3 Considerations for a COVID-19 Christmas Fundraising Campaign

In this time of uncertainty, organisations worldwide struggled to continue with their traditional campaign strategies, which leveraged mostly on Face-to-Face engagement. With the pandemic seemingly here to stay, organisations have no choice but to adapt and rely on creative and virtual approaches.

Like Christmas, Ramadan is a time of giving. Reflecting on how the COVID-19 Ramadan campaigns performed during the height of the pandemic earlier this year, here are some key learnings to consider for your COVID-19 Christmas campaign!

1) Convey the spirits, values, and traditions of the season

With people forced to adhere to the limitations and restrictions brought on by the new normal, your approach needs to reflect on your sentiment to preserve the values of the season.

A fine balance needs to be struck between the urgent fundraising brought on due to the pandemic, whilst keeping to the core values of the season; the spirit of goodwill and sharing.

Because this is a peak fundraising season, it is important to get this balance right, as it can be a costly time to promote content.

2) Stress how your cause supports the community you serve

Whilst keeping the values of the season, shift your audience attention to how your cause supports the community in this time of need. Consider the following “Hows” to help guide this thought process:

• How has the community you support been impacted during the pandemic?
• How has their ‘new normal’ shifted?
• How was the festive period previously celebrated? What has changed?
• How can the wider community support their ‘new normal’?
• How can they practice social distancing (creatively) without compromising on the values of the festive season?

Islamic Relief USA ran an exceptional Ramadan fundraising campaign in narrating a COVID-19 write-up that focused on country-specific stories. An example narrative entitled “Togetherness Amidst COVID-19 Fears: Ramadan in Indonesia, stressed on the idea of hunger and how we should help vulnerable families during this time of need.

3) Leverage on audio in setting the scene and story

With the absence of physical engagement, there is a growing reliance on digital media to highlight the urgency of different causes. As COVID-19 also hinders and restricts the recording and producing of new content, you should explore more candid and user-convenient ways of creating content.

One good example would be by prompting front liners or beneficiaries to record the video content from their own mobile devices (record through their eyes).

It should be noted that aside from the obvious video quality difference, audio plays a very important role to make up for the difference. The choice of audio will determine whether the video will capture the attention of your audience.

Besides using images from your image bank or crowdfunded via social media, audio can be a powerful tool to tell your story.

Consider layering audio on video clips or still images for a documentary-style feel.

Harness the power of personal storytelling.

Thinking about starting your own seasonal campaigns after reading this but not sure how? Feel free to reach out to us at consulting@sgsupport.com to find out how we can support your cause.

Reviewing Acquisition Targets

The onset of COVID-19 has brought about much uncertainty within all realms of society, as we face a new unknown together. The support provided by non-profits become increasingly crucial, as the vulnerability of the communities they serve intensify.

It is becoming necessary for non-profits to review and readjust acquisition targets set forth for 2020, as well as re-strategize on ways moving forward to a “new normal”. As a starting point for this exercise, SG Global are pleased to introduce our Donor Acquisition Forecast Tool. This tool is designed to support the high-level conversations on diversifying acquisition channels for Regular Give Donors.


If you have any questions or would like further information, please drop us an email at consulting@sgsupport.com or reach out to your country representative.

How Non-Profits Can Continue Fundraising during a Global Pandemic

With the announcement of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, countries around the world are increasingly adopting sweeping measures to stem the spread of the virus. Cities that were once bustling have turned into ghost towns due to lockdowns and movement control orders, causing disruptions to many sectors of the economy, including the charity sector.

Here are some considerations for non-profits in fundraising during challenging times.

  1. Have an Established Regular Give Base

Arguably, having an established regular give base is the most vital element in ensuring the daily operations continue. If you’re a non-profit fighting the front lines, communication to your existing donors to engage their personal networks via digital payment tools is key.

A give base that knows your cause and how their donation continues to support the good fight will allow you to optimise engagement with your donors to spread awareness of your fight in the pandemic. Take these two questions into consideration as well.

