In a world increasingly interconnected through the internet and social media, the realms and definitions of charity and philanthropy have exponentially expanded and been redefined. That is Crowdsourced Funding!
With origins in the concept of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding works to collect funds through small contributions, via an online community or portal, from many parties in order to finance a particular project. This allows people for a common purpose to connect, and is becoming one of the most popular fundraising options for nonprofits and individuals alike. It enables a group of people–small, large, or in between–to collectively raise money for a specific cause or charity.
Transparent Hands – The Concept Of Crowdsourced Funding
As the world becomes more and more co-dependent, with a greater and far wider call for social consciousness, the concept of online charity sites, portals and peer-to-peer fundraising is changing the way we give. One such concept working out of Pakistan is Transparent Hands. With a chapter each in Pakistan and the US, Transparent Hands is the brainchild of educationist and entrepreneur Rameeza Moin. Established in June 2014, the crowdfunded website has helped treat more than 200 patients through operative procedures across Pakistan.
“Pakistan is a developing country where majority of people do not have access to timely and good health care. Transparent Hands bridges that gap by providing Crowdsourced Funding for life-saving surgical treatments and operations for needy people,” says Rameeza. This social enterprise reaches people with poor health conditions requiring surgery to recover completely. Transparent Hands then assist the patient right from the registration to the discharge from the hospital. All the expenses are paid with the donated amount. Donors can see the campaigns on their web portal and choose the patient they want to help. They can see all the documents of the patients including: diagnosis report, receipts, surgery date etc. The organization does their best to perform effectively and ensure that donors are being updated with the patient’s status.
Philanthropic Charitable Organization
At any given time there are about 15 to 20 campaigns running on the website. Of the cases listed on the organization’s portal (http://www.transparenthandsus.org/Contribution/campaignlist), some are more serious than others. Donors can directly contribute to causes through an easy online payment system. The campaign range from the young to the old and covers various surgery cases; pediatric, gynecology, ENT, cardiac, kidney, orthopedic and other general surgeries. The amount to be raised this year is 1.5 million US dollars, where even a small donation can create a big difference.
“Pakistanis are working as a part of the larger expatriate community abroad, are recognized as some of the most generous and philanthropic people in the world,” says Rameeza. With presence in Pakistan as well as in US, Transparent Hands aims to instigate support and encouragement both within the country and abroad for patients who are battling for their lives. “Often times, a single donation is not enough to cover the entire costs for a surgical procedure. With the crowdsourced funding concept, every person’s amount adds up towards the final cost,” adds Rameeza.
Pakistan & Philanthropy
A March 2011 article in the Guardian estimates that more than 20 per cent of the population in Pakistan is giving money to some charity or the other. Figures for Pakistanis earning abroad and sending charity home are even higher. Given the scale of poverty in the country, these numbers become even more complimenting. “As one of the top ranked countries internationally for philanthropy, for most Pakistanis there is never a limit on generosity, and people just need direction on where to send their charity and zakat,” says Rameeza. By providing the transparency and accountability through the Transparent Hands portal, they try and connect sponsors directly with the recipients. You can see your good will and funding used in the best means possible.
For the young organization, avenues for growth are manifold.
“Operative and surgical healthcare is currently our main area of focus, but we hope to soon diversify the crowdfunding model to education as well,” summarizes Rameeza. “We are a nation with so much potential that just needs to be harnessed in the best way possible. For our journey to be successful, we need all the help and encouragement we can get.”
So we can say, Crowdsourced Funding is the Future of Philanthropy!