Being an NGO means partly that you organize, collect and distribute donations you need to run your projects. As you understand – you can obviously see that it’s both difficult and hard to do this at the same time. And it’s especially hard if you are a small organization, so here is where the ‘Social’ comes in. The need for good platforms with a well thought strategy is obvious and in focus. I will end my posting with a case where they developed an excellent platform.
A Social NGO is in my opinion an NGO that uses social media as a means to accomplish their work – by using social media services to promote and boost their events and to gather donations. Today it’s not a big thing either to setup websites, communication channels or find suitable platforms to gather donations. And the time you need to maintain these channels is also in the lower degree, so you can focus on developing your social organization.
Transparency is a keyword, and this is what many large scale organizations lack. Let’s say you want to donate $10 to fighting Cholera in Haiti, you send the money to one of the big operators, but you can’t trace your $10 ending up to aid in Haiti. Well it’s not a big problem you may say, but if you want to support that cause then? No real transparency there and no routines to put money where people want them to be. And this goes for all larger organizations, and it’s their biggest challenge now to show our donations forwarded to the right receiver.
Platform and Strategy – the Case Story of Akvo
There’s one case story I can’t get pass when writing about this subject and it’s Akvo.org. During the Live earth campaign “Run for water” they used the Akvo platform to handle the donations made through the campaign. Akvo calls their open sourced platform package Akvo RSR – for ‘really simple reporting’ – a mashup of Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki integrated in a custom frame for the social software geeks to note 🙂 – yours there to grab for your own project community!
A typical project can look like the one in this screenshot, from the School sanitation project, Njombe Tanzania. This project is fully funded and is now in progress. You can see the amount of money needed to fund the project and its progress towards its goals and you can also see the progress updates, which in many cases is provided by people from the village where the project is run – very much in the same fashion as the micro-credit peer to peer venture Kiva.org or micro-donations platform Jolkona.org sharing same philosophy. You can also get a widget you can insert on your webpage/blog to show that you support this project, inspired by e. g. ChipIn. On the page you can also see the funding partners that are involved in the project. In general, the area of #crowdfunding for both profit and not-for-profit is worth watching, with Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com as other platforms to get inspired by.
For me, the Akvo.org platform and the strategy behind it is a good example of how to help the NGO’s supported, both to be social and raise funds for their project. Proving their case with water and sanitation projects as they started with, they’re now extending it to new project domains – Focus areas like Education, Economic Development, Healthcare, and IT/Communication.
I have used the expression Charity 2.0 a lot about how NGO’s could use Social web/tools for their projects. However there’s no formal description and/or definition of what Charity 2.0 is, so I try now to avoid using it so I don’t get in trouble ;). But seriously – we need distinctions on what it is and maybe this can be an agenda for researchers, teachers and other involved in #SMCEDU?
My background in Charity started back as a toddler growing up in a priest family, where charity was a big passion for my parents. My dad worked through the church as well as my mother, and with a deep engagement in Red Cross as well. As a grown-up man I started to think a lot about how I could do charity work, and also use my people’s skills. The answer came in 2009 when I started a small non-profit organization together with two twitter friends, and our organization is called Concerts For Change. Now one of my daughters, still in her teens, pursues her own path into Charity, tagged #givingbydoing, so you can say that ‘charity entrepreneur-ing’ runs in the family!
No one can change everything, but together we can start a change!
[Creative Commons Image Credit: Children in Village]