  • How can your donors support your cause remotely?
  • How can their friends and family help?

Emergency online donation pages and non-profit crowdfunding platforms such as SimplyGiving.com are especially useful to have ready to utilize during crucial times.

2. Communicate Impactfully but Don’t Overwhelm

Everyone is talking about the pandemic. The uncertainty is at the forefront of every donor and potential donor’s mind.Cease or scale-back all non-pandemic related emails and begin streamlining communications to the impact of the pandemic on your cause instead. For example, elderly care homes could communicate the impact of panic buying of medical supplies to their daily needs, while food banks could communicate the impact of panic buying on the food reserves they rely on to ensure meals for those in need.

Communicate specific impacts of the pandemic to your cause, but don’t overwhelm the donor only with negative information or news. Remember that pandemics are delicate times where donors and potential donors are looking for light as well.

3. Tipping points

The fine balancing of tipping points is also key. Non-profits will need to consider:

  • When is the appropriate time to cease non-pandemic related email awareness?
  • At what point of the pandemic is it appropriate to move to only pandemic-related emails?
  • When is the appropriate time to stop talking about the pandemic and reintroduce other elements of your cause again?

Above all, remember that fundraising is all about relationships and great relationships are built and maintained with clear communication. So, be proactive, clear and transparent towards your supporters.

What are your thoughts on the considerations above? Drop us your comments along with name and email address in the section below.

If you would like more information, contact us at consulting@sgsupport.com.

About SG Global
SG Global is the world’s largest donor management and outsourced partner for charities and not-for-profit organisations. We provide a complete suite of services for our charity partners all of which are designed to deliver world-class donor management services. We currently operate in more than 10 countries in partnership with over 60 non-profit organisations to strategically manage, retain and grow their donor base.

SG Data Share – Unlocking the Power of Big Data

We know that data provides rich insights.

To fully harness its power, charities require the right CRM, processes, skills and leadership. This is where SG comes in – we act as fundraising and donor management consultants to advise and assist charities in putting their data to work and building first-in-class donor retention models.

How? Through Data Share – a data-driven performance review of charities.

Data is a rich knowledge bank and SG helps charities make sense of the numbers through detailed and ongoing analysis. We share our findings on donor demographics, identifying fundraising trends, and areas for improving internal workflows, all towards increasing donor loyalty and retention.

Data Share has been SG’s annual programme in the Southeast Asia region since 2017. This year, we held sessions in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Our Data Analyst, Daryl Chan, sharing insights into the Indonesian fundraising market.

Highlights from the year

We attempt to tailor each session according to the local market’s needs and interests by listening to our charity partners’ feedback and continuously engaging them in discussions. Donor attrition, fundraising channel performance and donor lifetime value (LTV) were some of the hot topics across this year’s sessions. At the Indonesia session, upgrade campaign success including pitch effectiveness, upgrade value and effects on loyalty, lead to some interesting discussions.

Uy Jr Eduardo from SOS Children’s Villages Philippines raising a question.

The highly interactive sessions along with group activities kept attendees engaged and comfortable in voicing their ideas, concerns, or issues.

Joanne Leong, Regional Client Relationship Manager, interacts with participants during the group activity.

What our clients have to say

Our charity partners have shown great support for the sessions. This year, a total of 90 representatives from 16 charities attended the full-day workshops. A majority of them felt their learnings support their strategic fundraising decisions and have helped them in developing strategies for the year ahead. Their feedback truly made the Data Share journey worthwhile.

Our charity partners from Indonesia and the Philippines. Hope to see you all again next year!

Stay tuned for Data Share 2020 schedule, updates and more.

Click here to read about Thailand’s Data Share session.

Harnessing the power of big data to drive donor engagement

“Big data is levelling the playing field for charities and allowing them to gain similar insights into their customers as international corporations” –Microsoft

SG kicked off our annual data-sharing sessions with our Southeast Asia charity partners this year with the first session held in Thailand in July.

Data Share, which started in 2017, is part of our initiatives in adding value to and fostering collaboration with our charity partners using big data.

