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What if Charities could effectively use Crowdfunding?

When individuals get their friends to donate with them to a “registered” charity 501(c)(3), the term is crowdraising rather than crowdfunding, but the concept and techniques are very much the same.

Various companies have worked to make it easier for charities to do organizing crowdraising campaigns. Still, it is often difficult for a charity to adopt new technologies like any other organization. It can be worse for charities because every fraction of a percent that goes to overhead makes the charity seem less efficient and make them less attractive in the eyes of many donors. Dan Pallotta gave a convincing Ted Talk about how this is a really dumb way to view the world. Despite that, it is common. That is a topic for another day.

Kyle Murphy started GVNG to solve this and many related problems from a giver’s perspective. It allows donors to select charities, arrange the timing of gifts, and find out “what happened.”

The current generation of givers is motivated by impact and wants to track results in a way that many donors of previous generations were not. Many of them were more focused on tax details. It’s a change to which many charitable organizations have had difficulty understanding and adapting.

GVNG also supplies tools that let individuals create their own crowdraising campaign for the (registered) charity of their choice. It handles the logistics, moves that “overhead” off the charities’ books, and provides tools to make the campaign more successful. Again, this is bookkeeping difference is a huge help for the charity in keeping their older and institutional donors happy.

GVNG makes sure that the money actually makes it to the charity and doesn’t saddle the campaign creator with the next generation of regulatory paperwork and hassles that show up when running a charitable campaign on a traditional crowdfunding platform. The problems of potential fraud and the new regulations to combat that fraud makes it increasingly problematic for the pre-existing general platform to be used for charities.

I am ready to count preventing a good Samaritan from getting a surprise stack of IRS paperwork as #suckagereduction.

The complexities caused me to abandon starting a charitable drive recently. When we are ready to try again, we’ll be looking to see whether GVNG can make it possible for us.

Kyle also maintains a list of startup resources. Many of my favorites are included in his list. It is another example of how Kyle works to be of service to the greater community.

GVNG has been funded by The Band of Angels and GRIL Ventures.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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