A Christian alternative to GoFundMe, SanctisFundme is a zero-commissions Christian crowdfunding website
Poverty, misery, the need for help, these are the constants throughout human history. That's why we often spek of charity, fundraising campaigns and donations. Most of the timese these are linked to specific emergencies (earthquakes, floods, wars, etc), but the desire to give can be put into practice at any time. Every Christian community, either idividually or as a community, is called to make charitable donations. Called to take care of the needs of others. In modern days this can be through Christain Crowdfunding.
In this article we discover the benefits of a recently launched Christian alternative to GoFundMe, called SanctisFundMe.
In order to understand charity (as well as Christain crowdfunding) it is important to understand the meaning of the word, even outside of the Christian spiritual context.
The meaning of charity
The etimology refers to the virtue which consists in helping others. Many Christian crowdfunding have this goal in mind. Money, allows to intervene were it is needed. Not only by feeding the hungry, but also by building schools, homes, hospitals and infrastructures. Whether from the ground up or in post war or earthquakes scenarios.
Therefore it is important to find those platforms that are reliable to raise funds to give to those needing help. We are talking about crowdfunding, christian crowdfunding in particular and the opportunities that are available using online funding sites.
The types of crowdfunding
When we speak of crwodfunding we refer to websites dedicated to the raising of funds for a cause. Crowdfunding doesn't just exist for charitable purposes, but to support a variety of causes. For example, the development of a project or the funding of a business activity, the restoration of a work of art and many more. Anything can be funded thorugh these platforms, however crowdfunding takes different forms.
- Donation based;
- Reward based;
- Equity Based.
Donations are typically directed to not-for-profit organisations, foundations, religious organisations and missions. It is the typical system to support charities. Peer-to-peer donations (such as those on the website GoFundMe) on the other hand is between private individuals. There are also crowdlending platforms where credit is made available by the public. Reward based platforms, such as Kickstarter, usually offer a discounted product for early buyers that can thus finance the venture. Equity based crowdfunding is the most evolved and literally makes you a share holder of the company you are supporting.
Christian crowdfunding and charity
Those that are critical of online or offline fundraising initiatives often cite the fact that too large a proportion of the funds seems to be spent to sustain the intermediary to the detriment of the beneficiary. The reason is very simple, the donor donates to a non-profit organisation but when he/she does so on a crowdfunding platform, in many cases, commissions are applied.
Crowdfunding platforms are all for-profit organisation and althogh they help funding charities their work is not charitable. This appears to be a conundrum as charity is a moral duty for christian communities. Do we need to conclude that Christian charity and Christian crowdfunding are incompatible.
Are there commission free platforms?
The question becomes spontaneous: can we still be charitable without enriching an intermediary. Fortunately there are zero-commission crowdfunding platforms where GoFundMe is the most famous one. However GoFundMe only supports peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaigns and cannot be used by charities, foundations, religious organisations or missions.
The need for a Christian alternative to GoFundMe
It is also important to highlight that there have been several notable cases of discrimination towards Christians on GoFundMe. In recent years the platform has shut down several campaigns which were motivated by the belief in traditional Christian values.
However powerful lobbies such as LGBT lobbies have successfully managed to have those campaign removed. These were very sad cases, especially as those promoting the shutting down of the campaign should in theory be on the forefront of fighting against any type of discrimination, not just sexual but also religious.
Other storms of criticisms have in waves hit the famous GoFundMe platform. A recent campaign, "GoFundMe build the wall" was initiated by a war veteran to raise funds towards the construction of the Trump Wall. Anyone holding strong Christian values can only condemn a project that promotes xenofobia and is not compatible with the belief system of a good Christian.
So there are many reasons why there was a strong need for a Christian crowdfunding platform which would represent a Christian alternative to GoFundMe. This platform is SanctisFundMe, a site for solidarity and prayer dedicated to the Christian community.
Costs, limits and commissions of alternative platforms
There are a plethora of other platforms, but most charge commissions ranging from 4% to 8%. We think that an intermediary taking a cut from a Christian donation is acting immorally, especially as the technology of a platform is very simple in today's world. We believe that a Christian crowdfunding website should be free and should serve the community. Let's look into this by discovering the many and very important differences.
Why chose SanctisFundMe as your Christian Fundraising platform
SanctisFundMe differs from other platforms in several ways. The platform was developed by Prime Consulting in 2019 and in june of the same year it was spun-off and donated to a newly created charity, SanctisFundMe CUA (Charitable Unincorporated Association) with headoffice in the UK. The website is available in English, Italian and Spanish.
Prime Consulting, the firm that developed the platform has a committment to cover all maintenance and running costs of the platform on a pro-bono basis. This means SanctisFundMe CUA has no IT costs. Offices are free of charge courtesy of Prime Consulting as well as bills and internet connection. Moreover, at present all those working for SanctisFundMe are volunteers, hence there are no personnel costs. No remuneration is contemplated for the services offered by the platform through its T&Cs.
This is means that a donation can be as low as 1 Euro and for selected means of payments it would mean a Euro would reach the beneficiary. Within Europe, it is free to send a bank transfer from the majority of bank accounts. If payments are made by Credit Card, SanctisFundMe has to pay a processing fee. For this purpose SanctisFundMe has setup a SanctiFundMe fund which is aimed at compensating for these costs. The fund is the recipient of any donations received by SanctisFundMe directly and used to eliminate banking costs. SanctisFundMe does not charge any commissions of any kind.
