Innovative Deviance in a Rule-Bound City-State

Funding and service provision are fundamental tenets of nonprofit organizations in Singapore. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the resilience of the nonprofit sector and beckoned the government to respond with digitalization programs that blend into the innovative capacity of the nonprofit sector. Consequently, digitalization has produced different versions of innovation that have helped tide nonprofits over this difficult time, in which crowdfunding has played an important role. In this article, we use two case studies to examine how nonprofits approach and situate crowdfunding in Singapore against the backdrop of the pandemic. One organization utilizes crowdfunding as the core of their fundraising model and views it as an essential part of their operation. During the pandemic, they even used this crowdfunding model to reach marginalized communities that tend not to be the target beneficiaries of the registered nonprofit organizations in Singapore. The other organization finds itself innovating within existing fundraising mechanisms, though it has experimented with crowdfunding. We argue that this case represents the strategy that most nonprofits are using during the pandemic by developing new and existing digital programs to attract potential donors. At the core of our argument, crowdfunding has the potential to expand the type of services and reach communities that tend to be overlooked or forgotten by present nonprofit structures in Singapore. By doing so, crowdfunding provides an outlet for these groups to voice their issues.