Giveffect: Crowdfunding, Philanthropy and the #NextGen Donor

Giveffect, a Toronto-based organization that allows charities to receive donations through crowdfunding.  The site has been receiving a great deal of publicity as of late, including an article in the Toronto Star.  In just three short months since its public launch (and just under a year since founding), Giveffect already has many groups registered, including well-known names such as War Child Canada, the Rotary Club of Etobicoke and Epilepsy Canada.  The organization expects many more to sign up.


Screenshot of Giveffect’s homepage

Giveffect is not only for charities, but for individuals as well.  Once they have an account, people can create their own campaigns for charities already on the system.  And unlike many other online donation sites, tax receipts are issued to the donor (if he or she has a profile), not to the person who started the campaign – the individual who organizes the campaign does not see the money at all.  Instead, the charities see all of the information, including who donated, and how much.  Therefore, the charities can start building relationships with the donor – non-anonymous donors have profiles, so charities can send thank you notes.  All charities must be part of Giveffect for individuals to start campaigns for them and individuals must be registered to receive tax receipts.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Anisa Mirza, one of the co-founders of the site where we discussed Giveffect itself, philanthropy and millennials (also known as #nextgendonors).


Back end of a crowdfunding campaign

Anisa on how she came upon the idea of Giveffect:

I came from a management role in the non-profit world and have always had and will always have a passion for the area.  However, in my experience, there has been a bit of negativity between the generations – older people and younger people don’t understand each other – which was why we founded Giveffect.  Giveffect engages and empowers its users, since individuals can start their own campaigns for organizations they already have connections to.  And the usage of social media – one can even register for an account using Facebook – is a great way for the younger generation to communicate with their connections regarding the organizations they support and the campaigns they have started.

On millennials and philanthropy and whether there’s any “burnout” from community involvement (the first set of Ontario high school grads required to complete 40 hours of community service are now in their mid-20s) and marketing:

There are some millenials who are burnt out, but the generation has also given about $800 million to charities using “old school” methods.  And that’s only scratching the surface.  If the generation is more empowered and engaged using more modern means, then it will only increase involvement.  And when they know that their friends are involved, they feel that they better see their return on investment and are, therefore more likely to become involved and have less burnout – this is less likely to happen when the message comes from people they know rather than marketing departments.

On millenials, “sexy,” health (e.g. Movember) and international causes versus arts and culture groups:

To many, it has to do with connections.  Everyone has been a kid and everyone has been sick, so SickKids is going to be seen as more “deserving” of the money.  However, if someone sees that his or her friend has donated to, say, the symphony, then he or she may follow suit.  It’s all about communication.



Giveffect founders Anisa Mirza (centre) with Allan (left) and Kevin (right) Shin

On types of groups who register at Giveffect:

We have an array of organizations on our roster, ranging from health/poverty-related, both domestic and international, to arts, literacy and environmental groups.  Our groups range in size and include local charities, branches of international groups (e.g. United Way of Bruce Grey) and larger organizations, such as War Child.

On how organizations reacted to Giveffect:

Some organizations were unsure at first, but others were willing to take the risk.  We have about 30 officially on board right now and 80 have signed on.  Many major organizations have even contacted us, wanting to register.  It takes some time to get everyone signed on, but we’re well on track for 100.  We have found that larger organizations were easier to engage as smaller ones weren’t always as tech or social media-savvy.

On where she sees Giveffect in five to 10 years:

To have expanded globally, in operations beyond the US and UK, with thousands of charities on the roster and be the voice of #nextgendonors.



About Cynthia Cheng Mintz

Cynthia Cheng Mintz is the founder and webitor-in-chief of this site and the petite-focused site, Shorty Stories. She has also written for other publications including the Toronto Star and has blogged for The Huffington Post. Her first novel, Aspirations, was published in 2007. Outside of writing, Cynthia researches and advises philanthropic ideas for family funds and foundations and also volunteers.

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