, I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life. For me even one rupee given by you means a lot.
Thank you.

Rahul · March 5, 2022 at 10:24

Hi friends,
Support Raghavan Recover from Liver Transplant

Campaign Story – My name is Rahul c and I am here to raise funds for my father Raghavan who is 61 years old. Raghavan lives in Kasargod, Kerala with his spouse & children. He is currently retired. Raghavan is suffering from liver transplant from the few days. He is currently admitted and receiving Liver Transplant in AKG Memorial Cooperative Hospital, Kannur, Kerala. Until now, they (we’)ve spent about Rs. 2,00,000. we’ve arranged amount from savings & loans. In the next few days, we need Rs.35,00,000 more for future treatment and liver transplant . Please come forward to support my cause. Any contribution will be of immense help. Do contribute and share this crowdfunding fundraiser link with your friends and family.
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