Leveraging Online Crowdfunding for Resource Mobilisation: A Novel Approach for CSOs

Leveraging Online Crowdfunding for Resource Mobilisation: A Novel Approach for CSOs

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana have been faced with a considerable decline in donor funding due to donors shifting their philanthropy efforts to countries which classify as low-income earning.  

This is not peculiar to Ghana alone, but same with most CSOs that operate within the global south.  Although traditional sources of funding including those from bilateral and multilateral donors remain important, finding alternative sources of funding for CSOs has become increasingly important. 

Online crowdfunding is one of the innovative and very effective ways CSOs can leverage to raise funds for their work. 

 On 28 – 30 March 2023, the West Africa Civic Space Resource Hub held a workshop on resource mobilisation for 10 Ghanaian CSOs. In one of the sessions, I was inspired by a story told by one of the training facilitators, Sylvester Osei. The facilitator told a story about Paul Ninson, a New York-based Ghanaian photographer who was able to open Africa’s biggest photography library in Accra. This was through the efforts of Brandon Stanton ( Humans of New York Blog) who shared Paul’s dream with his millions of followers. Brandon started a Go Fund Me (an online crowdfunding platform) on behalf of Paul, and was able to raise more than $1.2 million towards Dikan Center; Paul’s photography library in Accra. 

 As one of the earliest forms of resource mobilisation that has existed throughout the recorded history of humanity, crowdfunding has been given a new face through online crowdfunding, which is raising money to finance individuals and businesses through online platforms. This is usually done by setting up a webpage dedicated to the particular organisation, business or individual which will enable people to send one-time donations or periodic donations with just a few clicks. This was first widely used in 1997 by British rock band Marillion who raised over $60,000 through online crowdfunding to support their tour. 

 Crowdfunding is one of the easiest resource mobilisation strategies to implement as it cuts out the sometimes lengthy bureaucratic practices that come with traditional donor funding including writing proposals to several donors in the hopes to acquire funding. Crowdfunding is a direct approach that uses story-telling techniques like documentaries that intend to appeal to the conscience of viewers. 

 Crowdfunding coupled with good digital marketing allows CSOs to reach a wider audience than they usually would using traditional methods. It opens up the activities of the CSO to a newer audience and even draws lifelong supporters among them. 

 Again, donors who contribute to crowdfunding campaigns often feel a sense of ownership and investment in the CSO or project they are contributing to support. It creates a sense of community among the donors leading to the invitation of more people to donate and join the particular campaign. 

 There are several online crowdfunding platforms including Go Fund Me; which is mostly for non-profit-based crowdfunding campaigns. Another platform is called  Kickstarter, which hosts rewards-based crowdfunding opportunities.  Crowd2Fund also hosts debt-based crowdfunding campaigns. The downside, however, is most of the well-known crowdfunding platforms such as Go Fund Me are not available to African countries such as Ghana. Someone in a supported country would have to start the campaign on behalf of the CSO in Ghana. However, there are crowdfunding platforms like Chango (endorsed by the UN Capital Development Fund) that offer localised crowdfunding services for groups and individuals in Ghana and supports local payment methods including Mobile Money payments. 

 It is important to note that crowdfunding is not a complete solution to the funding challenges that CSOs face.  Crowdfunding campaigns require specialised efforts to create, promote and maintain. CSOs must be able to effectively market the campaign to achieve any results; Through the use of social media and other digital platforms, CSOs must be able to convince hundreds, if not thousands of people to donate small amounts which will accumulate enough to able to execute projects with. 

 In conclusion, crowdfunding and other alternative sources of resource mobilisation can provide CSOs with flexibility and additional resources to support their important work. Even though donor funding is still unmatched, It is important that CSOs diversify their sources of funding to help them counter the complexity of resource mobilisation. 

 If you are looking for other alternative sources of funding? The Aternative Funding Models Guidebook provides practical guidelines and approaches that can help you  mobilise financial resources for your organisation.  



About the author



  1. Aden Hassan Samriye

    Says April 28, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    I’m the founder and the leader of safe environment organization, currently operating volunteering at Dadaab refugee camps

  2. Mamane Lawali Aboubacar Bizo

    Says April 28, 2023 at 5:55 pm

    Mamane Lawali Aboubacar Bizo promoteur d ENIPRES Entreprises Nigériens de prestations de services enipres offrent des prestations de services et transformation des céréales par des moulins à grains qui seront installés dans des kiosques pour diminuer les tâches ménagères quotidienne des femmes des jeunes filles dans les zones rurales et quartiers périphériques des grandes villes

  3. Mamane Lawali Aboubacar Bizo

    Says April 28, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Compte tenu de plus de la création des nouvelles quartiers périphériques dans la ville de Niamey et la non disponibilité des moulins dans ces quartiers périphériques je compte mètre a leurs dispositions des moulins à grains pour leurs facilité les tâches ménagères quotidienne pour qu’il puissent pour qu’elles puissent bénéficier du temps pour pratique des activités génératrices de revenus et contribuer au combats contre la pauvreté. les jeunes filles aussi pour avoir du temps et pouvoir allez a l école car elles n auront plus a aidez leurs mère dans les tâches ménagères quotidienne


    Says April 29, 2023 at 2:48 am

    Very interesting. Please how can I get found to help support my vision in terms of bringing a live stage for African and contemporary dance performance to reality

    I am Co-Founder of REGAL THEATRE AMBASSADORS in Lagos Nigeria, that has been in existence since 2012.
    We are committed to promoting and propagating the richness of our cultural heritage through traditional and AFRICAN contemporary dances.


  5. Dennis Kromah

    Says April 29, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the information but just we I could like folks from WASCI to organize a webinar on such a crowdfunding sign-up procedure.

    • Ayra

      Says May 03, 2023 at 10:21 am

      You should definitely check out Chango. They provide all the information you need as well on their social media platforms.

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Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.


Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.


Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.


Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.


Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.


George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.


Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.


Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.


Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.


Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.


Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.


Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.


John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.


Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.


Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.


Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.


Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.


Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.


Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 15 years of progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa.

She joined WACSI in November 2009 as a Regional Advocacy Consultant and later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer of the Institute in 2010.

She was promoted to Head of the Policy Influencing and Advocacy (PIA) Unit in 2015. As the Head of the PIA unit, Omolara offers strategic direction to the Institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organised and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality, and civil society accountability.

Previously, Omolara served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa (WIPSEN-Africa), where she worked with her team to design and implement pan-African programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

She also served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria.

Omolara is a social justice advocate, a network weaver, and a convener. She has a postgraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies; a degree in International Relations and History, from the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria respectively.

She also holds executive certificates in Behavioral Science in Public Policy from Harvard University Executive Education in Cambridge and in Citizen Advocacy from the Coady International Institute, St Francis Xavier University in Canada.


Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.


Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.


Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.