Social impact or profit?... or why not both?
In May 2014, we officially launched what we call a “solidarity ecosystem”, so that technology could empower social impact (and vice-versa), connecting and engaging the different actors of the social economy. eSolidar is a 2-sided online marketplace that combines charities and their communities, by offering easy ways to raise funds and awareness to amazing charitable causes.
- Approximately 90% of all donations goes to 5% of UK charities
- Individuals and the corporate sector struggle to navigate the complexity of the charity world
- More than four out of five small and medium-sized charities are struggling to raise the funds they need to survive
- Many charities have yet to fully grasp the opportunity that technology offers, both to enhance their fundraising strategies, and to boost their ability to engage with individual and corporate donors
In a world where hotels, music, gaming and taxi cabs have all been disrupted by socially-based systems using technology, why has the charity sector not done so too? Where is the disconnect? Why aren’t we effectively leveraging the mutual desire from celebrities, brands and consumers to expand their commitment to social responsibility? And how do we centralize the fragmented field of charitable giving?
Here’s how we’re trying to solve it!
eSolidar allows people to shop, sell and donate to their favourite charitable causes. At the same time, the platform enables charities to diversify their fundraising base and reach new audiences through online charity shops, donations and special charity auctions with celebrities/brands.
Our goal is to provide a platform that enables all members of the charitable community - particularly the charities themselves, as well as individuals and the corporate sector - to transact in a single marketplace. By consolidating the interaction between these groups, we expect that it will enable charities to increase their resources and help individual and corporate donors to make informed choices about how and which causes they should/want to support.
These income sources don’t compete with those that small charities normally tap into, and they allow charities to connect to potential supporters already registered on eSolidar. So, rather than promoting competition between the bigger and smaller charities, there is a chance to connect with and tap into a community of people who care. We’ve seen how digital has disrupted the music industry, taxis and how we consume media. Surely the same mechanisms of personal choice, connection and user reviews can only benefit small charities." Devi Clark, The Huffington Post
It’s a nice theory, but does it work?
Well, the glowing testimonial from Grief Encounter seems to suggest that the answer is yes:
In eSolidar, we have finally found a solution to raise vital funds through an extremely simple process (…) The whole process from start to finish was so easy. The staff are simply phenomenal, they made the auction process completely hassle free (…) Our first item sold for around 20% higher than our high end estimate and I believe this was down to the generous nature of the bidders both wanting the item and also knowing the funds were going to charity. I would definitely recommended eSolidar to other charities and will most certainly be using them again. I hope that this is the start of a long relationship.” Richard Fogelman, Grief Encounter
Within the last 2 years, we are fortunate to have a community of close to 40,000 people and to have supported over 700 charities. We had the privilege to work with partners like Impact Hub, Rock in Rio, TAP, Delta and Vodafone, among others. We’ve been working with several music festivals and have done initiatives involving 100+ celebrities, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Elton John, Johnny Depp, Mark Knopfler, Maroon 5, Metallica, Muse and Lady Gaga.
WATCH: eSolidar co-founder Marco Barbosa interview with BBC
Furthermore, we’ve been selected by the European Youth Award as the “Best Business Potential 2014” and by Forbes 30under30 in Europe for Social Entrepreneurship, earlier this year, which give us confidence that we are in the right track.
If they carry on this rate, maybe eSolidar will inspire a revolution in online fundraising. That’s certainly a good news story for all of us!” Mike Zywina, GoodNewsShared
We’ve now decided to open part of the company to anyone that believes and wants to invest in what we are building through our equity crowdfunding campaign on www.seedrs.com/esolidar. This will allow us to expand our operations and start our second phase of our growth strategy where businesses will also become part of the ecosystem.
If you kill innovation in fundraising, you can’t raise more revenue; if you can’t raise more revenue, you can’t grow; and if you can’t grow, you can’t possibly solve large social problems.” Dan Pallotta
Marco Barbosa, co-founder, eSolidar
If you have any questions regarding this impact investment opportunity or would like to have a call/coffee/beer, please reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org