Money: Fundraising For A Cause? Try M-Changa


Finance is an integral component of our lives. At one point in time, we might have be in a dire situation where our finances become too little to save the day. It is at this point when we rely on our friends, family and well-wishers to save help us out. These people come up with ‘chama’ which basically resonates to raising money from a large population of the people. This is a special type of crowdfunding technique referred as Donation-based Crowdfunding.

One might think that crowdfunding is a fancy word of referring to our traditional ‘Harambee’ but no. The purpose of both are obviously the same. Crowdfunding works very closely to how traditional Harambees work, the sequence involved—how the treasurers are appointed, how contributors are informed about the progress. In Harambee however, there is a margin of error that lies in the physical transactions and for this reason, technology has risen up to the challenge.

M-changa is a mobile SMS based platform that allows a fundraiser to start and manage a fundraiser from beginning to end all over SMS in a more efficient manner than ever before.  M-Changa provides a cheap method of collecting funds through mobile money, and for the diaspora, contributors provide a transparent and cheap method of remitting cash to specific causes, with transparency at all stages of the fundraiser. And on top of this, the process of starting and managing a fundraiser on M-Changa closely matches the processes of running traditional fundraisers.

“M-Changa competes with traditional fundraising, crowdfunding and mobile money services. Traditional fundraising is an increasingly high-cost and high hassle option, relying on face-to-face meetings, while not tapping full social networks. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, is accessible only to those with internet and banking access and doesn’t focus on social or community oriented causes like weddings. While mobile money services alone are often more of a workaround than a fundraising tool, M-Changa provides quick, easy and cheap fundraising to everyone. It’s the only product combining mobile money with SMS functionality, to automate large-scale fundraising.”—VC4A; Fundraising: M-changa, Kenya’s successful Mobile Money Crowdfunding Platform

Mobile payments last year hit KSh. 2.71 trillion, a 10.16% rise over Ksh. 2.46 trillion the year before according to CBK Datasheet on Mobile Payments. This makes it easier for one to use mobile payments in performing transactions, thus the overriding need for having transparency in this giving.

So how does M-changa work?

For starters, you need a phone with SMS capabilities and a Mobile Money A/C (Mpesa, Airtel Money, Equitel, Telkom Money, MobiKash, and Tangaza). One needs to send a message to 22231 with the name of the fundraiser as the subject. (Example: Hospital Bill Fund, Mambo Business Fund etc.). Afterwards, you’ll enter your personal and fundraiser details, then invite your supporters to send money by sharing the number. For those who wish to go digital, you’ll go to M-changa website, register an account, input your personal and fundraiser details then invite your supporters. It’s as easy as that.

Management of Funds

Funds are stored securely by M-Changa until the fundraiser wishes to withdraw. Withdrawals can be requested at any time during the fundraiser and will usually be processed during the next working day. One can keep track of the amount of money that has been raised in the Web Portal “Summary” or via the share page. You can also download a list of payments including the donor’s name, phone number/email, the total given and payment channel used.

Withdrawal of Funds

When you set up the fundraiser, the Support Team will ask where you’d like the funds to be deposited. Funds can be sent to a bank (recommended) or mobile wallet. It is advisable to direct the funds to the source e.g. a school fundraiser can pay the school directly. All treasurers will receive an SMS when there is an attempt to withdraw funds, they must respond via SMS to accept the withdrawal.

No stress, no hustle as in the case of organising a Harambee. Advantages of this system are:

  • It can be a fast way to raise finance without any upfront fees
  • Your specific trustees/treasurers/investors can track your progress over the platform

This video explains it better.

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