Paradocs Episode 155: DonorSee is a New Innovative Way to Run a Charity with Gret Glyer

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DonorSee is a New Innovative Way to Run a Charity with Gret Glyer

When Gret Glyer decided to search for meaning in his life after a short stint in corporate America by flying on a whim to Malawi, he never expected that in less than ten years he would create and run a multi-million dollar global charity. In his search for a fulfilling life, Gret found much more – an innovative way to raise money for those in need.

Using Video to Fundraise

Soon after arriving in Malawi – one of the poorest countries on Earth – Gret recognized the tremendous material needs for so many and he sought to find ways to help. He began by blogging and asking for help but found that it didn’t resonate the way he had hoped. So on a whim, he figured he would harness the power of video and document those in need and then follow up after people had provided the financial support. He was struck by how capturing the need and success in video brought people the personal connection they rarely got with traditional charitable organizations was so powerful.

Later, he harnessed the powerful draw of video to launch an incredibly ambitious project to build a self-sustaining all girls high school – in 12 weeks.

Building a School

Prior to crowdfunding for the school, all of the projects Gret had done were small in their scope. He had never embarked upon a project this ambitious He would need to raise a little over $100,000 in just twelve weeks in order for the school to open in time for school that year. Perhaps the most critical steps of this project were that there was overwhelming support for the creation of the school within the village and he had a local partner who had a plan. Her plan was not just to build a school but how to fund it, staff it, and educate girls in a self-sustaining manner throughout the years.

So he then embarked on a fund raising plan to document by video weekly laying out the vision and then the construction of the school as they raised the money. Through this concept Gret pulled all the donors along the way to show exactly where their money went and the progress it made. Amazingly, his efforts raised the necessary capital to complete the school and it opened that fall in 2016. To this day, the Sunshine Academy is doing great graduating girls in a country where girls almost never receive secondary education.

DonorSee is Born

With this proof of concept, Gret launched DonorSee a few weeks later where people anywhere in the world can donate directly to a project and then receive a video update afterwards where they are usually personally thanked by the receiver of the funds. Projects range from buying a goat, paying for simple medical expenses, building homes, and paying for education. You can either pick out individual projects or donate monthly to random projects. No matter how you choose to contribute, you receive video feedback of the impact of your donations.

Relief Vs. Development

An important aspect to charity is being mindful of the impact that the donations have. We must be careful to separate relief from development. Sometimes, an individual just needs relief like after a natural disaster or medical emergency. But we must be careful to not provide services and goods that result in preventing the local economy from developing properly. That is why it is so important to have people on the ground with local knowledge to vet projects and makes sure the relief allows for human flourishing and not dependence.

To that end, Gret and his partners in Malawi started a very ambitious project to build a self sustaining STEM school to train the next generation of scientists, doctors, and technicians to help move Malawi into the 21st century and serve as a bright example for other African countries.

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