It’s about time that somebody took the highly efficient Kickstarter crowdfunding model, added a dash of gaming metrics, and applied it to something that’s purely about benefiting society. This is great.
YouHelp, a recently launched Austrian startup, is doing just that. It enables users to create “challenges” that benefit certain NGOs or participate in ongoing social fund raising. To date, the site has launched in German speaking countries only. However, the company plans to expand to other countries soon. Among the founders is Last.fm co-founder and CTO Thomas Willomitzer who designed the architecture behind the application and obviously brings experience of scaling from his Last.fm days.
Taking the Kickstarter concept and applying it to fundraising for NGOs is definitely an interesting way for NGOs to raise money from the public. There are still people on the street asking for donations directly, thus this industry is ripe for transformation, which sites like YouHelp might be able to help with. The startup has already managed to attract some high profile NGOs.
YouHelp is partly self-funded and also supported via a public grant. Interestingly, the startup’s plan is to generate revenue not through a transaction fee, but by taking a slice of the NGO/NPO’s marekting budget. 100% of the money raised directly through the service is thus going straight to the project the money was intended for. By securing a fixed fee, they also ensure that the partnership with the respective NGO exists over a longer period of time and that donations won’t be diluted through a transaction fee other than that charged by credit card companies or Paypal, for example.