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A new approach to raising funds



Fundraising can be difficult and donating money can be burdensome, but that apparently wasn’t the case at Sydenham Shul this past Sunday.

There were 80 volunteers on the phones at their call centre, over 600 donors in 24 hours, colourful balloons and streamers all over the room and periodic outbursts of music and dancing. This made their fundraising campaign an exciting event.

Charidy is a US-based company that focuses on assisting organisations in their fundraising. It uses the new age online crowd-funding concept, with the help of its modern and sophisticated website.

In addition to raising funds from the community, which is the goal of any crowd-funding website, Charidy’s campaigns have two unique aspects that make them fun and exciting. The first is competition. Every rand that is raised through the organisation’s community and supporters is matched by a group of generous donors, who believe in the cause and therefore choose to support it. Using this matching process motivates others to donate.

Secondly, there is a limited time allocated to the fundraiser, usually 24 hours. The designated target needs to be reached within that timeframe, otherwise the matching offers fall away. This ultimatum creates a hype and excitement which motivates people to give, and to give quickly.

Charidy reached South Africa in May last year, when Sydenham Shul adapted the website to the rand currency and the local gateway banking system. Spearheaded by Rabbi Yehuda Stern, associate rabbi and head of the Young Adults division at the shul, the shul embarked on a fundraising drive to raise money for its youth and young adults programmes and activities.

By using the Charidy platform, the volunteers successfully raised a substantial amount of money in their campaign. The shul subsequently went on to build its magnificent Youth Centre, otherwise known as the Bayit, which is now buzzing with activities catering for the younger generation of the community.

This past week was Sydenham Shul’s second Charidy campaign. Its aim was to raise funds to sustain its “Building the Next Generation programme, which incorporates the Sydenham nursery and pre-school as well as the youth and young adults.

Not only did the Charidy volunteers reached their target, which will now be matched by their generous sponsors, but they also raised 10% more than the original goal.

“So often people feel that their smaller donations are irrelevant, and the organisation is mainly funded by its major donors. Charidy shows the value in each and every donation, no matter the amount,” says Stern.

“After being matched, a ‘small’ donation is actually not so small. And since it is all done online, it gives an opportunity for everyone to donate, whether they are geographically close or far.”

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