COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of businesses for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)! Cisco cooperated with International Data Corporation (IDC) to conduct the “2020 APAC SMB Digital Maturity Study”, which surveyed more than 1,400 SMEs from 14 Asia Pacific regions early last year, then followed up with more than 400 of the SMEs in May of the same year. 

The study shows that the epidemic has accelerated digitalization for nearly 70% of the enterprises surveyed, and half of them are expected to complete the digitization of more than 20% of their businesses this year. All in all, the epidemic has encouraged many enterprises to actively carry out digitalization, in order to drive business growth and improve customer experience.

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While the business sector is actively carrying out digital transformation, many local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also operating online stores for the following purposes, accelerating their integration into the digital society:

1. Fundraising Charity Sale

When it comes to fundraising charity sales, many people immediately think of offline charity events such as rummage sales, flag days and more. However, with the popularity of online shopping, some NGOs now choose to conduct charity sales on their online stores – the events are no longer restricted by time or space. Take Society for Abandoned Animals Limited (SAA) as an example. Not only do they sell a variety of crossover merchandise and pet supplies, but they also sell flags and launch pre-sales on their online store, with revenue going to the daily and medical needs of the animals in the organization.

( Images provided by the author )
( Images provided by the author )

In addition, some NGOs need to operate themed online stores for certain events. The Chi Heng Foundation, which has been providing long-term and comprehensive support to children affected by AIDS in China for years, held a 2-day physical charity exhibition at the end of November. Under the theme of “Changing Lives with Love”, the charity exhibition features paintings donated by warm-hearted celebrities, as well as works by Chi Heng students. The exhibition is also held online for 1.5 months. If you are interested in purchasing a painting, you can place an order at their online store.

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2. Event / Course Fee

Not only is operating online stores a good means for NGOs to hold charity sales and fundraising events, but also for the members to pay registration fees. The Tuen Mun District Women’s Association, for example, is running an “e-Buy” website, which not only allows members to buy different products online at discounted prices, but also allows them to register for the events. As shown in the following image, they hosted a local day trip in December and accepted members’ registration online, where they can pay for the event by credit card.

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The YMCA of Hong Kong (YMCA) has a similar approach. Their YMCA College of Continuing Education is operating an online store so that their students can pay their tuition fees via PayMe or FPS. It is note-worthy that if students enroll through this channel, for certain courses, they can only pay tuition fees at the non-member rate. Plus, they will have to provide their full name in English as appears on their HKID card, which will be shown on their graduation certificate. If students wish to pay the course fees at member rate, they need to contact the College for further arrangements.

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3. Venue / Facility Charge

YMCA has also set up an online store for the YMCA Lamma Island Outdoor Centre, for interested parties to pay the entry fees, rent the venues and related facilities on a self-service basis. For example, in the following image, users can rent the campsite through their online store; YMCA has clearly listed the applicable dates, types of campsites, center facilities and rules for residents, attached with photos of the campsite environment for users’ reference.

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To conclude, many NGOs are actively carrying out digital transformation, running their own online stores for charity sales and fundraising events, as well as allowing members to rent venues and facilities, and pay registration fees online. If you are running an NGO or a social enterprise and are interested in digitizing your business by setting up an online store, you may want to consider using Boutir’s services! Eligible NGOs or social enterprises can subscribe to designated “Business” and “Business PLUS” plans at half price by simply providing relevant proof! For more information, please contact our customer success team:

[Originally published in “E-Commerce Classroom” (in Chinese), a column in the Life supplement of “etnet” (Published Date: 2021/11/16)]

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