Today is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to charitable giving. This year, #GivingTuesday is also marked by the launch of a new crowdfunding platform that aims to help high-quality charities build communities around their causes and tap into an ongoing source of funding.
The platform is called Givelocity, and it isn’t your typical crowdfunding play. Givelocity’s members create and join communities built around the causes they care about. Instead of pledging to fund just one campaign and moving on to the next, donors are encouraged to be part of a continuous effort to fund the causes they care about.
Givelocity CEO and founder Susan Cooney explains that this model seeks to solve major issues on both side of the funding equation for nonprofit organizations.
“One of the biggest challenges facing NPOs today is that most giving is one-time or event driven,” Cooney told Crowdfund Insider. “This perpetuates the uphill climb toward a sustainable funding model. As donors, we’re preconditioned to find that one cause, and then give as much as we can to a charity serving it. This is a very singular behavior. We quickly move on, having satisfied our desire to feel good about giving.”
“An area of frustration for donors is the lack of anonymity. Charities often sell donor contact information to other similar charities as a form of incremental revenue. The ensuing calls, direct mail or email appeals for support can be overwhelming. Many donors also carry that feeling of never having done enough, or not knowing where to start, when the desire to give strikes them. With over 1.6M charities (in the U.S. alone) to choose from, many would-be donors never take the first step. With so many charities competing for funds, and not enough dollars to go around, as individual donors we simply lack the leverage to have any significant impact.”
To combat the concerns about shared information, all members on Givelocity are kept anonymous. The communities, or “Neighborhoods,” give to charities as the representative of the individuals who take part in them.
There are already neighborhoods in categories such as animals, education, environment, health, human services, international and more. For example, under the “public benefit” category there is a neighborhood for “Supporting Civil Rights in the U.S.” Users that want to donate to that cause regularly need only to click the “move in” button and decide how much they want to pledge.
Givelocity maintains that only high-quality charities participate on their platform. This is in part through a partnership with an independent American nonprofit called Charity Navigator, which was launched in April of 2002. Charity Navigator provides ratings for thousands of charities, and only highly rated charities can participate on Givelocity.
Evaluating charities is a pain point in the nonprofit space that Givelocity hopes to alleviate over time. “Our partnership with Charity Navigator allows us to present hundreds of highly-rated charities as a starting point for our members,” Cooney said. “But, instead of focusing on a charities’ use of funds, we believe focusing on their impact is a more meaningful approach. That being said, measuring impact is one of the largest challenges facing NPOs and charity evaluators. Unfortunately, there aren’t any great tools…yet.”
“We thought the best approach at Givelocity was to offer the resources for evaluating charities all in one place, making it easier for the donor to conduct their own research. However, donors should never shy away from picking up the phone and asking a charity directly how they use their funds and how they measure their impact.”
Of course, social media and networking are big components of this crowdfunding platform. New users can sign up in seconds thanks to integration with Facebook. Members can quickly and easily promote the causes they care about from the platform via social media, and there are a host of analytics tools built into the platform to help gauge the effectiveness of that social amplification.
The ultimate goal for Givelocity, Cooney and her team is to improve upon traditional methods of fundraising for NPO’s.
“My goal is to help people give; faster, smarter, bigger, better. I’m already thrilled at the response we’ve received for our fresh approach to crowdfunding, using the age-old giving circle model,” Cooney said. “My hope is that we’ll continue to build community after community, connecting people in ways never before imagined… charitable giving based on human affinity, amplified.”
The Givelocity team provides the following infographic encouraging interested parties to sign up and be part of the causes they believe in.