Why are we creating Milkywire?
The charity industry is one of the largest industries in the world. As an industry, it’s often characterized by inefficiency, loss of public trust and lack of innovation. What people generally don’t know is that most of the hands-on work in the field is done by 10 million unknown local organizations. Right now, studies show that as little as 3% of the funding reaches local NGO’s. In the case of humanitarian aid, the UN has set a goal that at least 25% should reach the local level. With Milkywire we are building a platform for impact that turns this model on its head: at Milkywire a minimum of 80% of your support will go directly to the organizations in the field - and you choose to which ones.
We are trying to do things differently. Here are six major problems that we are trying to solve:
1. Not enough money reaches the local level: Many studies show that only a fraction of charitable donations end up with the people on the ground doing the majority of the hands-on work. We believe it should be the other way around. Therefore we ensure that at least 80% of your support goes directly to the impacter in the field.
2. Trust has never been this low: When asking people, the number one reason for not donating to charity, is a lack of trust in charitable institutions. When you give you want to know where your money goes and what results they enable. We solve this by connecting you directly to the grassroots, with funds going directly one way and updates from the field the other. Through Milkywire you follow your impacter behind the scenes, understand directly from them what they need and see their progress through their updates.
3. Engaging in local charity is really difficult: For a donor the experience of engaging in a small local charity (searching for the right organization to give to, vetting them, connecting with them, engaging, communicating, donating, and then following up) is REALLY complicated and time-consuming. Some people would even say that it’s impossible. One out of two people give up whilst trying to donate online. At Milkywire we work hard to make the full experience easy: one place to find great local organizations, connect to them directly through the app, support them in a reliable donation flow, and share the behind the scenes from the impacters’ progress and important work.
4. Small organizations need you, but can’t find you: If you are running a small local organization somewhere in the world it is a very challenging and almost impossible task to find people who want to contribute to your cause. These small organizations rarely have the resources or capacity to compete for the same attention, awareness and thereby public donations that the big international organizations can go after. If you are small there is a constant compromise of time between working with the cause hands-on and working to survive as an organization. Milkywire raises awareness and helps impacters find you, while avoiding the high costs and a shift in their focus.
5. Little stability for small local organizations: The organizations on the local level often spend more than half of their time applying for funding, often they only manage to cover parts of their budgets, and every year their fundraising starts off at zero. It is a real struggle that takes up important time from the actual work to improve our world. We want to make sure that they can focus their efforts on the actual work and plan more than a few months ahead at a time. The solution to the problem is continuous long term funding. That is why Milkywire mainly offers the option of donations on a monthly ongoing basis.
6. Charity should be a fun experience: Many donors feel like distant spectators, not being a part of the progress and solution. On Milkywire, over time you will get to know the impacters you support and you can see their work on an ongoing basis.
How do we select our impacters?
All impacters on the platform have gone through Milkywire’s screening process. The purpose of the screening process is to make sure that Milkywire collects as much information as possible to make an informed decision as to whom or to which organization will be presented on Milkywire.
Most of our impacters are working with or have worked with big international donors and have previously been vetted. Still, as with most small local organizations, much of the organizational information is not publicly available to potential donors, which is why we collect, research, and analyze:
Publicly provided information about the organization and impacter.
Information that the impacter themselves provide through their interviews and application such as annual and financial reports.
Organization background, Organization form, Geographic focus, Overall goals, Target group, Description of operation, Operational goals, Board, Management, Projects, Evaluations, Results.
Statues, Annual reports (including financial reports). It is important that they always have these documents available.
In later versions, this information will be available to you directly in the app.
Where does your money go when you give to an impacter?
At least 80% of your donation goes directly to the organization/impacter of your choice. The funds are currently sent once a month to the impacter in order to keep transaction costs as low as possible. 15% of your donation goes into supporting the impacters in sharing their story and building awareness around their work and their causes in order to amplify their and your impact. 5% is transaction and platform cost.
Our short history
Milkywire was founded in May 2018, in Stockholm by Nina Siemiatkowski. A lot has happened since then. Throughout 2018 we ran several user tests and then the development team has gradually joined the team since January 2019. We released an early version of this app in Q1 2019. Although we have made quick progress, we are nowhere close to being done. So keep an eye out for the next release and if you have feedback please share it with us.
We're an independent, founder-controlled company. We spend our time designing and building Milkywire, connecting people and projects that can change the world to create a more sustainable future for everyone. Currently, there are 16 people working together in Stockholm. We’re developers, designers, editors, producers, impact managers, content specialists, marketeers – you name it. And together we’ve onboarded 16 impacters (with plenty more to come).