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Starfish Greathearts Foundation's disruptive approach to charity fundraising

An interactive, iPad e-book, it's a first for a South African charity; challenging the traditional business model and providing consumers with a product of value when donating to a cause.
Technology has aided in facilitating the disruption of every major, global industry – from taxis to hotel bookings. Today, Starfish Greathearts Foundation launches an interactive e-book, in order to turn the traditional, charity, fundraising model on its head.

Belinda te Riele, CEO of Starfish explains, “It is a challenge raising funds in our market, as South Africa is considered a middle-income country with less foreign aid coming through. Also, many people are experiencing donor fatigue and so we need to find more innovative ways of raising funds and to build a community of support for children”.

She continues, “We approached Retroviral to develop a campaign for us that would support an earned income strategy, which would enable Starfish to further extend services to children orphaned or vulnerable in South Africa.”


Charity is often a grudge purchase, so our challenge was to create something “sticky” that members of the public would find valuable in exchange for the disposable income that they are parting with when supporting Starfish over other charities.

So we modernised and localised the Starfish narrative, collaborated with the finest team of designers (You and Me) and developers (Aglet) and today we are proud to launch a paid-for, interactive, iPad e-book, where all proceeds from the sales will go directly to Starfish.

The tale follows an original story of Nozi and her mother tucking her daughter in at night, and the magical adventure that ensues as Nozi drifts into a deep slumber. The story is ideal for a child’s first book, as parents can read the text or choose to have the story beautifully narrated, by Lebo Motsoeli. For older children who are learning to read, the tale includes a series of interactive Easter eggs such as lighting and animals that come to life on the screen when they are clicked, or as the iPad is hugged, tapped or moved from side to side.

“We are incredibly excited about this e-book and look forward to receiving feedback from parents and children, both locally and internationally. Enjoy the gift of giving this festive season, and a big thank you to everyone for supporting Starfish”, concludes Te Riele.

The app is currently only available on iOS for iPad and can be purchased here for $9.99.

About Mike Sharman

Mike Sharman is the owner of Retroviral Digital Communications, an online communications consultancy specialising in communication strategy, social media and content creation.

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