This program was designed to stimulate the development of philanthropy in Romania by operating a collaborative, transparent, safe, efficient and easy-to-use individual donation mechanism in partnership with major Romanian banks and mobile phone operators.
A study based on a representative opinion poll carried out by ARC in 2007-2008 showed that overall public opinion about NGOs is positive (57% consider that associations and foundations do good things and only 18% have a negative opinion). However, in 2010 only 21.3% of the adult population made a donation to a NGO, only 7.5% of the NGOs had individual donors as a major source of income and even fewer were building a long-term relationship with them1. This low rate of support was attributed to: (1) the high transaction costs and considerable effort an individual must make to pay a small donation / contribution and (2) the fact that the current payment method does not allow recurrent payments; each new transfer must be made individually and the banking fees are substantial compared with the amount of the transaction (e.g. for a 5 RON payment transaction fees can be 3 to 5 RON for electronic payment).
The Easy Giving program was designed as a tool for philanthropy, offering donors the possibility to use the Donatie.ro platform to make financial contributions to causes they believe in. Developed by Asociația pentru Relații Comunitare in partnership with three mobile phone carriers and six banks, the donation platform is a simple and transparent way for individuals to donate, either by text message (SMS) or direct debit.
Besides providing the donation platform, the program shapes an infrastructure for philanthropy, addressing both the donors and the fundraisers. From teaching people how to donate wisely to trainings for organizations to attract recurrent donors by direct debit, and public awareness aimed at stimulating a philanthropic behavior, the program helps an increasing number of individuals make financial contributions to support civil society organizations address issues that are relevant for their communities.
At the end of the program:
- About 1.2 million donors contribute to the NGOs supported causes via SMS;
- $4.3 million raised through Text Payments donations, during campaigns for more than 50 NGOs;
- 12,000 donors decided to sign a direct debit agreement;
- 22,000 donors decided to donate 2 Euro/month via Text Payments to support a project on a long-term basis;
- 18 NGOs are using direct debit donations, developed internal data management and data protection, have donor care systems in place.