Want to learn basic Arabic or Spanish from the comforts of your home without spending a fortune? For 5 Canadian dollars ($5), you can — while also giving to charity.
Online crowd funding is the new philanthropy in the age of social media. Over the past decade, crowd-funding sites catering to artists, writers, startups, small and medium enterprises, and even nongovernmental organizations have mushroomed online.
Take Kiva, for example, a nonprofit that acts as a middleman for lenders, microfinance institutions and entrepreneurs. The site allows lenders to provide loans to their chosen entrepreneurs from different parts of the world.
Another is Crowdrise, which follows a business model most aid-focused, crowd-funding sites do: put up a campaign page, share it via email or social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and then wait for donors. GiveCorps, a Baltimore-based crowd-funding platform, has a similar model but donors also earn goodies in the form of discounted coupons.
Now a new site has joined the booming crowd-funding industry — Raise5. The site sets itself apart from others by tapping people’s skills and creativity to raise money for causes they support. Its layout is patterned after Pinterest, a social photo-sharing site that TechCrunch named best startup of 2011 and Mashable CEO and founder Pete Cashmore called the breakout social network of 2012. Instead of displaying “pinned” photos, however, Raise5 lays out services people are willing to provide for charity.
Here’s how it works: Individuals who wish to raise funds for causes they support go to Raise5 to post services that range from silly antics to helpful guides on how to draw using Adobe Illustrator. All of the funds raised will go to the service provider’s chosen charity. The fundraiser gets nothing but a warm, happy feeling.
It is a win-win situation for those who pay for the services. Apart from gaining new knowledge or getting entertained, they get to fund a good cause.
All services on the site can be purchased for a flat rate of 5 Canadian dollars. Raise5 takes 1 Canadian dollar off every transaction to pay for operational costs — a bit high compared with other crowd-funding platforms. Crowdrise charges 4.95 percent per donation, although pricing can be higher depending on the amount and number of donations.
The money raised is given to the nonprofits every quarter. At present, service providers can only choose from nine organizations, including the Red Cross, the U.N. World Food Program, Médecins Sans Frontières and charity:water, which the team initially picked to support. But Hassan Hassan, one of Raise5’s co-founders, told Devex the team has started contacting organizations to partner with directly.
Feeling charitable? Why don’t you Raise5 now?
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