Crowdfunding web site will be launched soon

19 May, 2014

Financial sustainability remains one of the biggest challenges for Georgia’s non-governmental sector. Local legislation does not provide sufficient incentives to local businesses to increase charitable donations and individual philanthropy is nascent due to absence of middle class and limited culture of philanthropy. International donor funding is still the major source of support to local NGOs that are often criticized for serving donor interests rather than meeting citizens’ needs.

Since 20111 OSGF supports the development of local sources of finances and improvement of legislative environment for philanthropic activities. In fall 2013 OSGF trained 35 youth and youth-serving NGO representatives in using new technology and tools to solicit funding for their projects and deepen citizen outreach. Follow-on study tour to Macedonia provided an additional opportunity to NGOs to familiarize with the work of Macedonian NGOs using media and online resources for effective communication, identification of citizens’ needs, advocacy, constituency building, and fundraising. Participants learned how to visualize data and create info-graphics using applications such as TOR, Adobe Creative Suite, and Adobe Illustrator. They brought back to Georgia new knowledge, innovative ideas and a belief that change depends upon them. Shortly after their return, two participating NGOs created a coalition and submitted a project proposal aimed at introduction of a new technology of online crowd funding- the innovative and low cost way of engaging citizens and raising funds for creative ideas. The project titled “me vapinanseb” (I Finance) was approved for funding in December 2013 and implementation started in early 2014.

The website www.mevafinanseb.org , presented on May 5 at the OSGF’s premises, enables NGOs to upload their project ideas and solicit funding by building a constituency of dedicated citizens and connecting with the charity foundations and businesses. While crowd funding is the widely used in many countries around the world, it is an innovation in Georgia. “Up until now, we were aware of two websites designed to raise funds: www.borani.org and www.wehelp.ge. The former tends to focus on the immediate needs of poor families such as food and household effects, while the later raises funds for emergency health care needs of the vulnerable individuals. The new website www.mevafinanseb.org, is the first attempt to create an online platform to raise funds for creative ideas and wide-range of activities that meet the needs of diverse groups of Georgian population” says the project coordinator Naniko Glakhashvili. The spirit of crowfunding is participatory and any individual or organization can channel funds in support of creative ideas in support NGOs whose work they admire. The platform ensures transparency of CSOs activities through regular progress and financial reports and supporting video and photo materials uploaded on the website.

The platform is now accepting submissions. Potential applicants are invited to submit their project proposals for funding at the following address: . Any non-profit organization registered in Georgia is eligible to submit project proposal that sets clear goals and identifies target group, and is not intended to financially profit an individual or an organization. The projects should not be discriminatory to minority groups or be supportive of religious or political organizations. The project idea should be concise and limited to 500 words. The application should supplement it with info graphics, videos, animations or other visuals. The applicants also need to think how to reward their backers. Selection commission comprised of independent experts will review applications and provide their recommendations. The five winning proposals will be uploaded on the website. Every project will have its funding goal and deadline. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, the supporters’ credit cards will be charged after the expiration of deadline. If the project falls short of funding, the backer has two options: either to withdraw funds or move funds to platform’s account to be used at the end of the year for funding the project selected by public.

“One of the main challenges for the applicants is attracting public support for their projects “, says Giorgi Gogua, the project’s multimedia consultant, “the idea should be appealing to citizens and visual attention-grabbing enough to make users follow the link and familiarize with the concept.” The project “Me Vafinanseb” will also allow to meet the “match funds” required by donor grants and to establish a track record that will make NGOs eligible for larger grants.