Home > Reflections > Letting donors call the shots…

I was referred to this recently published article in Wall Street Journal. The article talks about how a new breed of non-profit organizations is giving the public more control over their small-scale donations. Sounds familiar? :)

At Jolkona Foundation, we also believe that it is critical to give individuals (especially the younger generations) more control over their donations. We also believe in the importance of showing proof of impact for these small-scale donations so that individuals feel empowered to do even more in the future. I thought this one statement from the article really shows the power of these organizations- “Of the 73,000 people who’ve made contributions on the site (DonorsChoose.org) thus far, 70% have never donated to a public education charity before…”

Out of curiousity I decided to use Alexa.com to compare the web traffic for the 3 websites mentioned in the article – Kiva.org, GlobalGiving.com, and DonorsChoose.org. From the chart it is easy to see that Kiva.org is more popular than the other two. One reason for this higher popularity is because “micro-credit” seems to be a hot topic these days and Kiva.org is doing a great job allowing the public to get involved with the micro-credit movement with small amounts of money. The second reason is probably less obvious. Unlike the other two websites, Kiva connects the donors with an individual business. This 1-to-1 connection provides a high degree of gratification to the donor, making Kiva.org a popular option. At Jolkona, we believe our emphasis on a 1-to-1 impact will make us another popular option with the public.

I also liked the part of the article which talks about the operation cost for these new breed of organizations. I think it is still very early to say which of these approaches (if any) is the optimal solution. We here at Jolkona Foundation will be trying few of these approaches, but, also will try some new ones. It will be interesting to see if one or more of these methods become a standard for operation cost funding in the future.

Jolkona and other such websites are just the beginning. In the next 5-10 years I expect to see huge leaps in using technology to fundamentally change how philanthropy is done. At Jolkona, we believe that future is now. We believe new standards will be established in the field of philanthropy in the near future.

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