Innovation That Matters

Microcharity uses tangibility to target young donors

Nonprofit & Social Cause

It’s long been recognized that tangibility and a sense of personal connection are key factors in encouraging potential donors to help those in need, as we’ve already noted in our stories about SmallCanBeBig, Rosa Loves, DonorsChoose and Family-to-Family. Working on the premise that such connections are particularly important to young givers, however, Jolkona is a new organization that promises tangible proof of the impact of every donation made. Targeting donors aged 15 to 35, Jolkona Foundation aims to use technology and social networks to make giving more immediate and compelling. Named for the Bengali word meaning “drop of water”—many of which of course can be combined for a big impact—Jolkona lets donors choose from a variety of projects based on criteria including price, location and focus area. The Facebook-connected microcharity partners with not-for-profit organizations around the world to profile deserving projects in five categories—public health, education, environment, empowerment and cultural identity—using a rigorous screening process to select those it believes would interest its audience and complement its mission. Once potential donors find a project they feel passionate about, they can then make donations as small as USD 5 easily and securely using Google Checkout. Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is that donors can not only monitor and track their giving activity, but they can receive tangible evidence of the impact of their donations. In addition to maps and charts on the site showing the aggregated impact of all donations made through Jolkona, each user’s own “My Jolkona” page gets updated with tangible evidence of their own impact, using photos, stories and other means to show the effect on recipients. Based in Kirkland, Wash., Jolkona ensures that 100 percent of project-specific donations go directly to those projects; a separate fund finances its own operating costs. Using technology to combine the immediacy, transparency and personal connections consumers increasingly demand, Jolkona may just have hit upon the model of giving for the future. One to watch! (Related: Kiva’s peer-to-peer micro lending.) Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann



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