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Want to Know Where Your Charity Dollars Are Going? Try Bright Funds.

If you want to know what hap­pens to the cash you give to non-prof­its and be able to man­age your giv­ing more effec­tive­ly, San Fran­cis­co start­up Bright Funds might just be able to help.

Today’s tech-savvy, mil­len­ni­al phil­an­thropist and par­tic­u­lar­ly those in media jobs are demand­ing more from their dona­tion expe­ri­ence. Not only do they want to be able to give online, they want to do it in a way that’s has­sle-free, fast, and cre­ative and can show them exact­ly where their mon­ey is going.

It doesn’t sound like an easy task, but Rutul Dave and for­mer Out­Serve founder Ty Wal­rod have tack­led it head on and come up with Bright Funds, a char­i­ty fundrais­ing plat­form that offers donors the chance to sam­ple a ‘holis­tic’ method of giv­ing, that’s also ful­ly account­able. It can inte­grate seam­less­ly with social media feeds to pro­vide infor­ma­tion from your cho­sen char­i­ties so you can see whether your cash is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, and employ­ers can build it into their pay­roll sys­tem via the cloud so work­ers can give straight from their pay pack­et.

Bright Funds Sets Itself Apart

This ‘holis­tic’ approach to giv­ing, com­bines the feel-good fac­tor of char­i­ta­ble dona­tion, with the man­age­ment func­tion­al­i­ty that close­ly resem­bles pri­vate invest­ing in a way that the founders claim is the ‘Van­guard of char­i­ta­ble giv­ing’.

By opt­ing to use Bright Funds users’ dona­tions are spread across the areas they choose to donate to. Bright Funds have tempt­ed a raft of char­i­ty part­ners include Teach for Amer­i­ca, The KIPP Foun­da­tion, Jump­start and iMen­tor, which it divides into char­i­ty areas or ‘Mutu­al Funds’ which cur­rent­ly include Edu­ca­tion, Relief, Pover­ty, Water and the Envi­ron­ment.

Users are encour­aged to select which of the areas they wish to donate to and what per­cent­age of a dona­tion they would like to give to their cho­sen area and Bright Funds will allo­cate those same per­cent­ages to the select­ed char­i­ty sec­tor each time the user makes a dona­tion. Users can also drill down fur­ther if they wish and decide which char­i­ties in each area they’d like to donate to. How­ev­er the ulti­mate aim is that afore­men­tioned ‘holis­tic’ approach; giv­ing to the ‘sec­tor’ rather than a par­tic­u­lar non-prof­it.

A Per­son­al Approach to Giv­ing

The founders argue that this approach offers donors a more per­son­al­ized feel – allow­ing them to build and curate port­fo­lios and allo­cate say, 30 per cent of their dona­tions to water, and 70 per cent to pover­ty, which is strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to invest­ing in pub­lic mar­kets. This allows the dona­tion (there are no upper or low­er lim­its on dona­tions at Bright Funds) to be spread even­ly among the non-prof­its in the cho­sen area. Donors can make one-time or reg­u­lar invest­ments and even if they decide to change their dona­tion amount, Bright Funds will remem­ber their per­cent­ages, re-cal­cu­late based on the new amount and allo­cate the funds accord­ing­ly.

Open­ing an account is free and all dona­tions are tax deductible, while Bright Funds makes its mon­ey by charg­ing a 7.5 per cent ‘fundrais­ing fee’ which cov­ers card han­dling and trans­ac­tion charges.  Bank trans­fers will fol­low short­ly, and poten­tial donors will also be pleased to hear that Bright Funds keeps detailed records of each user’s activ­i­ty and can offer a neat one-click tax report­ing.

Final­ly, most donors want to know what non-prof­its actu­al­ly do with their dona­tions. Bright Funds have a solu­tion for that too – they have devised a stream­ing feed just like Face­book that keeps users up to date with their cho­sen charity’s activ­i­ty. This stream­ing feed will give users details of Water.org’s work in Bangladesh and how their dona­tion was used to help build a well for exam­ple.

It’s fast, it’s con­ve­nient and it’s orig­i­nal. Bright Funds might just catch on.

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