13 July 2010

Episode 29 Meeting Zarine Kharas

Yesterday I went to an event organized by ETIC, where Zarine Kharas CEO of JustGiving.com (JG) came to present her website and answered questions of 20 people working for NPOs or social entrepreneurs. The event was mainly organized for a Japanese public but fortunately an interpreter was in the room.

One of the questions that was asked was about, what kind of organization JustGiving was and Mrs. Karas started explaining why JG exists as a profit making company instead of an NPO. Her answer is that people working in profit making company are much more disciplined and also much more motivated to go for the extra mile for the benefit of the company than volunteers, who are there because they have extra time and want to do a good action.

A second reason is that people working in profit making companies tend to be more creative because innovation is important for any type of organizations if they want to last. Unfortunately, volunteers tends to be happy with doing the same things and don't feel the urge to try new technologies.

The last reason that she mentioned, which is a bit linked with the previous one is that profit making companies are actually ready to take risks. This is very true, especially in Japan, where people tend to be risk averse, it makes even more sense to have more organizations, who can try new fundraising strategies for them. If we simply take the mobile website for instance, very few NPO are able to afford to develop one, taken that it can cost around 30,000$, you can understand that few of them go for it. i-kifu.org will differentiate from other websites by providing a mobile platform for the NPOs.

Here a few random learnings from Mrs. Kharas

1) Be transparent with the donors and take the time to show them what happen with their donations, videos can be particularly powerful.
2) People tend to listen more to children and are more touched by personal stories than large campaigns
3) Tax back incentive has been identified as not relevant in the donation decision process
4) Make sure you get the right people in your team
5) Don't be afraid of changes and be open to new ideas
6) When new ideas don't work, don't stay stuck and pass on a new one, sometimes it's a matter of bad timing
7) Persevere, be bold and courageous
8) Finally don't forget to have FUN!

Thank you Mrs. Kharas for inspiring me.

End of Episode 29

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