Explosive growth of the Internet has expanded humanity’s opportunities in multiple areas — access to information, communication, education, gaming, etc. A similar transformation has happened in the financial sector.
Previously, a person in need of funds, had to try obtaining a loan from a bank or stand in the street with a sign and a hat for donations. Non-commercial organizations had to rely on grants from funds and being mentioned in a will of a dying millionaire. These days, the internet allows anyone to collect necessary resources directly from an underterminently wide range of people, who share a common interest in a project, or are simply willing to help others deal with their problems.
Online fundraising has been experiencing explosive growth during the last decade. Specialized fundraising platforms raise over $10B annually, and this amount is projected to reach $25B by 2025. Additionally, people raise money from friends via social networks, organizations raise money directly on their websites, etc. It is hard to estimate the total amount of donations raised via the internet, but it is fairly certain that this amount is larger than the GDPs of half of the world’s countries.
Of course, many specialized resources for raising money for various purposes have appeared in recent years. Kickstarter and Indiegogo specialize in raising funds for technology startups, Patreon — for art projects, GoFundMe — for personal needs, Causes — for non-commercial projects, CircleUp and LendingClub — for growing a business, etc.
It seems that this is the ideal scenario. People begin to feel more secure and confident. Need an urgent surgery? House burnt down? Want to get an education, but have no money? Know how to make the world better? Have a cherished dream? Need to save someone? In each of these cases, you can turn to society, and if you are convincing enough, you will not have to face your problems alone.
Unfortunately, the reality is not that idyllic. The fact is that today, these possibilities are available only to 10% of inhabitants of our planet. To the privileged part of the earth. To the citizens of the most successful and developed countries. Only they can raise funds on most of the major platforms, while the rest do not have that ability.
“If you do not meet the withdrawal requirements for one of these supported countries, then please do not create an account and/or fundraiser. You will need to ask someone in one of the supported countries above to raise money for you instead” — mockingly says GoFundMe, the leader in the fundraising market, where campaigns collect over $1B annually. Only citizens of USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and of the 15 most prosperous members of the EU, are allowed to start fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe. Everyone else is screwed. Kickstarter (2d place worldwide by annual amount raised), Indiegogo (3rd place), and other platforms have similar limitations.
Consequently, developing countries get only 1.9% of the money raised on all fundraising platforms in the world. The remaining 98% of funds go to those, who are already fairly prosperous and developed.
Is this fair? Of course, it isn’t! For many people in developing countries, online fundraising could be the only chance to make their lives better, to climb out of poverty. However, it is practically impossible to collect necessary amounts of money within the borders of their own countries, because most of their fellow citizens live in similarly poor conditions, while the rich have not yet developed the culture of helping those in need.
A universal platform that allows a student in Bangladesh to ask international donors for money that he or she needs for education, and for people Kongo — to raise money to bring running water to their village, such a platform can give these people a chance to qualitatively change their lives.
But such a platform still does not exist. None of the big players want to deal with banking systems of developing nations.
It is time to change this! The internet was conceived as a universal international network, equally accessible to all people on the planet, without geographical or national limitations. So if citizens of some countries have significantly more rights on the internet than citizens of other countries, that is against the nature of this network.
Fight against privileges and discrimination, equal access for everyone, inclusivity and multilateralism are considered amongs the major positive trends of the 21st century. The task of the project Help Each Other is to accelerate the adoption of this trend in crowdfunding.