AmCham Slovakia

Making charity accessible

Almost a quarter of a million donors have already provided almost 18 million euros to people in need and various NGOs through the donation platform. In eleven years of operation, this project has changed the lives of tens of thousands of people for the better, whether they were struggling with various diseases, health or social disadvantages.

Donation platform Ľudia Ľuďom (transl. People for People) helped to start many beneficial projects and brought a new effective tool for fundraising of non-governmental organizations. The operational costs of this unique tool have been financed for years by the telecommunications operator SWAN as the main partner of the project. We have discussed the story of the largest fully open donor portal with the company’s marketing director, Roland Kyška, who was at the birth of the project more than a decade ago as its Director.

Who came up with the idea of an online donor portal?
More than a decade ago, Slovakia lacked a truly open and transparent tool for fundraising. As IT and telecommunications professionals, we were aware that with the growing popularity of the Internet an online donation solution will make charity much more accessible to the general public. We saw its potential in helping the society and bringing democracy to fundraising, we therefore decided to build a truly low-threshold web tool through which anyone in need would be able to reach a wide group of potential donors online. The ever-growing influence of social media also helped us in achieving our goal to connect those in need with those who want to help. We also set one key condition for the project – making the efficiency and transparency of the entire donation process the highest priority.
18.png How do you achieve this level of transparency and efficiency?
Our donation platform is a project which mediates financial support from the general public to anyone who finds himself in need or runs a project that is beneficial for the society. The support is provided by individuals who can freely decide whom to support and with what amount. The whole process is fully transparent - immediately after sending the donation, not just the donor and the recipient, but everyone can see how much money the person in need managed to collect. The donation, whether anonymous or dedicated under the donor’s name, is listed publicly. So there is no middle man or company board that decides who gets support and who doesn’t. All is decided by individuals themselves and donated to specific purposes in the most transparent manner possible. At the same time, it must be said that in this way the choice and the responsibility is directly on the donor. However, the donor has the right to claim a return of his donation if the recipient did not use the resources in accordance with the declared goals. Since the system is open to everyone, the portal has an original functionality called verifiers. They are independent persons, e.g. the mayor of the village, priest, attending physician or social worker, who confirm that the project is valid directly on the page of the appeal.

You are saying that the recipient receives the entire donated amount, but someone also has to finance the operations?
The operation costs exceed the sum of 100,000 EUR per year and that is not the only expense such a large scale project requires. In addition, we also pay bank card operator fees for mediated payments. However, since we declare to send 100% of the donation to the recipients, we fully cover these fees for the donors. The main financial sponsor for the non-profit organization is the Slovak telecommunications operator SWAN. The project was created in the DanubiaTel group of companies, which includes SWAN, but also other IT companies. These companies support in various ways, such as by providing free computer servers and connectivity for the online portal. Our employees often work on the project as volunteers providing technical, administrative and marketing support as well.

What kinds of appeals typically seek help on the portal?
Currently, most requests for support are from parents of sick or disabled children, whose treatment or rehabilitation is not reimbursed by the state. Many times these children need to travel abroad for medical treatment, frequently even to the United States. One of the recent examples is little Sebastián from Lučenec, who was born prematurely and shortly after his birth he began to experience regular respiratory arrest. He is said to be the first and the only one in the world with this variant of the disease. He found help from doctors in Boston, where he had already completed several treatments at the local children’s hospital. However, his parents have to pay for this treatment and the expanses are all financed from contributions from generous people over our donation platform We are really proud that we have helped to make this possible. 

Roland Kyška, Chief Marketing Officer, SWAN and Director, ĽUDIA ĽUĎOM