How teaching math in Malawi inspired this local guy to start a crowdfunding company - Technical.ly DC

Business

Jan. 27, 2017 12:39 pm

How teaching math in Malawi inspired this local guy to start a crowdfunding company

DonorSee is trying disrupt big charity organizations by "giving donors the best experience possible."
A street scene in Lilongwe, Malawi.

A street scene in Lilongwe, Malawi.

(Photo by Flickr user khym54, used under a Creative Commons license)

When Gret Glyer graduated from college in 2012 he started working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

But for Glyer, who grew up in Fairfax Station, Va., it didn’t really work out. “The whole nine to five thing is completely unappealing to me,” he said.

So Glyer started looking into how he might spend some time overseas, and eventually settled on an opportunity to teach math in Malawi, the landlocked country in southeastern Africa. In the end, Glyer lived in Malawi for three years and it was there that the idea for his company took root.

While in Malawi, Glyer saw a lot of big international aid organizations (organizations that depend on philanthropic donations) doing work and he was thoroughly unimpressed.

“It’s pathetic,” he said, “they’re completely irresponsible with donors money.” At the same time, Glyer himself ran a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise money for a girls school and it was hugely successful. “I saw the potential of what can happen if people circumvent the traditional way of getting funding to people [in need].”

So this is what DonorSee does.

Visit the site

Launched just four months ago, DonorSee is a crowdfunding platform for overseas aid workers looking to raise cash for specific projects. It’s sort of like GoFundMe — aid workers post projects (like this one to buy soccer balls in Ghana) and share with friends, family and other contacts who give varying amounts to make the project a reality. After a project is funded, aid workers are asked to send a video to all the donors that shows them exactly how the money they gave was spent.

This is what Glyer thinks is really key. In contrast to donating to a giant organization like Oxfam where there is no way of knowing exactly how your dollars were spent (and likely that at least some portion was spent on upkeep of the organization itself), with DonorSee “donors get to see exactly where their money is going.”

Advertisement

And this face-to-face experience, Glyer believes, is how DonorSee is “giving donors the best possible experience.”

A Staff Picks project, as seen on DonorSee. (Screenshot)

A Staff Picks project, as seen on DonorSee. (Screenshot)

Anyone can post a project on DonorSee, but there is also a “Staff Picks” section featuring projects that have been vetted, Glyer said. Once a project is funded the money, minus a four percent service fee collected by DonorSee and a 2.9 percent + $0.30 fee from Stripe, goes into the aid workers bank account. From there, the aid worker is responsible for executing the project and spending the money as planned. So obviously if you’re giving money on DonorSee you’ll want to trust the person you’re giving to — which, of course, holds true for every charity.

For his part, Glyer has now moved back to Fairfax to focus on the site. He misses the slow pace of life in Malawi, he said, but this project, one he’s so passionate about, keeps him too busy to dwell on that.

You must appreciate accurate, relevant and productive community journalism.  Support this sort of work from professional reporters with seasoned editors.  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month
Companies: DonorSee
-30-
CONTRIBUTE TO THE
JOURNALISM FUND

Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

Keriton wins first place at the Improving the Patient Experience pitch competition

Iterate, fast, feedback: 3 things to know about lean product design

Arlington Economic Development is hosting a healthtech pitch competition

SPONSORED

DC

Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology

Philadelphia, PA

Vistar Media

QA Engineer

Apply Now

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Scrum Master

Apply Now

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Software Engineer

Apply Now

DC: Here are your nominees for the 2019 Technical.ly Awards

Howard University will be part of Techstars’ 10-city Startup Weekend tour

Curbio enters two new markets, with ‘dozens’ more planned

SPONSORED

DC

Escape the August heat with cool AI tech

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Sr. Software Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Front End Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia, PA - Center City

Odessa

Business Architect

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Dc

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!