Needless to say, our data-sharing sessions are usually highly interactive. Our charity partners collectively review and compare their respective fundraising and donor retention metrics while, at the same time, having the opportunity to address issues and debate new ideas with each other and the SG team.

Our CEO, Richard Prentice, opening the Data Share in Thailand.

This year, the focus was on developing data-driven strategies to optimise and measure campaign performance. Participants engaged in discussions and exchanged ideas as well as their best practices, which we ultimately used to finalize new and exciting solutions to test out in the second half of the year.

Among the liveliest topics of conversation was donor attrition and how to tackle the issue by understanding and leveraging upon data-driven digital communication to build stronger engagement with our donors.

Our Data Analyst, Daryl Chan, presenting email engagement analysis.

UNICEF Thailand, UNHCR Thailand, SOS Children’s Villages, WWF Thailand, and World Animal Protection Thailand were all present for the full-day workshop.

We hope that all attendees left the session with practical takeaways and insights of the Thai fundraising market which they can use to improve internal processes alongside the short- and long-term strategies SG will develop in partnership with them.

The remaining 2019 Data Shares will be held on 10th October for our Indonesian charity partners and in November in the Philippines and Malaysia. So, stay tuned for more updates!

Click here to read about last year’s Data Share.

How we use big data to help charities change the world

Our Chief Operating Officer, Richard, shares SG’s insight into the Malaysian charity market.

“The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” —The Economist

This certainly rings true in the charity sector as well. Today, technology allows charities to put data to work to understand donor behaviours, identify opportunities from trends, and make informed strategic decisions. However, the data an individual charity collects lends but a limited view of the broader market.

SG has been fortunate to partner with some of the best charities in the world, building a significant “knowledge bank” over the years. This gives us a unique perspective and insight into the charity markets in the region. We have realized that we can also play an important role in bringing charities together and collectively reviewing results – in what we call the “Data Share”.

Daryl Chan, our Data Analyst, fields questions from the audience.

Data Share is a data-driven performance review of charities

Data Share compares the performance of different charities in the same country across various metrics. We facilitate transparent discussions that aim to cross-pollinate knowledge and skills, so that everyone in the room benefits from learning from the best-in-class in different disciplines.

As regional experts in fundraising and donor management, we can give charities the chance to learn outside of their own spheres, set their benchmarks, and discover how these can be achieved.

Highlights from our recent Data Share session in Kuala Lumpur

Our recent Data Share in November also happened to feature our largest market, Malaysia. In attendance were representatives from our Malaysian charity partners: Budimas Charitable Foundation, Greenpeace Malaysia, National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA), National Kidney Foundation (NKF), SUKA Society, UNHCR Malaysia, UNICEF Malaysia, and WWF Malaysia.

We shared our priorities for our Malaysian charity partners in 2019:

  • Regional rollout for Charitable
    Charitable, our donor database management program, is currently live in Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand by the end of December 2018. Full deployment of Charitable regionally remains a major priority in our mission to future-proof SG.
  • Analytics resourcing
    We are beefing up our analytics resources – this is vital to maintain our leadership position in a data-driven charity industry.
  • Digital acquisition
    Digital acquisition and social media are now at the forefront of any organisation’s marketing plan. Adding this to our roster of services makes it easier for charities to make an entry into this field.
  • Telemarketing acquisition
    Our team of telemarketers has been proving themselves to be a credible alternative to other recruitment methods.
  • Payment Gateway
    We are working to offer our own platform for payment solutions. This will make processing payments, changing of credit card numbers, etc. more efficient and accurate.

Some key takeaways from the session also include a market growth forecast for 2019 and donor lifetime value analysis. This information helps charities answer some very important questions as they develop their strategies for the year ahead.

New and familiar faces from our Malaysian charity partners—SUKA, MAKNA, BUDIMAS—at the recent Data Share in Kuala Lumpur.

