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Making Charitable Giving Easier in a Virtual World

Post-pandemic, non-profits continue to rely on digital tools and expert advice to meet fundraising goals and stay connected with benefactors

Despite the crisis times of the pandemic being over, the impacts persist for many industries. The world of fundraising is one that continues its recovery, with many charities working to catch up to pre-pandemic levels of donor activity.

In March 2020, the pandemic had an immediate impact on many charitable organizations. Those that would normally be getting ready for their annual or seasonal walks, runs, or rides were forced to lock down instead. Non-profits had to make quick decisions about what to do with their fundraising events: cancel, postpone, scale down, or move to an online-only approach.

Caught in a tough position, charities had little choice but to rethink how they operated. How would they support their communities, foster loyalty, and nurture repeat grassroots donors when people were no longer able to attend events in-person, nor even see their colleagues, friends or family face-to-face? 

Charity Dynamics is a Volaris-owned business that helped non-profit clients get through this immensely challenging time. Their staff draw on their deep expertise to offer support services, strategic consulting, and digital tools to some of North America’s largest non-profit organizations. 

The company is known for having expertise in peer-to-peer fundraising and is a leading provider of digital services and mobile fundraising apps to the world's top non-profit organizations.

Meghan Dankovich has been the General Manager of Charity Dynamics since 2021. Before that, she served in several senior executive roles within the company, including in customer care, strategic consulting, marketing, and product delivery.

“Peer-to-peer fundraising is centered around bringing large groups of people together to do a shared activity, like a walk in their community or run a marathon together,” explains Meghan Dankovich, General Manager of Charity Dynamics. “To be advised by the government to not gather groups of people physically, that basically shut down event fundraising for our clients.”

Pivoting Events by Adapting Digital Tools

As non-profits came to terms with the restrictions of the pandemic during its early stages, Charity Dynamics got to work adapting their digital tools. Building on their existing suite of mobile fundraising applications, the company rolled out new digital solutions to help clients bolster donor engagement and keep events going virtually. 

Acting with agility in a pandemic situation came naturally to the company since the agency is constantly adapting to client needs both on the professional services and development sides of the business. 

“During that time, we created a sort of think tank to ask ourselves: ‘What do we need to do technologically to make it safe and easy for people to continue to fundraise in the peer-to-peer space?’” says Dankovich.

Their big brainstorm resulted in several new ideas. First, Charity Dynamics was able to create an activity tracking module on one of their existing applications, which encouraged people to still participate physically in annual fundraising events, only individually while still following pandemic restrictions.

“For example, it meant that people who couldn’t come together with 5,000 other people for an event in downtown Austin, could still do that walk in their own neighborhood. They could track their steps through the app, show people the results of their walk on their social media channels, and still raise money,” says Dankovich.

Maintaining Donor Engagement Between Events

Many charities in the peer-to-peer fundraising sector face the challenge of keeping participants and donors interested during the long periods between events, which may only happen once or twice per year. Outside the fundraising window of a few weeks or months, charities need to stay connected to their communities in a meaningful way. That remains a priority even after the pandemic, with fewer people returning to in-person runs, walks, and rides.

Participation, even as events have returned in-person largely, is below pre-pandemic levels.

-Meghan Dankovich, General Manager, Charity Dynamics 

“The reality is that a lot of people who participate in these events may be immunocompromised, especially for many of our disease-oriented charities,” says Dankovich.

Charity Dynamics tools that help address this challenge include Engage by Charity Dynamics, a mobile platform where clients can curate information that’s most interesting to the varying segments of their constituency and distribute it at timely and personalized intervals throughout the year. Between events, the software allows like-minded participants to stay connected in an online community, while keeping the charity and its purpose top-of-mind.

Meanwhile, other mobile app modules from the company can help charity organizations with everything from engagement to fundraising to contactless check-in.

Beyond Tech Tools

Charity Dynamics is more than just a tech provider to clients. The company operates like an agency and offers professional consulting services to non-profits, including digital marketing and fundraising strategies. Extended customer service solutions even include operating call centers on behalf of clients during fundraising periods.

Clients who meet with a consultant at Charity Dynamics typically begin by having a conversation about what pain point they’re trying to solve, or what needle they’re trying to move. 

Then their staff work together to customize a solution for the client. This often means that their consultants work hand-in-hand with a UX designer to ensure the digital user experience is positive and that users feel trust in the tool. 

The tool must be easy to use. We don’t want to give the user any reason to not fill in the donation form or to abandon the registration form.

-Meghan Dankovich, General Manager, Charity Dynamics

The Next Chapter for Charity Dynamics: Growing to Serve Customers Even Better 

Volaris acquired Charity Dynamics in July 2020, during those early months of the pandemic when Charity Dynamics was in huddle mode, pushing to find meaningful solutions for their clients in the non-profit sector. 

Dankovich had the opportunity to be part of the company before and after it was acquired by Volaris.

“When I look back at Charity Dynamics before the acquisition, we were really a small and mighty company, always punching above our weight, and it served us well,” says Dankovich. “But we rarely paused to look deeply into our operations or really consider what path we wanted moving forward. Volaris has brought formality and structure to the table that we didn’t have before.”

Dankovich says she and her team can now frequently take advantage of legal, talent management and financial expertise that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

“The rigor that Volaris brings to the table in terms of financial reporting, modelling, tracking, and talent management is something I appreciate,” says Dankovich. “It forces us to always be mindful about numbers and make data-driven decisions at every turn, and make sure we treat our people as our biggest asset.”

Every company has their own unique set of challenges. With Volaris, the biggest take away for me is to see the big picture and to constantly be reminded of the long-term view.

-Meghan Dankovich, General Manager, Charity Dynamics

Read more:

Charity Dynamics case study
Charity Dynamics website: Online fundraising and mobile solutions
Learn more about the companies in the Volaris non-profit vertical