The crowdfunding space has just got a little more crowded in the UK, with the official launch today of a platform for crowdsourcing donations aimed at doing social good. Yimby.com — an affirmative play on the phrase nimby (aka ‘not in my back yard’) — is a new business from online charity donation company JustGiving, a 12-year veteran of the digital giving space. Yimby.com has been operating in beta up to today.
If you’re in the business of making money from other people’s largess — JustGiving takes a 5% cut of all donations on its platform, and has raised £1.6 billion for charity since 2001 (which equates to revenue of around £127 million for the business) — then the rise of alternative crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter, is either a concern or an opportunity.
A concern because these platforms are on a growth tear, and people only have so much money to give. The most successful crowdfunding platforms also give people more of an incentive to donate by casting the spell of story around causes/projects to increase engagement.
Instead of watching from the sidelines JustGiving has decided to wade in, with a little help (to the tune of £50,000) from the UK government to help it launch Yimby. Presumably Yimby tallies with the government’s ‘big society‘ agenda — by outsourcing social project financing to the community, rather than the Treasury.
As with its other charitable donations-fuelled business, JustGiving will be taking a 5% fee on donations for all successful projects on Yimby. It’s also charging card fees (where applicable).
Here’s how it describes Yimby’s mission:
Yimby.com allows individuals to deliver philanthropic projects without being affiliated with a charity, from planting community gardens, to purchasing basketball wheelchairs for local teams or launching mentoring programmes for young people.
Yimby is manually checking projects to ensure they qualify as a ‘social good’ — so trying to fund your Birthday drinks probably won’t fly. But individual projects can qualify if the need/cause is great enough, with Yimby noting that a disabled man used the platform to fund making his house more accessible during the site’s beta period, for example.
Over the beta, Yimby has had 250 projects submitted, and more than £250,000 has been pledged. More than 100 of the projects have been successfully funded to-date, which it says works out at a 64% success rate thus far. Yimby sets a 30-day period on campaigns to keep them “focused”.
One successful project that took place during the beta was a campaign to save Kettering Town Football Club. Its supporters were able to raise £20,546 on the site in October.
Asked why the UK needs another crowdfunding platform, even one focused on social good, JustGiving said its aim is to take the crowdfunding model mainstream — or more mainstream than it currently is.
“We’ve continually been asked by our users for exactly this type of service, and now we want to open up philanthropy to any individual wanting to start their own community projects,” it told TechCrunch. “With JustGiving’s experience, technology and reach behind us we hope to bring community crowdfunding to a mainstream audience across the UK.”
It did not make mention of fee-less charity donation rival Believe.in, which undercuts JustGiving by charging zero fees on donations, but such disruption can’t be far from its thoughts.
And while here’s no shortage of rivals to Yimby — from a mainstream crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter to specialist social good platforms such as StartSomeGood or OpenIDEO, to name a couple – JustGiving will presumably be hoping its brand profile gives it a better reach than some of its smaller rivals. It’s also clearly keen to tap into the energy around crowdfunding.
While Yimby is launching only in the UK for now, JustGiving says the site has been growing fast, adding that it has plans to expand Yimby internationally in future.