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.