People want a tangible link between their donor funds and the cause they are trying to impact
Disaster has struck Australia over several months, with 2019 and 2020’s historically savage bush fires ravaging the lives of our people and wildlife.
These fires have claimed the lives of 28 people, engulfed 7.3 million hectares and affected the lives of almost half a billion animals. These horrific conditions have seen everyone from everyday Australians to international celebrities donate their money to provide assistance.
However, recent reports of the appearance of or actual mismanagement of donations have showcased a lack of transparency with charitable platforms, leaving people unsure about where their money is going. For most charities, they were so inundated by the crisis, they simply could not provide the donations fast enough. Wary of being accused of mismanagement of funds by giving them to people who were not in as much need as others, heightened their need for robust processes.
The crisis saw people opening their purses/wallets, though they may be wary to open them in the future if they do not see the results they were looking for. People want to save koalas and they want to know that their funds saved them.
Donations rising from the ashes
Large displays of support have been fierce in response to these bush fires. From local Australians donating what they can, to Australian celebrities bringing awareness to their international friends, there has been over $500 million raised for bush fire relief funds. $50 million alone has been raised by a comedian with an international audience, highlighting how everyone has come together in this time of crisis.
However, reports have shown that The Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army have all been slow to distribute donations to fire-affected communities.
Such reports have caused people to become frustrated at not knowing where and how their money is distributed. This sense of disconnection has also been felt by those who were accepting goods rather than money. Some facilities have stopped receiving donations as they could not cope with the sheer level of supplies coming in.
It has created an interesting problem, how do charities provide those affected with what they need in a timely manner, while simultaneously providing donors both a clear understanding of where their money went and seemingly a connection to the person receiving it? Can people expect to fund a charity or NGO and see a tangible result?
Charities are doing their absolute best. And people want to know where their money went. In times of crisis, this is particularly difficult. In general fundraising, it is a lot easier and the link can be established.
Giving donors a tangible connection
There are a number of global examples of charitable organisations connecting those who donate to the cause at hand.
For example, UNICEF’s “Sponsor a child” program provides a tangible link between children and sponsors. Including transparent information on how donations are broken down, along with updates on how a sponsor’s child is going, creating a strong connection for those wanting to donate.
Committing long-term to a donation might not always be financially possible, but buying a box of peanut butter with 126 satchels might be more achievable. Instead of asking for money, UNICEF provides the donor with the ability to provide 126 serves of peanut butter, which will likely save lives.
Oxfam allows you to provide a goat for people in places like Vanuatu. Whether it’s birthing baby goats that can be sold, producing manure to help the growth of crops, you’re able to help a family out with just a single purchase of a goat. Even making a micro loan, when you’re connected to the cause or receiver, can create that link. It’s not about the amount of money; it’s seeing that money go to the right place and right people.
A combination of both connectivity and flexibility is where donation platforms are progressing towards.
What does the future look like?
If charities are able to embrace more technological advancements for donation platforms, a greater connection can be created linking those in need to people who are wanting to help.
Charity platforms in the future can work towards creating a service that focuses more on requests. Such a campaign could allow someone affected by a disaster to list their supply needs. For example, a family could need specific food or toiletry items for their children, farmers could need seeds for their field, or a construction worker may need parts for their truck.
Essentially acting as a peer-to-peer model, people looking for donations can secure their unique essentials they need to start their lives again. At the same time, people looking to donate can have a crystal clear link to those they are helping. This model will likely gain traction and be seen as best practice.
A new platform set to launch
Redux is a new organisation seeking to provide a tangible link between the person with the funds and the person who needs them. Redux is about changing the model of how people contribute to and are involved in making a difference to people in another country and the world. The traditional model of donating to a charity can leave people feeling disconnected from their intention and the people that they intend to help. There is an increasing desire to be connected tangibly to the people or cause that we are trying to impact.
People in developing countries are paid to clean up the streets in their local area. This ensures that the rubbish does not end up in the drains and waterways and ultimately the ocean (the majority of plastic in our ocean comes from 10 rivers in the developing world). People and organisations in developed countries pay for the area to be cleaned up and the plastic recycled (where possible) and the rubbish disposed of properly. Creating employment and having a positive impact on our environment.
Redux provides a win-win situation, this is the platform that allows people to have the tangible link between their funds and the people that they seek to impact.
Soon you will be able to become an Ocean Ambassador and clean up a street in Bali at www.redux.org.