What our partners say about Data Share

“Great for gaining insight into the nonprofit market in Malaysia and a significant opportunity to network and brainstorm with industry colleagues.” —Vemanna Appannah, Deputy General Manager at MAKNA

“This is an excellent event that provides insight and findings not available anywhere else. It gives me perspective on how well or poorly we are performing in comparison with other charities in Malaysia.” —Lisnawati, UNHCR Malaysia

“Data Share [sessions] allow me to hear what other charities are doing, how they are performing, and how they are solving their issues—the same kind of issues that all charities face. It is a good opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another.” —Sharon Teo, Senior Manager of Donor Relations at WWF-Malaysia

“The data presentations give a good indication of how the charity market in Malaysia is faring and how we are performing in that market. The apple-to-apple comparison really gives us a good perspective.” —Jacqueline Yew, Deputy Fundraising Director at Greenpeace Southeast Asia

The recent Kuala Lumpur session is our 9th Data Share session across the region.

The final word

A successful Data Share is when our partners leave the room with a better understanding of their fundraising market and take away new best practices that can be implemented. The feedback and results since the very first session in 2017 affirm that we have achieved exactly that.

2018 has been a great year for Data Share, with sessions conducted in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. We’re excited for what 2019 will have in store for our charity partners, so stay tuned!

How charities are responding to Indonesia’s disasters

First, it was the island of Lombok. Then, Palu and Donggala.

Some 3,000 people lost their lives in the string of disasters that struck Indonesia in the past two months—earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides—with hundreds of thousands more struggling to rebuild theirs. It will take months, perhaps even years, for the victims to reclaim their old lives.

In a time where clean water, healthcare, and transport are scarce, the path to recovery is slow and arduous. This is where our charity partners in Indonesia are striving to make a difference. They are working tirelessly to accelerate the process by being active on the ground and providing assistance to those who need it most.

SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia

Art therapy sessions by SOS Indonesia are a hit among young children. (Source: SOS Indonesia)

SOS Children’s Villages (SOS) Indonesia, a non-profit aiming to bring up abandoned and vulnerable children in loving homes, is focusing their response on Tipo, Ulujadi in the city of Palu.

One of their first moves is setting up an emergency response team and starting a Child Care Space on the ground to care for young victims. The space provides a safe environment for children, allowing them to receive temporary care, nutrition, and sanitation.

SOS remains active to this day, now running five children centres in Palu and conducting a variety of activities each day to keep more than 165 children occupied. With schools still closed due to the damage they have taken in the earthquake, the team of volunteers plays a crucial role in providing the children with opportunities to learn and play.

Follow their work on Facebook and Twitter.

These girls are among the 165 children who frequent SOS’s children centres. (Source: SOS Indonesia)

Save the Children Indonesia

Bright smiles spotted on the day STC’s supplies of 2,000 shelter and hygiene kits arrived in Palu. (Source: STC Indonesia)

Save the Children (STC) Indonesia, committed to making their country a better and safer place for its children, immediately threw themselves into action after finding out about the disasters: chartering a plane to Palu to provide victims with shelter kits, hygiene kits, and food.

They took it upon themselves to reunite the many children who have been separated from their families and left alone and vulnerable. Watch how they helped reunite young Rizky (not his real name) with his father and grandmother after the Palu disaster here.

Catch their updates on Facebook and Twitter.

When the earthquake struck, a house pillar fell and hit 9-year-old Putri (not her real name) on her head. (Source: STC Indonesia)

UNICEF Indonesia

Nurul, 15, is rescued after spending nearly 48 hours trapped in rubble in West Palu. (Source: @arimacswilander/UNICEF Indonesia)

UNICEF Indonesia’s disaster relief team is currently on the ground, working to keep children safe. They have outlined four priorities in their emergency response to Indonesia’s disasters: (1) determine the most effective way to meet victims’ needs, (2) help thousands of affected families find shelter, (3) reunite children who are separated from their families, and (4) ensure victims receive clean drinking water.

While children’s safety is undoubtedly their priority, they are also keen to make sure children are mentally and psychologically supported. That is the objective behind the launch of their child protection units, where trained social workers keep the children entertained through creative activities and games.

