Global Giving: A risk-free way to channel funds to those in need

Finances & Savings, Volunteering & Giving Back, Websites and Blogs — By on May 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

Global GivingEven in this ultra-tough economy, people are still donating to charitable causes in record numbers. Maybe it helps us to get a little perspective on our own financial situation when we take the time to consider someone else’s-and feel good to help those who are less fortunate.

But even those kind enough to open up their hearts and wallets sometimes feel a twinge of uncertainty before they handing over the cash.

“People are often hesitant to make charitable donations because they rarely see where their money is going, or if it’s actually reaching the people in need,” says Mari Kuraishi, founder of GlobalGiving.com, a web-based clearinghouse for 450 pre-screened grassroots charity projects. “That uncertainty can take some of the joy out of giving.”

That’s the hurdle that Kuraishi, a former World Bank strategist set out to overcome when she co-founded the non-profit site in 2003. “I wanted to make the process of online donation completely transparent, so donors can see exactly how their cash is being used and feel good about their decision to give.”

Through her organziation, people can connect with company-vetted organizations throughout the world. “Once you’ve used the search tool to find a specific project that matches your passion, you’ll learn about various ways your contribution can make a difference,” explains Kuraishi. For example, by giving $25 to a non-profit in rural Ethiopia, you could provide eight women with supplies for water purification. Spend $50 and you can provide 200 runaway girls in India with health care for a month.

Global GivingBesides requiring each of its charities to submit regular progress reports-how many people have been helped, areas where aid is still needed-Global Giving also sends independent evaluators to do spot checks and make sure the reports match the reality. And if you’re not satisfied with your donation for any reason, Global Giving will cover that amount and issue a voucher to make a donation to another organization.

Last year, Kuraishi’s team launched Global Giving Green, a scoring tool that allows donors to see which development projects are the most environmentally friendly. “We know that improving local living standards often requires burning more fossil fuels and creating a larger carbon footprint,” says Kuraishi. “By spotlighting 20 projects with the most sustainable development practices, we hope to create an incentive for partner organizations to go green.”

What she wants you to know Even small donations can change lives. “Ten dollars may not go very far in the U.S., but in the developing world, it can still make a tremendous impact on the lives of people who are hungry, or don’t have access to clean water,” says Kuraishi.

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The Lost Girls will be spotlighting a worthy female-focused cause, charity or organization each month. Drop us a line at lostgirlsworld@gmail.com to let us know about the one nearest to your heart.
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    3 Comments

  • dcjoan says:

    Thanks for the nice shout-out for GlobalGiving! Wanted to let you know that if you or any of your readers work with innovative nonprofits based and working here in the US – we’re looking to bring more American projects onto our website, so now’s the time to nominate those organizations – full details on our website (www.globalgiving.com/american).

  • pjlloyduk says:

    Just wanted to let you know that if any of you reading are from the UK then there is a UK version of GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.co.uk). If you are based in the UK and would like to use GlobalGiving then please visit the website. Please also follow us on Twitter @globalgivinguk

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