Yesterday Microsoft launched GiveForYouth.org, an online fundraising platform like GlobalGiving (and powered by GlobalGiving, in fact). But what makes GiveForYouth unique is that it is designed entirely around microprojects:
What is a microproject?
A microproject is a one-time fundraising effort to help achieve a specific activity or outcome. microprojects can either benefit specific people or an activity with a reasonably small amount of funding. A microproject is posted for 90 days and is limited to a budget of $250 to $10,000. Specifically, these microprojects support youth (ages 13-25) in their quest to obtain the tools and resources they need to find a job, continue their education and training, or start a business or social venture.
For me, microprojects are the first online giving effort that feels like the Peace Corps Small Project Assistance (SPA) program – which I consider one of the most effective grantmaking programs ever. SPA projects work because they are also simple, one-time projects with a specific goal and small budget (typically $500). The one BEST thing about SPA projects is that they require a 50% community matching contribution in order to be approved.
Well, coincidentally, Microsoft may be matching donations to these projects to get them started – just like SPA. If you go to the GiveForYouth.Org homepage and look around, you’ll see a “coming soon” matching offer there. So stay tuned. However, one way that I think GiveForYouth beats SPA projects is in reporting and creating institutional memory. Every one of these 335 microprojects, such as:
are part of a parent project that is in the GlobalGiving database of 12,000 organizations. And like all GlobalGiving partners, they are committed to quarterly reports to donors, the 100% satisfaction guarantee, and benefit from a whole host of efficiency tools (i.e. VolunteerMatch and Storytelling and Community Feedback, trainings, visitor postcards, ice cream socials, etc). It is this fluidity of purpose combined with the stability of GlobalGiving’s system that could make microprojects successful.