Follow their progress on Facebook and Twitter.

6-year-old Ence enjoys singing and folding origami with the volunteers while her brother, 11-year-old Yuda, prefers playing football with the other kids. (Source: UNICEF Indonesia)


Volunteers deliver clean drinking water to families housed in temporary shelters. (Source: YAPPIKA-ActionAid)

YAPPIKA-ActionAid, whose work revolves around ensuring that children receive continuous education in a safe environment, has its eye on rebuilding the parts of Central Sulawesi that are most badly hit by the disasters.

Two days after the earthquake, YAPPIKA’s first team of 31 volunteers arrived in Palu and Donggala with aid and supplies. They also documented a total of 1,400 victims and handed the data over to the government and other relevant parties. The data allows them to determine the number of houses that needed to be rebuilt and kickstart the recovery process.

YAPPIKA is currently fundraising to keep their public kitchens well-stocked in order to accelerate their food and aid distribution. Palu and Donggala are still a long way from a complete recovery—the death toll is rising, pregnant women are forced to give birth in shelters without medical assistance, the spread of infectious disease, just to name a few—but YAPPIKA is there to help as much as possible.

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Femi was forced to give birth on a coconut plantation after she was displaced by the earthquake and tsunami in Palu. (Source: YAPPIKA-ActionAid)

Meet the backbone of our operations: CharitABLE

CharitABLE is a donor database management application built to evolve alongside our needs.

We are proud to introduce CharitABLE, our new donor database management program.

CharitABLE, the brainchild of SG Global, is a cloud-based application designed to help us manage donors on behalf of our charity partners. It serves our business needs from processing donations, reaching out to existing and new donors, making financial reports, to delivering timely donor communication materials.

Our legacy softwares had served us well for many years, but our rapid expansion into new countries means there needs to be a more comprehensive program to give us the necessary boost in our operations. CharitABLE is our answer to that issue.

CharitABLE is a play of the word ‘charity’ (the core of our business) and ‘able’ (SG’s can-do attitude).

What we can achieve with CharitABLE (the non-comprehensive version)

Respond to business requests more effectively

CharitABLE is much faster and efficient at answering our business needs. The same process that would previously require several hours to be completed can now be done concurrently in a fraction of the time it previously took. This increases our efficiency in meeting the needs of our clients, be it delivering data analyses or offering business intelligence.

Provide added value to our clients

One of the proudest features of CharitABLE is the added value that we provide to our clients on top of our existing services. Among the many is the concept of constituency that comes with CharitABLE. To put it simply, donors will no longer be tied to their names alone – leaving room for charities to build their database without the presence of a gift.

Give our clients more control over their donor database

CharitABLE makes our business processes all that more transparent and accessible to our charity partners. They can now interact with their data directly and get assurance for themselves that we are fulfilling our obligations to them.

Derrick Ng (front) leads the ISD team in developing CharitABLE.

A brief history of CharitABLE

The quest to build an intuitively simpler yet more powerful application for our business began several years ago. We saw concrete progress when our Software Development team began working on a project that would eventually become CharitABLE.

Improvement and innovation were key features of the project and it took nearly nine months for the team to study the processes that underlie the legacy softwares. This meant optimising and re-engineering the unique ways each department in each country that SG operates in works and painstakingly turning it into a standard operating procedure (SOP) for all offices.

Coding then started from line one. The project was built from scratch, borrowing none of the technologies of the legacy softwares. Now, two years later, CharitABLE is finally fully operational in our headquarters in Kuala Lumpur as well as our new office in Taiwan. We expect to roll it out in several more countries by the end of 2018.

Streamlining CharitABLE involves gathering input from different departments.

Onward to new adventures

Things have been looking up ever since we first introduced CharitABLE to the rest of SG. Hiccups are, naturally, inevitable as everyone gets acquainted with a new application with streamlined processes and improved functions. However, deployment has been progressing as expected and the odds are looking good for CharitABLE to be a firm but malleable backbone of our operations.

