Betterplace | Raising Funds and Donations by Crowd

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Betterplace is a crowdfunding or crowd donation platform for social projects. For this reason the raised amounts are substantially less than other crowdfunded projects. In this article, we will look at 1) what is Betterplace? 2) benefits of using Betterplace, 3) why and when to use Betterplace, 4) options to raise funds and fees on Betterplace, 5) how to be successful on Betterplace, 6) Betterplace project stories.

WHAT IS BETTERPLACE?

Betterplace is an alternate form of crowdfunding in which social projects from around the world can collect money from those who want to donate to a charity, a cause or an event. The website is the largest such internet based platform in Germany and connects those who want to donate with people and organizations that need this support. Donations of both time and money can be collected through the website on no additional charges.

Close to 18 million Euros have been collected for over 11,000 social projects since 2007. Of these, 5.4 million were in the year 2013. As of September 2014, the website has 116,000 users and projects from 170 countries are registered for donations. There has also been successful collection of donations during natural disaster events such as 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The website provides support to those collecting donations through digital tools. These are provided free of any cost and are meant to ensure that even smaller online fundraising projects can achieve their targets successfully. 100 percent of the funds collected for a project go to it and no fee is charged.

History

The website was created in 2007 in Berlin by Till Behnke, Moritz Eckert and Joana Breidenbach. The company is part of gut.org, which also has betterplace labs and betterplace solutions under its umbrella. Betterplace labs explore digital trends in the social sector while betterplace solutions helps companies make the most out of their social project aspirations.

Large, established organizations also make use of this platform for their specific project needs. Some of the organizations known to have collected donations through betterplace include UNICEF, the German Red Cross, Bethel and the German Children’s fund.

BENEFITS OF USING BETTERPLACE

There are many ways for organizations and individuals to collect money for different causes and charities. Collecting online is different from traditional means of fundraising and has the potential of extending the donor base substantially. Some benefits include:

  • A project can reach newer, relatively younger target groups for donations.
  • Online donations are higher than offline donations on average.
  • There is low resistance for both donors and fundraisers.
  • Transparency can be demonstrated more easily. This means there is more potential for a donor base to have confidence in the project of their choice for donations.
  • The costs associated with fundraising can be substantially lowered through an online donation platform. Because of this lower costs, more organizations have the opportunity to ask for funds.
  • It is easier to find the right audience for any particular project because of the extensive network that can only be found online. The right audience means the chances of finding maximum funds at the right time is higher.

WHY & WHEN TO USE BETTERPLACE

The average age of a betterplace donor is 38 years and as such the website targets a younger and more internet aware audience. People can donate to specific projects and needs but not towards enhancing budgets for different organizations engaged in social works or enterprise. The organization putting up a project for donation needs to be very specific about what is needed in terms or either the monetary target or the time commitment of volunteers.

If a project has set a monetary target of 10,000 or over, the organization is obligated to provide transparent and concrete details of the requirements and then report regularly on the progress through any means such as texts or emails, photos and videos. All projects can be discussed and evaluated openly by the community on the website.

The first step to raise funds through betterplace include a sign up and registration process. If there is an organization, then it needs to be registered first and only then can a project itself can be registered. No nicknames can be used during sign up as this profile becomes the public face and contact person for the project as a whole. Registering an organization may include a brief history, goals and a philosophy. Any successes or current projects should also be mentioned.

When registering the project, there should be a specific title along with project locations and a description. After this the project needs have to be added. These can be further enhanced later on as well. If the organization is not tax deductible in Germany, only 2,500 Euros can be collected per year.

Why Choose Betterplace

  • Large Variety of Projects – There are thousands of projects listed on Betterplace and any potential donor can choose the right one to give to easily. Anyone can pitch a project on the open platform.
  • Transparency – There is an obligation to provide transparent and clear information about what will be accomplished with the money that is donated. This is beneficial for both donors and those requesting donations as there will be accountability.
  • Communication The platform encourages donors and organizations to communicate with each other and get involved. A donor can ask questions and give advice and critique a project. Engagement from both parties can shape the development process as a whole.
  • No Extra Charges – The website passes on all donations collected as a whole and no fee is charged. This means that any donated sum is transferred to those who need it in entirety.

When to Use Betterplace

The platform can be used to raise money for a project, get time donations from those willing to volunteer as well as for company’s looking to donate to a cause as a whole. If the project is being put forward by a non-profit organization, then it is tax deductible and there are no limits on the amount that can be requested. On the other hand, if a private party is asking for funds, they are subject to a cap amount of 2,500 Euros. People donating to either of these can do so anonymously, as a one-off or on a monthly basis.

