Oct. 11, 2012 8:30 am

GiveCorps, grassroots philanthropic giving website, has raised money for 200 nonprofits, celebrates one year

Updated 10:41 a.m. 10/15/12: Included information from GiveCorps co-founder Jamie McDonald about GiveCorps’ pricing model. In July 2011, Charles Village-based startup GiveCorps launched with a bold idea: take the crowdfunding model of Kickstarter and apply it to charitable giving. It was for folks who want to donate directly to projects, in small dollar amounts, as […]

Updated 10:41 a.m. 10/15/12: Included information from GiveCorps co-founder Jamie McDonald about GiveCorps’ pricing model.

In July 2011, Charles Village-based startup GiveCorps launched with a bold idea: take the crowdfunding model of Kickstarter and apply it to charitable giving.

It was for folks who want to donate directly to projects, in small dollar amounts, as opposed to cutting checks to big organizations and never finding out how their money was used.

One year later, more than 200 nonprofits have used GiveCorps to raise money from more than 3,000 Baltimoreans. To celebrate, GiveCorps is holding an anniversary party tonight at Union Mill in Hampden.

Similar to Kickstarter, GiveCorps allows nonprofits to upload videos and descriptions of projects for which they need funding. Nonprofits are also able to offer Groupon-style deals to donors: for instance, a $20 restaurant gift certificate for a $40 donation. But, as co-founder Jamie McDonald explained to Urbanite magazine, the difference between Kickstarter and GiveCorps is that GiveCorps uses an e-mail list of subscribers to promote different projects.

GiveCorps promotes itself at events such as Hampdenfest and Ignite Baltimore, signing people up to receive emails about daily fundraising causes called the “Big Give.” These appeals usually include a video about the effort and always have a clear fundraising goal and line-item breakdown of exactly how the money will be used. … unlike Kickstarter, which does very little to promote appeals, GiveCorps uses its growing email list to spread the word. [more]

For this, however, GiveCorps retains seven percent of all donations as a marketing fee, in addition to the three percent it takes for credit card processing.

McDonald says GiveCorps’ pricing model is “industry standard” when compared with Kickstarter, Crowdrise and similar online crowdfunding efforts. She also says GiveCorps does “a lot more for the money.”

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist in Philadelphia and the former lead reporter for Technical.ly Baltimore. Before moving to Philadelphia in June 2014, he was a contributing writer to Baltimore City Paper and a Tech Check commentator for WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore city’s National Public Radio affiliate. He has written for The Atlantic, Outside, Richmond magazine, Washington City Paper, Baltimore magazine, Baltimore Style magazine, Next City, Grist.org, The Atlantic Cities, and elsewhere.

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