Who is SanctisFundMe for?
As soon as you open the website you are welcomed by it's core mission statement. Sanctisfundme is "A site for Solidarity and Prayer dedicated to the Christian Community". You may wonder whether the site is for the exclusive use of Christians? Absolutely not, and there must be no misulderstanding on the subject.
Christians, as Jesus himself said, distinguish themselves for their universal love (se John 13, 35). As defined by Benedict XVI in Caritas Veritate, love is wanting the good of others and striving to achieve it. The relationship between charity, almsgiving and the need to help those in need has always been a founding pillar of Christianity. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had" [Acts 4, 32]. And "that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need" [Acts 4, 34-35].
A universal message of hope
Charity for Christians is not at all only aimed at Christians. The love of the scriptures is aimed potentially even to enemies (Matthew 5, 43-44). "There are no poor of the parish and poor of the city, they are all poor" recited a father in an old black and white movie. Christians are called to help all those that are in need, regardless of creed, race or social status.
SanctisFundMe, therefore, wants to embrace the universal values of Christian solidarity, without limits. For this reason campaigns such as GofundMe bild the wall in support of the Trump wall would not be tolerated as they are xenophobic in nature. SanctisFundMe is a Christian crowdfunding website and a Christian alternative to GoFundMe.
Who can create a fundraising campaign?
Let's dwelve deeper into the activities of SanctisFundMe. Anyone can create a fundraising platform however their credentials are verified as well as the the activity that they wish to raise funds for. The nature of the fundraiser can be of any kind but the guiding spirit must be that of something that contributes or helps the community or a specific beneficiary in need. The proposer and the beneficiary may need to provide documentary evidence of any claims made in their fundraising campaigns to access funds raised.
There is another important difference with other crowdfunding platforms which we mentioned briefly. SanctisFundMe supports peer-to-peer donations as well as charities, foundations, religious entities and missions. However, SanctisFundMe does not only verify the "not-for-profit" status of an organisation, but demands consultation of the latest available balance sheet and profit and loss.
Strict vetting of fundraising campaigns
The team at SanctisFundMe will evaluate the mission costs vs the administrative costs as well as the fundraising costs. This to determine how much of each unit raised goes to the entity's declared mission. If the ratios show costs that are too high, even a charity may be turned down. This unfortunately has happened on numerous occasions.
Charities sprout all over the world with little more ambition than raise funds to pay for their own running costs with little tangible impact on their communities. SanctisFundMe is strictly against such widespread malpractices.
Only this way SanctisFundMe can fullfill its mission statement. Not only it is a commission free platform, but aims at being totally cost free (including banking fees) as well as vetting campaigns that are allowed on the site. As SanctisFundMe does not have a profit structure there is no conflict of interest. Other platforms open their doors to anyone, as volume translates into more profit. In this respect SanctisFundMe is the only and truly Christian Crowdfunding website.
Numbers, data and statistics
The platform is relatively new, having launched in its current charity format less than a year ago whilst developments were still taking place. The project was not kickstarted by a huge investment but, at least, it secured a free platform and ongoing zero costs. It will however take a little longer for the platform to become well known as with no profit structure it is the good heart of the volunteers that promotes the project.
The vast majority of all donations come from the USA, UK and Australia where crowdfunding is more common. The introduction of the SanctisFundMe Christian crowdfunding platform certainly has an appeal. Especially to those who are finding a Christian alternative to GoFundMe. Those who are horrified by campaigns such as the GoFundMe Trump wall and especially the cases of discrimination against Christians.
Hope for the future with a vision of the present
Asking for money, especially at these unprecedented times of crisis is always a challenge. However each Christian community must hold strong and become the light for the world, overcoming the sense of inferiority that at times has suffocated them. A Christian is person of the here and now (hic et nunc) who doesn't just look at the future but tries to make a difference every day.
For too long, Christian faith in particular has been viewed as a personal esperience with no effect on society. Too many Christians lightheartedly think their faith does not affect their lives. They live their faith as an emotional experience in the silence of their existence. Nothing could be more wrong and distant from the teachings of Jesus.
With all his or her limitations, trials and tribulations, a Christian must rediscover an active role in society. It cannot be marginal, it must be built around prayer and action. These two elements are closely intertwined and should never be separated. How can all this be reconciliated with the desire to make charitable donations. It can be reconciled with modern systems such as crowdfunding sites, where many people in need can be helped. But it should not be done on any platform, for the reason explained. SanctisFundMe is the de facto Christian Funraising platform that embraces al Christian values in its statutory mission.
SanctisFundMe is a Charity
Especially as SanctisFundMe is the first platform to be rund as a charity. It is the first to be commission free for individuals but also other charities, foundations, religious institutions and missions. SanctisFundMe strives to even rid the beneficiary from banking costs. SanctisFundMe is the first true and effective Christian GoFundMe alternative.
SanctisFundMe is a Christian crowdfuding site open to all. All that need to ask for help, all that need almsgiving for their penance. It is a transparent and efficient cost free platform that creates opportunity, freedom and beauty in a world that so much needs it.