Those offering a time donation to become a volunteer for a project. These donations are free of charge and can be one time, regular or online only.

OPTIONS TO RAISE FUNDS & FEES ON BETTERPLACE

The platform remains free of charge. This means that the entire collected sum of money goes to the project in question and none is deducted as fees of any sort. This model is supported by a special form of financing through private sponsors and strategic partners. These partners can represent their social activities through the platform. In addition, Betterplace solutions is a revenue generating body that advises companies on their corporate social responsibility endeavors and projects. All profits from Betterplace Solutions go to the parent company and are then used to help the charitable arm, betterplace.org, function.

Donors can be asked to donate money or their time. Money can be donated anonymously as well and there are options for one time and repeat donation. Time is donated free of charge and is in the form of volunteer efforts. These can again be one time or repeat and there is also an option to volunteer online.

HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON BETTERPLACE

Anyone can put forward a project to be listed for donations on betterplace. Some ways to make this project successful include:

  • Use the Project Page – Once a project is registered, it acts as the project profile page. This is a digital collection point where donations can be collected efficiently. This page provides an online presence which can be utilized to create a story for the project. This page can be used to provide transparent, credible information about the project goals, needs and timelines and used to update donors on progress.
  • Use Feedback  Through this page, the project owners can communicate with the donors and use their feedback and critiques to better the project for the long term success of the social support program that is being run through the money collected.
  • Create a Buzz – The project page can be shared on other social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a widget on a website. Another channel is to place a link to the donation page in the email signature. It can also be converted to a physical flyer to be handed out. This sharing process can help generate excitement about a project among existing donors, friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Manage Donors – Whenever a donation is made, the project team will receive a notification. Donors can choose to share their contact information with the team and this can be used to communicate with them at any point. This information can also later be used to share other similar causes with the donors for a more long term engagement.
  • Use Website Support and Tools – Betterplace provides many free of cost tips and tricks through the betterplace lab and these can help a newer project achieve success in their donation goals.

Web of Trust

Though all projects listed on the website are charitable, this does not automatically guarantee that donors will place their trust in the project. A reputation needs to be acquired through a network of trust which is termed as the web of trust.

This network can be through the people who comment on the project page about the trustworthiness of the project. Advocates who have been involved in the project at any stage, have made an effort to visit the project location or who personally know the people behind the project can be a source of this trust. People who may have donated to another project put forward by the same party could also share their experience with the team to encourage new donors to participate. Regular reporting on the project progress and other critical information provided openly can help develop this trust further. In addition, important questions from donors that helped make the project better can be shared to further the transparency of the project. A large web of trust can make a huge difference to the achievement of project goals.

Mistakes to avoid

Any organization looking to gather donations online should keep in mind that though putting a project online for donations seems easier and quicker, and it is in many ways, there is no substitute for the work and time needed to be put in to actually encourage people to donate. As online donation platforms and crowdfunding grow in popularity, there are several thousand competing projects that are all vying for donations from the same pool of donors. To differentiate a project and create a compelling story, there needs to be an effort to provide transparency and show an urgency for the cause in questions. A project may need to be supported by extensive social media campaigns and regular updates to ensure that donors are called to action.

BETTERPLACE PROJECT STORIES

Ebola Emergency (English version)

This project is currently listed for donations on betterplace. It has managed to collect 80 percent of its needed amount with about 12,000 Euros needed. The project is listed by Action Medeor, a German medical aid organization that has been conducting charitable projects for the poor for 45 years. The established organization sees this online platform as an investment in future through access to newer, younger donors in order to increase their base of support. The organization has managed to successfully raise funds through for such causes as the Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe shortly after it was highlighted in the media. 2000 Euros were collected for 200 medical treatments. A similar project for Ebola is now underway. Some of the project needs include protective clothing, screening kits, PVC aprons, water purification, forehead thermometers and medications sets for clinics in at risk areas.

DKMS Fight against Blood Cancers (English version)

This is another ongoing project that has raised 69 percent of its target with a little over 27,000 Euros remaining. The aim of the project is to find a suitable living donor for every possible type blood cancer patient that relies on stem cell transplantation.

Schools for Africa (English version)

This project is still active on betterplace where 99 percent with only 464 Euros remaining. The project is by UNICEF and the aim is to build child-friendly model schools in Rwanda. Donations can help reach as many as 3.6 million children. The project aims to build schools, provide clean drinking water and latrines, and provide educational material and teacher training as well as promoting health.

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