The charity industry is one of the largest industries in the world. As an industry, it’s characterised 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, 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. We’re building a platform for impact that turns this business model on its head: at Milkywire 80% of your support will go directly to the organizations in the field - and you choose to which ones. No more than 20% of the funds will finance Milkywire (more on that below).
The problems Milkywire want to solve
Not enough money reaches the local level: Only a fraction of charitable donations end up with the people on the ground doing the majority of the work that drives change. It should be the other way around. Therefore we ensure that at least 80% of your support goes directly to the field.
Little to no stability for small local organizations: The organizations on the ground often spend more than half of their time applying for funding, still only parts of their budgets are covered, and every year their fundraising starts off at zero. 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 we soon mainly will offer donations on a monthly recurring basis - only then are we really solving this problem.
Small organizations need you, but can’t find you: 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 help impacters punch above their weight so that they can find you, while avoiding the costs and a shift in focus.
Supporting local charity is close to impossible: The experience of engaging in 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. One out of two people give up whilst trying to donate online. We work hard to make the full experience easy: one place to find great local organizations, connect to them directly through the app, provide a reliable donation flow, and provide the behind the scenes and updates from the impacters’ progress and important work.
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.
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. Most of our impacters are 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 publically available to potential donors, which is why we collect 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.
These are the metrics we specifically look at; Background, Organization form, Geographic focus, Overall goals, Target group, Description of operation, Operational goals, Board, Management, Projects, Evaluations, Results.
It is important that they always have the following documents available; Statues, Annual reports (including financial reports).
The purpose of the screening process is to make sure that we collect as much information as possible to make an informed decision as to whom or to which organization to give their money. In later versions, this information will be available to donors directly in the app.
Where does your money go when you give to an impacter?
A majority, at least 80% of your donation is transferred to the organization/impacter of your choice. The remaining share will go towards developing Milkywire and keeping the platform available to you, handling payments and money transfers, producing content about the impacters, continuously screening the organizations/impacters on the platform, and marketing of the platform and our impacters to the general public. To be able to handle all this on only 20 % of the donations we constantly develop our ways of working and also rely heavily on partners’ generosity.
Our short history
Milkywire was founded in May 2018, in Stockholm. A lot has happened since then. We’ve been to Africa. We got to know our first impacter. Then we got to know fifteen more. We developed our own content format and tested it. We learned a lot. We built the platform from the ground up, the development team has gradually joined the team since January 2019. We released an early version of this app in Q1 and learned some more. And after a year, we are still both doing a lot and 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 and non-profit. 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.
Now we are 15 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).