Changefunder.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL

How does ChangeFunder differ from other crowdfunding platforms?

ChangeFunder is committed to person-to-person and person-to-community engagement  via social connections, knowledge sharing, crowdfunding, and more. We enable local community leaders to share their needs, hopes, and dreams -- in their own words -- with a global community of caring individuals.  ChangeFunder provides a trustworthy and scalable platform for engaging and donating -- and for those who choose to give, funds go directly to the mobile phones of leaders in local communities or organizations, tapping into the power of individuals to make real and lasting differences.


How does ChangeFunder conduct vetting and due diligence?

ChangeFunder takes project and funding verification seriously.  To ensure that projects are legitimate and to alleviate concerns about authenticity, our Project Verification processes includes: 


  • Independent, on-the-ground partners to verify project validity, needs, estimates, and milestone progress, or “sponsorship” of verified individuals with existing relationships to communities or projects.  This is done via local community activators when they’re available; for projects in locations without existing on-the-ground resources, validation will take place from our headquarters team.
  • Screening of all proposed projects prior to posting.  Proposed projects are submitted through the platform, and assigned to either an on-the-ground ChangeFunder “activator” or a member of the headquarters team, who reviews the content and validates the identity of the individual proposing the project.
  • Clear, incremental documentation of project milestones before releasing funds.
  • Identity validation of all project owners and funding recipients through community activators, local nonprofit entities, and/or local mobile phone companies.
  • Transparent financial reporting to legal authorities.


 In what countries does ChangeFunder operate? How are these countries selected?

ChangeFunder’s initial on-the-ground pilot launched in Kenya in August/September 2019.  Our goal is to create a platform that is open to ideas from anywhere in the world, but we plan to focus on 20 target countries over the next five years that are experiencing high levels of mobile phone connectivity, social media adoption, remittance receipts, and international donor collaboration.  In late 2019/early 2020, we will turn our attention to a new round of on-the-ground engagement.  Countries being considered now include: South Africa, Mexico, Guatemala, Ghana, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. 


When creating a profile, I am asked for information about myself. How visible is this information, and what will it be used for?

We take user privacy very seriously.  Much of the site content does not require sign-in, and where it does, user activity is only shown with usernames - not any Personally Identifiable Information (PII). All social interactions and engagement on the site are strictly opt-in so that users can decide when and how to receive information from ChangeFunder.  Registering on the site is only required if visitors want to: propose a project; comment on a project; connect with or follow a project or individual; or fund a project.  Usernames of those verifying or sponsoring a project are also displayed in association with those Projects.  


How are ChangeFunder’s Community Activators identified?

ChangeFunder’s model is based on leveraging trust between individuals in a way that can scale.  Our “Activators” are individuals hired by our in-country partner(s), or people working with local NGOs, who are responsible for validating the accuracy of the project information and project “Maker.” For example, in the case of Kenya, our local partner conducted a recruiting event to identify and interview potential activators before vetting and selecting them.  Members of ChangeFunder’s global team met and worked with many of these activators during the initial pilot launch, and remain engaged with them.

DONATIONS

What transaction fees are associated with donations? How are funds within the transaction fee allocated?

When a ChangeFunder makes a contribution through the site a 10% tax-deductible fee is applied to support on-the-ground coordination and validation, help support our work, and contribute to transaction costs.  3% of the fee is allocated to our in-country partner; 3% goes to support the operations of ChangeFunder.org; and 4% helps cover the cost of credit card and international transaction processing fees.  


What payment methods can I use to make a contribution?

The beta version of our platform currently accepts credit card donations. Checks can be mailed to to ChangeFunder, 8403 Colesville Road, #1161, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Additionally, we are working on expanding our payment methods and will have PayPal and Venmo capacity in the short-term with ACH/bank transfer capacity to follow, so stay tuned.  


Can I make a contribution through my company or my church?

Yes, we can accept corporate or institutional tax-deductible donations.  Contact us at info@changefunder.org to discuss.


Can I make an anonymous donation?

Yes, you may.  The easiest way to do this is to send us a check to ChangeFunder, 8403 Colesville Road, #1161, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. If it is for a specific project, we will inform them about your anonymous contribution.


Can I make a donation to support your general operations rather than a specific project?  

Yes, you can contribute via PayPal or credit card on our website or by sending us a check to ChangeFunder, 8403 Colesville Road, #1161, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.


Can I make a donation for general support to a country or cause rather than a specific project?  

Yes, you can contribute via PayPal or credit card on our website or by sending us a check to ChangeFunder, 8403 Colesville Road, #1161, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.  Our current country campaigns are focused on Kenya, South Africa, and the Bahamas, but you can contact us about other opportunities at info@changefunder.org


Can I donate goods to a project?

ChangeFunder does not facilitate donation of goods to projects on our platform at this time.


What is the minimum donation size accepted?

For platform donations to projects, we suggest anywhere from $10 to $1,000.  For larger contributions to specific projects or to support the operations of ChangeFunder.org, please contact us at info@changefunder.org.   


