betterplace.org and the others – online fundraising platforms

When observing yourself you can learn a lot about others, too (and vice versa). As far as we – and the author of the German Das Kulturmanagement Blog know – betterplace.org is the one and only. In Germany, that is. On a global level, however, there are many online fundraising platforms, and that’s a good thing. Especially North America is ahead of Europe when it comes to understanding and using the power of the social web. Thank you, dear Kulturmanagement Blog, for linking to Peter Deitz’ blog About Micro Philanthropy and its list of online fundraising platforms, some of which are, like betterplace.org, also web communities.

Are we comparable? I’d definitely encourage comparisons. Take Montreal based GiveMeaning, for instance. We are quite similar to each other – but then again so different. I like the idea behind their voting system: a project proposal has to receive 100 votes within 30 days in order to become a project and qualify for fundraising. Nonetheless (I won’t even pretend to be objective about this…) to me betterplace is more appealing. What do you think?

3 Responses to “betterplace.org and the others – online fundraising platforms”


  1. 1 Tom Newman January 21, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Excerpt of article in The Vancouver Sun newspaper of January 19, 2008:

    http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=b76ff000-c8e8-4789-9ed8-806df2c2945a

    During the year ending Sept. 30, 2006, GiveMeaning received $234,643 in donations for which it gave tax receipts, according to a financial statement filed with Canada Revenue Agency. Tom Williams said these are largely donations from individuals.

    It received another $730,350 from other registered charities. Williams said these donations were made specifically to pay GiveMeaning’s overhead.

    He refused to identify any of these donors. I found this strange: My sense is that, while some donors request anonymity, most registered charities or foundations publicly report where they are placing their money, not so much for recognition as for transparency.

    More generally, I do not understand why certain undisclosed charities would give money to pay overhead for what is essentially a charitable conduit.

    In the case of GiveMeaning, that overhead is disproportionately large. Of the $982,705 in total donations it received (and issued tax receipts for), GiveMeaning spent $666,070, or 68 per cent, on administrative expenses.

    Those expenses included $199,043 for professional and consulting fees; $153,646 for salaries, wages and benefits; $28,433 for advertising and promotion; and $24,019 for travel.

    I asked Williams whether he receives a salary. Well, yes, $90,000 per year. And his wife, country singer Jessie Farrell, who works part-time for the foundation “when she can,” gets $30,000. So together they collect $120,000 per year, plus expenses.

    After subtracting overhead costs, just over $300,000 was available for charitable purposes in 2006, but only $172,000 was actually given to charities (the remainder is still on the foundation’s books). That $172,000 represents just 17.5 per cent of total donations.

    But that’s not the end of it. Many of the charities that receive money have their own overhead. So the net amount available for true charitable purposes is even less.

    Williams insists that, whenever a person gives money for a particular charity, 100 per of that money gets to the named beneficiary. That may be true, but it does not mitigate the fact that the vast majority of the overall money collected during 2006 went to administration.

    Williams says this was due largely to start-up costs: “Yes, we have spent more than we have given away. Just like any other start-up business, it takes time to get profitable,” he said.

    He said the financial return for the year ending Sept. 30, 2007, which is just now being filed, will show a greater percentage of overall donations going to charity. We shall see.

    The Vancouver Sun January 19, 2008

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  1. 1 A basis of informed choices « betterplace.org teamblog Trackback on January 23, 2008 at 12:15 pm

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