Every.org connects donors and nonprofits for free

The Every.org team is collaborating on ideas on how to expand its donation platform and better serve its members. (Photo courtesy of Every.org)

Two software engineers are harnessing technologies from social media companies to fuel a surge in charitable giving. “Our goal is a more generous world,” says Tina Roh, who launched Every.org in May 2019 with Mark Ulrich.

Every.org is a platform that connects donors and nonprofits and manages donations so nonprofits can spend less time fundraising and maintaining donation websites . Any nonprofit can create a profile on the platform, which uses optimization tools like machine learning and data analytics to drive constant improvements to user functionality and donor transactions. “All of these things are very common in the tech industry, but are out of reach for many nonprofits,” Roh says.

Funding from individuals and organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Canadian tech billionaire Garrett Camp’s Camp Foundation covers operating and staffing costs and allows Every.org to provide all of its services free of charge.

The co-founders’ respective engineering backgrounds – Roh at Snap Inc., parent of messaging app Snapchat, and Ulrich at social media company Pinterest – gave them the skills to design a platform that, like social, encourages online interactions and the creation of communities. Donors can see which nonprofits their friends support, comment on what inspired them to donate, and share those comments on other social media platforms.

Donors can also explore charities by cause or location. “The more people use it, the better the ranking algorithm will be, and then it will be very easy to find the nonprofits that interest them,” says Roh. With a team of nine people, including several engineers and software designers, Every.org uses A/B testing to find out which online features work best to encourage monthly giving.

As Every.org acts as an intermediary, the platform makes it easy for nonprofit organizations to receive complex assets, such as stocks, grants from donor-advised funds, and cryptocurrencies, which they might otherwise lack the technical capacity to accept.

“We are seeing an increasing number of donors interested in donating cryptocurrency and nonprofits interested in accepting it,” says Ulrich. Crypto donations appeal to younger, tech-savvy donors, and as assets under the guidance of the Internal Revenue Service, they are not subject to tax. “As long as we see significant increases in the value of cryptocurrencies and as long as the tax structure remains as it is, there will be a market for people who have amassed crypto wealth and want to deploy it for charitable purposes. “, says Jessica Love, managing director of the consulting firm Arabella Advisors.

However, several hurdles deter most nonprofits from accepting cryptocurrencies. First, they are extremely volatile. Crypto gifts require immediate decisions on whether to liquidate or keep them. There are also legal and accounting complexities. As with other assets, digital gifts for which a deduction of more than $5,000 is claimed should be assessed at their value. And while informal accounting recommendations exist, the rules are still in the works. “Small nonprofits trying to figure it all out may think it’s not worth it,” Roh says.

Every.org handles all of this on behalf of nonprofits. After receiving a crypto donation, he immediately sells it through the US brokerage service Coinbase and transfers the proceeds to the intended nonprofit in dollars. This minimizes volatility risks, since the currency is only held briefly, and relieves nonprofits of the need to install the software needed to set up and manage a crypto wallet (a digital service that stores digital currencies and manages transactions securely).

“If we had our own wallet, our operations team would have to receive the crypto and liquidate it,” says Jennifer Xu, US development manager for Epic Foundation, a nonprofit using Every.org. “It can take time, and it’s tax complicated if the initial crypto goes up in value. So for Every.org, doing it automatically is a huge plus.

The heavy carbon footprint of Crypto, however, is more difficult to remedy. In their creation, some cryptocurrencies consume the same annual amount of energy as entire countries. Rather than losing these gifts, Every.org accepts crypto donations the same way it would accept a gift of oil company stock. Still, Roh is optimistic that environmental concerns will drive the crypto market towards “proof-of-stake” currencies, which are more energy-efficient because they don’t rely on the advanced cryptographic puzzles used in mining currencies like Bitcoin. .

Meanwhile, the team is focused on expanding the next wave of philanthropy by experimenting with incentives, analyzing what motivates donors, and using technology to create an ever-greater flow of charitable giving to good people. causes. “The digital generation is establishing their giving habits,” says Roh. “We want to create an experience comparable to anything in their digital domains.”

Read more stories by Sarah Murray.


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