I’ve written before about Nata Village blog, and about fundraising for Small Village, Anywhere, via your own website.
I’m less convinced now that it’s the most effective way to go, and it was a while back that I shifted in that direction, when I met with Tom Williams of givemeaning.com.
If I, Potential Philanthropist, were at home with my credit card in one hand and my heart in the other and I wanted to donate knowing that my money would actually do good and not pad a salary or buy fundraising envelopes, I might be drawn to donate to somewhere like Nata Village. But how would I know that it isn’t someone with some nice photos and a decent website, sitting at home in a recliner chair looking to receive to their open wallet? By no means do I think that of Nata Village. But how would I know?
Givemeaning.com becomes that credibility filter, that guarantee.
The other things I like about it is that you can raise for specific things, and for small amounts.
This is what I was thinking about today:
For small community-based organizations working to affect change in countries that are ‘fragile states’, they might have great energy and work ethic and communications ideas and media savvy. It’s frustrating that organizations like these – that could do so much with a video camera, a great still camera, an audio recorder, maybe even a computer and software to edit on – don’t have them.
The potential for how media produced by them could be used is so enormous. Increased international awareness for their issues. Increased interest from that country’s diaspora. Potential donations to their organisation from people of their nationality, around the world, who want to help. Perhaps increased media coverage by their own national and regional TV or radio stations, who may be understaffed, and thirsty for produced content. Even, as media production skills build, outsourcing their skills – as India’s Video SEWA has done.
More about Video SEWA and other international ‘community media’ successes, at this earlier post on participatory media.
Curious, I emailed Tom Williams for clarification about what options are available for community-based organizations outside of North America that might be interested in fundraising via his site.
Here’s the thing.
Givemeaning.com is only able to issue tax receipts to Canadian and American donors.
The challenge in international charity … is that the requirements that the Canadian and US governments now put on foundations and charities sending money overseas is very onerous.
Can’t community-based organizations do their own fundraising directly, instead of needing the involvement of a Western/Northern organization? Can’t they somehow prove their own legitimacy or credibility, so they don’t have to wait for the donated funds to filter over to them?
The community-based organization can fundraise directly through givemeaning.com.
There’s one downside from fundraising via the site without the involvement of a North American organization, and that’s that donors to you would not be eligible for tax receipts. For some considering very large donations, that could potentially be a deterrant. On the other hand, people who really care about your cause and your country, may want to help no matter what, and may like that the money goes to you directly without having to have a North American organization involved.
If your group decides to take the leap and use the site for donations, how do you begin?
All you need to do to start is create a project proposal which you can do simply by clicking “Start Now” from the GiveMeaning homepage. Before we accept projects for fundraising, we first require a proposal to be approved (which is what you create by clicking Start Now). The ideal proposal speaks to the who/what/why/how of what you want to fundraise for.
A proposal is approved by you collecting 100 online votes. A vote is in no way a financial commitment. It’s just our way of ensuring that there is sufficient interest and support for your project before making it eligible to receive donations.
If your project gets the required votes, we can try and find a qualified charity on your behalf but certainly, if you know of one here in Canada or the US that would be willing to receive funds [ on your group’s behalf, that works too. ]
So, for clarification …
You are involved with a civil society or community-based organization. You would like to fundraise, to invite donors to help your cause. To use my example, you are a grassroots organization working for peacebuilding in a country that is in conflict. You want to increase the presence of peacebuilding in media by building your own media-producing capacity. You need the media production equipment (and perhaps, funds for media training) in order to do this.
If you want to use givemeaning.com, you have two choices.
If you want to receive donations directly to your own organization, and are willing to risk potentially less fundraising income (some North American donors potentially unwilling to donate without tax receipts), you can create a project proposal on the site yourself.
If you want your potential donors in North America to be eligible for tax receipts, you can find a North American organization willing to receive funds on your behalf, or ask Tom and his colleagues to help you find such an organization.
The site creates another fundraising option for nonprofits, removing some of the dense layers of bureaucracy and agonizing waiting often involved in complex funding applications. It allows for a more direct connection between individual donors interested in supporting a specific cause, and the groups that have a plan, are ready to act, and can directly use those donated funds.
If you’re considering posting a project for donations, Tom adds a reminder: December is the peak time of year for cause donations. He suggests you take advantage of this burst, by listing your request no later than the end of November.