Online Fundraising Gains Popularity and Delivers Results for Phare Ponleu Selpak Posted on: June 21, 2017 Tags: Democracy & Governance, Education, Funding, Social Enterprise អត្ថបទនេះមានជាភាសា៖ ខ្មែរ By Socheata VINH Communications Assistant Development Innovations Many Cambodian civil society organizations are dedicated to identifying and solving problems for people at the grassroots level. In addition to commitment and effort, financial support is vital to sustain their work and help them deliver the best programming. As donors’ budgets decrease in Cambodia, funding is one of the top challenges for civic projects and civil society organizations in 2017. Based in Battambang province, Phare Ponleu Selpak is a non-profit association that helps children and families who are vulnerable to socio-economic challenges like domestic violence, drug abuse, and human trafficking. The organization provides art training, vocational training, education and social support. This non-profit is a part of the larger Phare family, which includes Phare, The Cambodian Circus and Phare Creative Studios, an animation and video studio. The Cambodian Circus is well known for creative, dynamic acrobatic and dramatic performances, and provides jobs for many Cambodians. The Creative Studio also provides a place where people can get creative jobs to design new video and animated content. As they witnessed budgets for civic projects shrinking, Phare Ponleu Selpak was interested in using new means to raise money for their programming. In 2016, Phare discovered TOSFund, a non-profit online fundraising, or crowdfunding website, and decided to campaign for funds through this Cambodia-specific platform. TOSFund is operated by a local civil society organization, Action IEC, and a set of local partners, and received start-up support from USAID’s Development Innovations. Partnered with Cellcard, one of the biggest local telecom companies, and ACLEDA, the biggest local bank, TOSFund has helped digitize more than $22,000 in donations in Cambodia. In the late 2016, Phare created a campaign on TOSFund to support their Meals for Young Students project, a program that aims to provide the most vulnerable students with nutritious lunch, school supplies and stipends. “We would like to come to our amazing friends and supporters around the world to happily tell them that ‘Cambodians do help Cambodians.’ Look! Students, rank and file employees, people who do not own a credit card, they all participated in our ‘Meal Campaign Fundraising’ because they care. They can be empowered to take action thanks to TOSFund’s Khmer language functionality and other means of donating in addition to credit cards,” Mr. Dara, Chief Executive of Phare Performing Social Enterprise Co., Ltd, said. He is delighted to see how TOSFund can help organizations connect to new funding resources, and mobilize more Cambodians with the Khmer-language interface. In 30 days, Phare Ponleu Selpak raised $9,741. They received donations from 52 backers, a strong result based on the use of the Cambodia-specific platform, and their push to reach out to their network to use this new tool to support Phare’s work. They attribute some of the success to the fact they wrote a personal appeal letter to their direct network of friends and Phare-lovers, and promoted it heavily on social media. Mr. Dara shared his secret behind the success of this campaign, saying, “There is one very important question. Would I, my friend and friends of my friends, donate to this cause? Why? And why now? If they answer is yes, then go ahead to launch your campaign. If you are not very sure or if you can’t answer the question with strong convictions, then you still have work to do to tweak your campaign before appealing to donors.” TOSFund can provide help to individuals or organizations in shaping and refining their ideas into attractive fundraising campaigns. There are three categories of projects that TOSFund accepts: social causes, business and IT, and film and art. Check it out now to see if it is right for your organization!