If you are curious how we can use CharitABLE to help you optimise your charity’s donor database, drop us a message here. Likewise, you can also find out what makes us your ideal charity partner in the region here.

A closer look at our creative process

Zul Helmi
Our designer, Zul Helmi, discusses what inspires his design.

Typically in June of each year, our creative team from the Donor Communications department converges for a Design Crit — a critique session with the sole purpose of improving our design.

In the first session, our digital designers, including two flying in from our Thailand office, present their best work in 2017 and gather feedback from the room. In the second session, they share design and personal inspirations.

The session is an opportunity to lift our designers out of their task-of-the-day focus and show them the bigger picture — what their colleagues are working on, how the team is progressing, what are the latest design trends, and how they can incorporate it to fit our clients’ needs.

Jo, Pam, Zuhaini
All eyes on the screen.

Zuhaini talks about the creative process behind his design work for Greenpeace Malaysia.

The SG design hall of fame

One of the most stellar design work of 2017 came from our senior designer, Zuhaini. He conceptualized a clean yet vibrant look for the donor communication materials for our new client, Greenpeace Malaysia. He designed a striking welcome pack through the use of large texts, vibrant photos, and clean lines.

The team was also shown a creative twist to generic greetings card. Another senior designer, Vera, who hails from Indonesia, met the challenge to be unconventional and came up with an animated Deepavali card for National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA). The greeting card doubled as a presentation of a Deepavali legend — the story of Prince Rama rescuing his wife from the clutches of a fearsome demon king.

Check out our designers’ best work in 2017 here.

Lydia believes inspiration and creativity can come from the most mundane of things.

Finding inspiration in the extraordinary and mundane

Designers Nathania and Pam named The Social Swipe, a cleverly crafted Misereor Ihr Hilfswerk (the biggest Catholic aid organisation in Germany) campaign, as their source of inspiration. The campaign involved the use of interactive posters and billboards where the public was encouraged to swipe their cards to ‘free’ tied up children or ‘slice’ bread for sharing.

While other designers chose to share design examples, designer Lydia took a different approach and shared a philosophy that she believed would guide her and her fellow designers in their everyday work. Presenting the Japanese art director and photographer Tatsuya Tanaka’s work in building and photographing miniature worlds, she stressed that persistence, inspiration, and creativity is everywhere in life.

Suba & Jo
Joke lost in translation: Our Comms manager, Suba cracks a smile next to our confused Thai designer, Jo.

SG Creatives
The creative (and playful) minds behind the SG design + copywriting team!

Our creative team is parked under our Donor Communications function, part of the complete suite of support services that we provide our charity partners. Learn how we can help you manage donor relations through effective communications here.

Donor communications artwork showcase 2018

Our digital designers’ best work in 2017 at a glance.

Pam, Digital Designer

UNICEF Thailand
Donor welcome pack for UNICEF Thailand, print

Fred Hollows Foundation
Chinese New Year greeting card for The Fred Hollows Foundation Hong Kong, digital


Zuhaini, Senior Digital Designer

Greenpeace Malaysia
Donor welcome pack for Greenpeace Malaysia, print

National Kidney Foundation Malaysia
Welcome brochure for National Kidney Foundation Malaysia, print


Lydia, Digital Designer

Amnesty Hong Kong
Newsletter for Amnesty International Taiwan, digital

National Cancer Society Malaysia
Donor welcome pack for National Cancer Society Malaysia, print


Vera, Senior Digital Designer

Deepavali greeting card for National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA), digital (animated)

Testimonial letter for National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA), print


Nathania, Digital Designer

The Budimas Charitable Foundation
Birthday card for the Budimas Charitable Foundation, print


Jo, Digital Designer

World Animal Protection Thailand
Newsletter for World Animal Protection Thailand, print

UNICEF Thailand2
Brochure for UNICEF Thailand, print


Zul Helmi, Digital Designer

Chinese New Year greeting card for Singapore Heart Foundation, digital (animated)

This artwork showcase is part of our latest Design Crit. Get a closer look at the creative process behind some of our most stellar donor communications design work in our recap.