In what currencies are donations accepted?

We accept donations in USD made through any credit card that Stripe (our credit card processor) can handle.


Are all donations tax-deductible?

ChangeFunder.org is registered with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under section 501(c)3 of the tax code and therefore all donations to ChangeFunder.org or through our platform are tax-deductible.


When and how will I receive a tax-deductible receipt?

ChangeFunder provides an automated receipt for every contribution via email.  


What is ChangeFunder’s refund policy?

Donations through the ChangeFunder platform are made at the discretion of the user.  If you feel like you have made a mistake in giving to a particular goal, we can refund any contribution made via credit card within 7 days of donation, provided the goal has not yet been met (less the cost of any credit card refund fees).  


What security protocol is in place to protect my financial information?

Credit card processing is done through Stripe, and is covered by their Terms of Services.  When a project milestone is reached, that amount is transferred to in-country partner bank accounts for direct disbursement via mobile phones to in-country recipients.  We verify the status of the funds transfer at each step of the way. 


How do you identify where donations should go to on-the-ground in the aftermath of a disaster?

As with all other content on the site, disaster response support opportunities are posted by those who understand and are based in the affected communities.  Those needs are validated by first-responders, whose perspectives and opinions factor heavily in the project’s validation.  

Social Engagement

What kind of communication and social engagement am I expected to have with my recipient?

Our hope is that you will be able to engage with Change “Makers” and other registered users at a level that is comfortable to you.  If you feel you are not getting the kind of feedback or interaction you expected, let them know (while understanding that sometimes bandwidth, infrastructure or life challenges can sometimes cause unforeseen delays).  


When I contact an individual whose project I contributed to, how long until I will hear back from them?

We strongly encourage all project recipients to stay in active contact with anyone who has reached out with questions, comments, encouragement or funding.  If you do not feel you are getting adequate interaction with the project, by all means let them know; we are also happy to help reinforce any feedback you may have for them.

Projects and Beneficiaries

What constitutes a “Project”?

A “Project” refers to any discrete funding need that can be clearly articulated and obviously impacted by small-scale, incremental funding over a set time-frame.  For now, all ChangeFunder Projects must be able to:


  • Clearly articulate the current challenge faced by a community.
  • Project a reasonable, verifiable, measurable positive impact within 12 months or less. 
  • Identify no less than 4 and no more than 12 measurable milestones.  
  • Provide clear, fair and verifiable funding needs, costs (which can be externally verified if needed) and documentation of funds usage.


A “Project” can be in support of a specific activity, person or result tied to a specific positive outcome in a specific location. 


When a project shows Verified status, what steps have been taken to verify the project?

No Project is posted on the site without having been reviewed and verified by either on-the-ground partners or ChangeFunder global staff.   After a project idea is submitted, it is assigned to a ChangeFunder “Activator” who is responsible for: reviewing the submission; contacting the Change “Maker” to confirm their identity, location and the validity of their project; and making suggestions.  Once the Activator is satisfied with the Project’s validity, they approve the project for posting.


What happens if the recipient’s campaign isn’t fully funded?

If a project milestone/goal is not funded within 3 months of its intended end-point, we will notify you with the option to re-allocate the funds elsewhere.  


How often are funds disbursed to the recipient?

We encourage all community-designed projects to include at least 4 (but no more than 12) goals or milestones within a 12-month period.  When a specific milestone funding goal is reached, the entire amount is transmitted to the recipient.   


What if I want to stop giving to a project?

We envision a world in which a benevolent individual is able to connect with a project that means something to them, and then provides small but incremental funding attached to measurable milestones.  If you want to cease funding a specific project, you may do so at any time.  If you have feedback for the project Maker that you would rather we pass on to them, we are happy to do so.


If I have a project that I’d like to see funded, what is the review process for getting a project posted?

Anyone can submit a project idea.  After registering, the user selects “Create a Project” and fills out a basic intake form.  Once submitted, the Project is assigned to a ChangeFunder “Activator” who reviews the information, contacts the Change “Maker” (the project-idea submitter), to verify the details of the Maker and their idea, and to ask clarifying questions and make suggestions.  Once verified, the Activator approves the Project and it appears on the site.  


Can I add a project to ChangeFunder that exists elsewhere?  

Yes, of course!  We aim to be a platform that helps share any and all community-driven projects, not just those created on our platform.

The platform

This is a new platform.  What is your plan for new features?  

We started testing our “alpha” version of the platform with communities in Kenya in August and September 2019.  This “minimum viable product” version of the platform was designed to test the process for easy sharing of potential projects for funding.  Our beta version was released on October 31, 2019.   While we will continue to make ongoing improvements and iterations and welcome your ideas and suggestions, our next major release is planned for December/January.


Did you build the platform in-house?  If not, who is your provider?

The ChangeFunder.org platform was developed by mPowered Development (www.mPowered.dev), the originators of the ChangeFunder idea.  Their team provides ongoing technology, strategy and operational support to ChangeFunder.org as needed, but are neither employees nor board members of ChangeFunder.org.