CrowdRise and expense transparency

Last week, Lord Gus O’Donnell speaking at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) annual conference, emphasised the need to clarify for donors how the funds are being spent. Calling for transparency and embracing “the insights of behavioural approaches and focusing on raising our impact”. The donors’ demand for transparency is ever-growing, a trend only increased by online media, and it has been recognised at the NCVO as one of the main vehicles to success.

From the CrowdRise platform comes a good tip on how transparency, along with educating the donors about the overhead costs, can be translates in the little aspects connected to giving. The platform is a hub of great ideas for how to use technology for fundraising, and a great example of how really investing in the interface between charity and donor can produce exponential returns.

Edward Norton is the Hollywood face behind CrowdRise, which aims to help connecting people to causes through social media, facilitating and maximising the individual fundraising effort. CrowdRise tries to combine the more entertaining part of social networking with fundraising for charitable causes. One of their most famous features is the “giving tower”, an ambitious Virtual Reality experience, easily accessible through a free app, which showed during Giving Tuesday a tower made of “donations” growing amongst recognisable buildings, according to the number of donation received through the platform over the day. It is an innovative experiment of how online technology can be used not just as a communication tool but also as an entertainment device aimed to boost interest around the organisation.

On a smaller scale, but somehow of potentially greater impact and interest, is another interesting feature of CrowdRise website: once reached the checkout stage, the donor can opt to pay just the amount he decided to donate, or to also include the administrative fees. It’s a very little gimmick but effective in its simplicity, as it immediately shows the donor how charities are bound to credit card and service fees like any other business, and exactly in which proportion.



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