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How to set up a secure and transparent "pot" for fundraising efforts?

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by eric_s, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    Hi

    When thinking about possible campaigns/fundraising i've often come about a problem that i don't know how to solve best. Please share any knowledge and ideas you have about this...

    This situation is like this:

    There are donors and there is a recipient. If you already know the recipient when starting your campaign, you can just mention the recipient's account details and donors can donate to that account. The problem with that approach is that it will be impossible to keep a tally of donations and i think it's very important to know how much one has raised and also the organiser of a campaign will have no control over the delivery of the donations to the recipient, as they will just pour in, and thus is not in a position to be able to negotiate with the recipient about what studies to, how to report back etc.
    Also it's possible that there will be a situation where a study whould require for example 100'000$ and it will not be possible to raise that sum. If you donate directly to the recipient, the money will be there, but the study can't be done, which is of course a very bad situation.
    Also if a private person or a group of private persons, for example a group of forum members, want to raise money for some purpose, people might not be able to trust that person or group sufficiently (and that's probably smart) to be able to donate to their private account.

    So i think there would have to be a solution, where money is donated to some sort of escrow account, where each donor gets a feedback that his/her donation has been recieved and where there can be a tally, and where then, if a condition is met, for example after a certain timespan, or once a defined sum of money has been donated, the money is transferred to the recipient.
    Or there would have to be an independet and trustworthy audit of the organiser's account, so it will be proven to donors that all of their money went where it was supposed to go.

    Basically the main points are that donors have to be sure their donation arrives at the recipient (that's the most important thing) and that it would be good to have a tally and to be able to transfer the money in one or several big portions to the recipient, so the organiser of the fundraising can negotiate with the recipient.

    I know about www.causes.com, which seems to be a good thing, but as far as i know, they only accept donations by credit card. I think it would be necessary to also be able to donate by bank transer and maybe even cheque (in the USA people use this sometimes, right?) or other popular methods.

    Please share any suggestions, ideas, knowledge etc. you might have. I think this is an important problem that will arise with every effort to raise money and if we can find a good way to solve it, we can have much more success.
     
  2. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    PledgeBank are a non-money version of pledging to do an action if a certain number of other people will. Perhaps that could be the basis of something along the lines you're thinking. Of course, without money in escrow, you'd have to rely on people to deliver when the criterion number was reached.
     
  3. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    Thanks Sasha. I will look at it. It's interesting because this might be a way to help with the problem that people sometimes think their single small donation will not make a difference. I had that idea of pledges too, but didn't know there's already such a website.

    I think we still need to find a good way to set up an account to donate to, because in some cases it's probably not the best thing or not possible to donate directly to the recipient, like for example if a forum wants to raise money and then donate it to research based on a poll.
     
  4. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I agree it's really important to know that you're not alone in making contributions. Knowing that you're joining in with a successful thing is a good way to encourage people to donate.

    Just Four Quid is another interesting thing to look at. It was an ME-specific fundraising blog for the Ramsay Research Fund and ME Research UK that ran for a year. It worked by the blogger being in touch with the two charities and reporting back from them each week how much had been raised by that campaign. People could donate to whichever of the two charities they chose using JustGiving.com pages linked directly to the charities' accounts (so again, people could see money being donated by credit card in real time) or by mail/phone donations to the charities' offices, mentioning the Just Four Quid campaign so that the charities knew that that was where it had come from.

    I don't think I'd want to donate blind, not knowing what/where my money would go, so I wouldn't donate to something to be decided by a poll - but maybe I've misunderstood what you mean? I know the Washington Post ad got donations before people were asked to vote on the best ad so maybe not everyone feels the same.

    I also wouldn't want to donate to an account separate from a charity's account (a subaccount held by a charity for a particular campaign would be fine). I think reputation is hugely important and if people aren't sure whether to trust the account holder, it's a reason not to donate.
     
  5. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input. I didn't have any concrete idea when i mentioned the poll. But for example right now, on another thread here http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/showthread.php?10009-Congress Justin has the idea of raising money to try to influence the US congress, which i think is a very good idea. I think there will always be projects where it makes sense to first collect the money and then give it to a recipient.
     
  6. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Interesting - and none of this really easily possible before the internet, of course!
     
  7. Tuha

    Tuha Senior Member

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    great to see this kind of discussion here. we already talked a bit with eric about. I dont know if I am right but i can imagine that it could work in this way - I will take Europe like an example:
    On the beggining, its important to say - if we would like to reach the most people possible we have to know that the different people prefere different things and so everyone should find his preferences to support this campaign. So lets say we would try to do a campaign for collecting money for me/ cfs research. so we have to have some research studies (maybe ESME could propose the studies - they seem to have internetional collaboration between researches so they know the research priorities -of cours there could be discussion between ESME and patients about) - we would say that we will do the campaign for 10 research studies (if there will be only 1-2 studies - maybe some patients who would like to support a research - they will not find any study which they like). Then to indicate the amount of money for each study - lets say 100 000 USD for each one - I think with this budget you can already do a good research.
    then to collect this money in successfull way - it means to give a good possibility for everyone - everyone prefere something else (direct bank account, paypal, facebook cause,....). In Europe, I would use ESME. I think they are enough transparent. So we would send the money to ESME bank account, paypal or they could do facebook cause (the patients would also write the study which they prefere - if they will not write their preference - the money would be used for the study which can start the earliest) - ESME would tell us each week how much money was raised for the different studies (I think this is really important to know about for the motivation of the people who will not believe on the beggining that it can work).
    for the people who dont believe ESME, there would be the possibility to send the money directly to the research organisation (like for example WPI). here can be maybe a problem that some researchers do more research, they are part of a university and maybe our money can be used for another sickness - maybe we can ask them about having an extra bank account, facebook cause account for this campaign. ALso if we will see that a study is not succesfull at all, the money from this study should be send to successfull studies. Maybe the patients could write more preference (3 studies if one wouldnt be succesfull). You know now if you send some money to a researcher - it can take even some years untill he has enough money to start. I also think that we have almost no information about the situation - the researchers have to comunicate more with us
    I think in this time when there is such a small research support from governemental funding - this is the only one, how to move the research. I already hear that if we will be succesfull maybe we will raise only some millions or even not and its not enough - compare to huge amount of money for for examle HIV. But if you look at WPI - if they finding will be confirmed - they did such a great work with only 3 mil USD - so sometimes some millions are more than some billions if you use them good. of course we should continue campaigns for more public sources.
     

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