Innovation That Matters

Startup rehouses 1000 Haitians via transparency-first crowdfunding

Property & Construction

New Story is a housing charity startup that uses videos to improve the accountability of a project, and connect donors more closely to the cause they are supporting.

It is said that the most effective fundraising happens when donors feel like are making a difference. That’s why, right at the end of a crowdfunding round, when the project is nearing its goal, donations can often double and triple — people want to see their charitable efforts make something happen. Over the summer of 2015, a charity startup built more than 100 new houses in Haiti. New Story used a crowdfunding model for every house, and kept each individual project transparent, so donors can see the process from start to finish.

The startup makes the process of fundraising and donation entirely transparent, by recording videos of specific families, then enabling donors to partner with a family and give money directly towards a project to rehouse them. Donors can also run their own crowdfunding campaign for a specific family. 100 percent of their donations go solely to that house, while wealthy backers pay the operating costs of the charity. In this way, New Story connects donors more closely with the cause they are supporting. The startup is now aiming to transform slums at a greater speed than many, more cumbersome, multinational charities.

The startup employs local workers, and has so far helped rehouse more than 1,000 people who were stuck living in makeshift shelters and tents in Haiti, and is now trying to transform a slum in El Salvador into a sustainable community. The homes cost around USD 6,000 to make, and provide a stable place for families to build a new life.

We have seen similar models used to break down big projects into more manageable donations for crowdfunders, enabling more transparency throughout the fundraising process. How can big multinational charities make their work more effective through a transparency-first model?



Download PDF