HopeMongers launches Web community to connect donors with charitable projects

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Nonprofit group HopeMongers launched an online community on October 5 to connect donors with community projects around the world. The portal enables consumers to donate as little as $10 and allows them to track the progress of their gifts using social media tools.

Visitors can pick a project by type, such as “safe water” or “orphan care,” or by region. On a project page, visitors find details about specific charity efforts and information about how much money is requested, has been raised and is still needed. Bloggers can also copy code to fundraise for a specific project on their own sites. Visitors are also encouraged to share projects and invite others to give via Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

The site's “Join Cooperative” section is divided into eight geographic regions where visitors can join groups, follow other group members, read blog posts, join forum discussions and upload photos. Users can find others who are also interested in a specific region's needs and work with them to orchestrate fund-raising efforts, plan trips and share information.

Charities featured on HopeMongers.org are: Agathos Foundation, Children's HopeChest, Living Water International and Amazima Ministries International. HopeMongers helps each charity create discrete givable units that can be featured on the Web site with a price point and description. The charities are required to answer questions about a particular project and post before and after pictures.

“So there is transparency,” said Sam Henry, the organization's CEO and founder.

He added that the $10 bottom-end threshold was chosen for donations so that “virtually anybody in the developed world can give.”

Henry conceptualized the site after a trip to an orphanage. Henry said he wanted to write a check to help that specific group, but the organization told him he couldn't dictate how the money would be used. He then enlisted volunteers, and over the course of the next eight months, the group developed the Web site.

“You find a charity that you believe in, write them a check and hope that they are going to do something useful with the money,” he said. “What people really want is more transparency, but more than that, they want more connection to the folks they are helping.”

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