New Platform Promises to Revolutionise How Charities Receive Donations
25 January 2018 at 8:38 am
Billions of dollars which donors have intended to go to charities are being “eaten up by third parties” globally, according to the founder of a new online platform which aims to revolutionise how charities receive donations.
Not for profit Enablr is the brainchild of ex-Google executive, Christopher Mulcahy.
The platform, which is set to launch in the coming weeks, lets charities keep 100 per cent of their donations if they’re receiving less than $1 million in donations per year, while those exceeding the threshold keep 97.5 per cent.
Mulcahy told Pro Bono News when he was at Google he “couldn’t believe that so many companies profited from charities and donors” and he hoped to revolutionise the model globally to show there was no need for there to be someone in the middle profiting.
“The cost of fundraising for charities in Australia is over $1.1 billion and whilst that is a huge amount of money, it is still actually a relatively small amount of money compared to the cost of fundraising in countries like for example Canada, which has $11.7 billion, and the USA which is $47 billion. Even places closer to home like Japan it costs the 330 registered charities almost $6 billion a year to raise funds through third party for-profit fundraising organisations,” he said.
“Collectively globally you are talking hundreds of billions of dollars which donors have intended to go to charities [but] have been eaten up by the third parties who are sitting in between the relationship of donors and charities and I think it should in fact be a charity that facilitates the nurturing of that relationship. And a charity who respects that relationship and does everything it possibly can to not interrupt it, but encourage it.”
Mulcahy left Google in 2014 to make Enablr a reality with the help of “some of the best software engineers and entrepreneurs in the world”.
“I had an absolute ball at Google and I was very lucky to spend a number of years there and get Google’s experience, not only here in Australia but throughout Asia Pacific and also in North America. It was definitely the most incredible work experience of my life,” Mulcahy said.
“But I kept thinking about the impact of me and the work that I can do, and in my final role as head of movie content for Google Play for APAC, I was loving being at the forefront of a digital home entertainment revolution, but I thought if it wasn’t me doing this role it would be someone else.
“Whereas the idea of launching a not for profit, which is also a registered charity with the ACNC, thats purpose was solely to assist other registered charities with not for profit online fundraising solutions, that concept has potentially an enormous impact, not only for the 55,000 registered charities here in Australia but for all charities right across the globe.”
Enablr, which has been endorsed by OzHarvest, The Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, The Australian Ballet and AIME, launched its beta testing window in September and is now set to launch in the coming weeks.
It provides multiple services, enabling charities to raise and keep more funds from individual giving, peer-to-peer giving, workplace giving and event based giving, with the support of free eLearning.
Mulcahy said having “Google in their DNA” meant the team at Enablr was able to bring the expertise of Google’s tech and marketing offerings to the fundraising space.
“When it comes to donor acquisition campaigns, we have in house a team of experts who know Google Adwords back to front, and on top of that they are also experts in social media advertising, in the power of video content and specifically of Generation C,” he said.
“We have all heard of Generation Y etc but Gen C is an audience defined not by age but by user behaviour and they are the people who create content, they create communities around content, they comment on it, they share it, they like it and the power of that audience is enormous when it comes to the donations space for charities.
“So we are able to harness real influencers in the online world to help charities educate the wider public and attract the support of the wider public and then retain that support on an ongoing basis.”
He said charities were still using traditional means much more than the digital channels available to them.
“I think it is a very confronting, often bewildering, challenge for charities to face and that’s why we’re here,” he said.
“At Enablr we want to make the whole thing very approachable, we want to hold the hands of all of our charities that we work with and make them feel comfortable with the digital world and we also want to be very clear on the fact that fundraising efforts through third party in both the digital and traditional world, should be done on a not profit basis only.
“There should not be someone in the middle profiting, from assisting charities in their really important work of raising funds.”
Mulcahy said while he did not think charities should be paying third party for-profit organisations to raise money on their behalf, he did believe that they should be investing in fundraising.
“I think they should invest a great deal of time, energy and resources in their fundraising efforts,” he said.
“I don’t think they should be employing third party for profit organisations to raise money on their behalf, where they are charging such enormous and exorbitant commissions which I believe is an antiquated model and is also borderline immoral.
“I believe charities should be building online non profit models, and then they should be investing themselves in online campaigns to promote those initiatives, so they should be investing in digital, in Facebook, in Adwords, they should be creating video content on a regular basis which they should be sharing through edm campaigns. So yes there is absolutely a requirement to invest in fundraising but no, there is not a requirement nor a necessity to do so through a for profit third party.”
He said he encouraged other not-for-profit platforms to launch.
“We don’t see that as competition, we see that as comrades in the revolution.”
Enablr is managed by a digital agency and supported by sales from its online shop and The Enablr Art Project, which has seen 25 Australian artists provide the rights to produce limited edition prints of their work, which are sold through the platform.
“If you look throughout history, revolutions have been led by artists, they are the vocal members of the community who lead the masses, and our revolution is no exception to that rule,” Mulcahy said.
He said the overall aim for Enable was to have an “enormous impact globally” on how charities go about their fundraising and how donors go about their donating.
“We want donors to feel very safe and comfortable in an environment where their goodwill is respected, we want to be fully transparent at all times, and we want to see a huge shift in the way people donate,” he said.
“In the same way people made a huge shift from reading newspapers in the physical format to online, I believe that huge shift will come to the fundraising space once a genuinely moral, non-profit, one stop shop solution is available to donors and charities. We want to be that solution.”