'Tis supposedly the season of giving, and The Telecom Foundation (the telecommunications company's charitable arm) is making it slightly easier for Kiwis to do just that after buying online giving platform Givealittle.co.nz and making the fundraising service entirely free.
Givealittle's five percent administration charge is being permanently removed as part of the deal, and its founder Nathalie Whitaker and her team will continue to work for Givealittle under the new ownership arrangement.
In less than four years, Givealittle has raised more than $2.3 million in donations for a variety of Kiwi causes from the Christchurch earthquake and the tsunami in Samoa to more offbeat challenges such as racing across Mongolia on horseback and living in a snow cave.
The online platform taps into a growing consumer appetite for crowdfunding, where people are directly engaging with causes through peer-to-peer philanthropy and social media.
The Telecom Foundation says it wants Givealittle to become New Zealand’s pre-eminent online fundraising tool and believes it has has the potential to be the TradeMe of online fundraising.
“We’re really excited that 100 percent of every dollar donated on the site will now get through to the causes New Zealanders want to support, thanks to an ongoing commitment from Telecom to fund its administration," says Bob Harvey, chair of the Telecom Foundation, which was established in July 2011. "Givealittle.co.nz will now be the Telecom Foundation’s primary vehicle to encourage and facilitate generosity in New Zealand ... When it comes to charity, New Zealanders have shown themselves to be some of the most generous people in the world. We want to harness that generosity and make it easy for people to raise funds for the causes in which they believe.”
Telecom chief executive and Telecom Foundation Board member Simon Moutter, says Telecom will now be able to apply its technical expertise to offer a permanent and sustainable solution for New Zealanders to connect with causes.
“This represents an extension of the Telecom Foundation’s core principle of encouraging generosity. Until now, the Foundation has focused its efforts internally, having developed New Zealand’s flagship payroll giving programme. Well over a thousand Telecom employees have now donated to their favourite charities via payroll deductions, with their contributions topped up by the company. The Foundation has also been active in promoting a culture of volunteerism among our people.”Whitaker says the support of the Telecom Foundation will enable Givealittle.co.nz to take a "quantum leap" in its market presence and service offerings.
"When we started out four years ago, we were motivated by how technology could transform New Zealand’s philanthropic landscape and harness the generosity that all Kiwis have at heart. Under Telecom Foundation ownership, we move forward strongly towards that vision."
- This is an edited version of a story that originally appeared on idealog.co.nz.