Jolkona Foundation has some great ideas about how to measure donor impact. I had a great opportunity to meet the founders Adnan and Nadia Mahmud (see photo below by Photo by Trevin Chow Photography, http://www.trevinchowphotography.com) a couple of weeks ago and I was so encouraged by their vision for young philanthropists. Today and tomorrow I’ll be interviewing Adnan, if you have any questions feel free to leave them as a comment below or connect with Jolkona through their website or with me.
What inspired you to start the Jolkona Foundation?
Couple of years ago, I was at a cemetery in Bangladesh paying respect to my grandfather. When I was leaving, I came across a gentleman bringing in his dead son who was probably 6 or 7 years old. Muslim tradition requires a dead body be wrapped in a white cloth for proper burial. It was clear the gentleman did not have the means to afford such a cloth, which was probably no more than a few cents. I realized I could have given him that cloth. By the time I realized that I was back home. So, I decided to look for ways to give back now and not wait until later. I looked for sustainable things I could do within my capacity. After looking through various options and ideas, my wife and I realized there was no existing model for connecting individuals to causes that would show a one-to-one proof – connecting EVERY donation to an impact. After many hours of interviews and conversations, we decided to build a platform that other non-profit organizations can leverage to effectively connect with a new generation of philanthropists who want to give small donations.
What does a “one-to-one” mean and why is that important?
“One to one” refers to the fact that all donations via the Jolkona Foundation website make a specific impact with which the individual donor can identify. Jolkona Foundation focuses on establishing “one-to-one” impact in order to help address this problem. Moreover, because Jolkona Foundation focuses on targeting the youth and young professionals, (15 to 35 years old), one of the best ways to encourage anyone to get into philanthropy is to show the impact that their donations can have. Traditionally, this idea of seeing the impact of your gift was reserved for the “big donors”. They are able to sit on the boards and determine how their donations would be spent. People with smaller donations (less than $500) rarely had this kind of control over how their donation was spent. We are very committed to measuring impact and providing our community with as much transparency and feedback as possible. We are trying to push this transparency idea beyond just a personal impact. In our Impact section, we show the aggregate impact the whole Jolkona Community is having.
How is technology changing philanthropy?
We use technology to effectively show our donors the impact every donation is having. Traditionally, only few organizations like World Vision or Save the Children were able to set up programs that would send the photo of the child you are supporting. We believe technology can really allow almost any nonprofits to set up these programs. Couple of trends today are 1) digital cameras are very easily accessible and 2) Internet is spreading to more remote places every day. Those 2 trends alone allow us to build a richer donor experience than just getting one printed photo and a letter, at a very low cost.
Are you looking for more nonprofits to join your work?
We are constantly looking for new partners. One of the things we enjoy is learning about the wonderful and highly effective work that folks are doing around the world and figuring out the best way our platform can help them. Our website provides some good details about how to become our partner. Some benefits include, increased funding to provide more services, increased visibility for their organization, partner tools for tacking and monitoring funding, new source of potential donors, a web portal to easily report back to donors, and more.