As the use of disintermediation gathers pace, how will the phenomenon affect the capacity of international nongovernmental organizations to fundraise and advocate? In terms of fundraising, new technology has narrowed the gap between those on the ground and individual donors, bringing with it new ways to connect and lower transaction costs.
- One concern for direct donors is the scope for fraud, but this does not appear to be a problem with organizations like GiveDirectly and CARE, both of which have credible reputations and practices.
- One-to-one funding can bring about systemic change, reaching into whole communities that cannot access formal financial structures — either because banks won’t take the risk, or because people are not financially literate.
- Oxfam looked at crowdfunding and concluded that it was more useful for very specific projects — for example, building a sanitation system — than for generating funds for systemic change or re-balancing the ownership of “public goods,” which is Oxfam’s remit.
- Younger activists are intensive users of technology and direct messaging. #BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria from April 2014 raised awareness among millions of young people but is project specific, not like Oxfam's long-term aim for broader social change.
- Disintermediation is building up advocacy from the grass roots, bringing change from the bottom-up. But it is uncertain what sort of revolutionary movement it is likely to cause over the next few years.