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Yiza Ekhaya is a soup kitchen trying to build a hemp house in Khayelitsha. In order to continue and improve feeding the young and elderly, the initiative is looking to South Africa’s online community for funds, time and resources. Yiza Ekhaya is also one of the many social projects on Ripple.
The new crowdfunding site for non-profits and social activism Ripple officially launched today and is on a mission to ride the waves of success made by its sister site Thundafund — a popular crowdfunding site for creatives in South Africa.
“Ripple is about doing social good for the world,” said co-founder Patrick Schofield in a Skype interview. “People want to know more about what’s happening behind the scenes — what NGOs are actually doing. NPCs and change-makers across the world are doing some amazing things,” he explained. “What we’re doing is allowing people to become part of them and that gives people meaning in their lives.”
Thundafund launched in January 2012. Since then, over R4.1-million has been raised, helping entrepreneurs and creatives source funds from people around the country to further their ideas. Some of these projects include Lorraine Loots’ 365 Postcards for Ants who’s raised nearly R200 000 so that she can produce a book exhibiting her spectacular series of paintings. Social projects such as Youth Solutions Africa, on the other hand, sourced R57 000 of its R65 000 goal.
“What we’ve come to realise is that, for non-profit campaigns, [Thundafund] is just not a model suited for them. We’ve noticed the demand through that and thought that we’ll be able to fulfil this need,” said operations manager of Thundafund Daniel Shaw.
Distinguishing itself from Thundafund, pledgers on Ripple can back projects with more than just funds. “It’s purely donations based but the forms in which these donations come in are either conventional crowdfunding (which is cash) or crowdsourcing (which is volunteering time or materials),” explained Shaw. In Yiza Ekhaya’s case, for instance, people can choose to donate anything between R100 and R230 000 or they can support with building materials such as second-hand doors, windows or a sink. Better yet, people can donate their time: an hour as a builder or an hour as a veggie planter.
For the first few campaigns, they all have an average around R40 000. Based on the success seen through Thundafund, Ripple hopes to beat these funding goals. “We are hoping to see between R50 000 and R100 000 within the first three months,” said Shaw.
Ripple is an open-ended platform, which means whatever you raise, you get. Thundafund charges 7% and 5% for NGOs while Ripple charges a flat 5% commission.
The Ripple projects share the same crowdfunding mentality as Thundafund in that they have to be funded within a certain amount of time, which is usually a 90-day setup. “We want to emphasise the fact that they are campaigns — they are wanting to achieve something, bring something to life,” stressed Shaw. “For the moment it’s not general fundraising.”
Shaw noted that online fundraising platform GivenGain is as much a competitor in this space as it’s been a role model:
From what we’ve experienced in the South African sector GivenGain has been around for about two-and-a-half years, which is a sustainable entity with no real competition. Every campaign that went onto Thundafund did well. In essence we anticipate that trend to continue.
The platform is differentiating itself from likened platforms by focusing on providing hands-on support throughout the fundraising campaigns. Other sites active in South Africa are Weaverlution and ForGood.
After highlighting the success it’s seen in South Africa, Thundafund and Ripple are gearing up to expand into the rest of Africa. Schofield revealed that, by the end of this year, both platforms will have multi-currency support for individual countries in Africa. “We’ll be able to take on projects from pretty much anywhere in Africa. We’re specifically looking to Kenya.”
Schofield also predicted that Ripple will raise over R3-million by the end of 2015.
Image by Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr