Frequently asked questions


Why is MAD a social business and not a non-profit organisation?

We made a conscious effort to create a social business and not a non-profit organisation. Given our mission, we believe the social business model is more sustainable and scalable than traditional charity and non-profit models.


How does MAD remain sustainable?

We charge our nonprofit partners a small 10% post fundraising fee on the total funds raised. This affordable 10% fee helps us stay sustainable. For example, if MAD raises USD 1,000 for an nonprofit partner, the nonprofit partner will pay MAD USD 100 for its services after it has received the USD 1,000 through our crowd-funding platform.


What happens to any profit MAD makes?

Any profits MAD makes is reinvested into the business to help us reach out to more nonprofit partners and more fundraisers.


Why charge non-profit partners a 10% post fundraising fee?

This money goes the operational cost of MAD which includes basic salaries, overheads and project monitoring costs. It is a necessary source of revenue to help sustain our business and keep us operational. We do not charge our nonprofit partners an up front fee to participate in MAD and the 10% fee is only charged when we hit our fundraising target. We are careful to explain the fee to all prospective partners therefore donors and fundraisers can be assured a nonprofit partner on our website is a partner who has calculated that MAD is worth the 10% fee.


Does this 10% post fundraising fee model work for all nonprofits?

We are aware that every nonprofit organisation is different and MAD is not a one fit all solution. MAD does not work with nonprofit organisations who have staff dedicated to donor management and fundraising or with organisations who do not like to accept project specific funding. Our value proposition adds value to small nonprofits with a great track record but who struggle to raise money efficiently.


Why not charge partners a flat fee instead of a percentage?

All projects have a certain amount of fixed overhead costs associated with our rigorous due diligence process, vetting and setup of online fundraisers, regardless of the size of the project. We want to be able to help those most in need and not just non-profits implementing large projects.

By using this model, we ensure that even the smallest non-profit can have a risk-free fundraising campaign. While it may sound high, 10% is barely enough to cover our costs. We stay operational by running social change related workshops and through personal funding from our co-founders. We aim to keep our team small and efficient as we are working on scaling our operation through productivity and process enhancements rather than on more salaries. Having said that, when we do hire short term employees, MAD firmly believes in remunerating its team members fairly to ensure it always attracts top talent in its mission to reduce global poverty. 


Is MAD just another online platform for nonprofits to collect donations?

Absolutely not! We are a platform for people to fundraise for projects they are passionate about and we empower people to get involved in implementing these projects.


How does MAD aim to reduce poverty in the world?

We aim to reduce poverty by addressing the specific social problems that make and keep people poor (commonly referred to as the Millennium Development Goals). Our impact will focus on essentials like food, water, sanitation, healthcare, education and access to credit.


Do I have to go on the MAD trip?

Nope! There are 2 ways people can participate in a MAD Experience. One, they can simply crowd fundraise for the cost of the project they would like to support. Two, they can crowd fundraise and volunteer to implement the project.


Why is there a need for MAD? What makes MAD different?

MAD is a platform for regular people to fund and implement international poverty alleviation projects. We’ve essentially taken the ‘adopt a child’ model used by large nonprofits and applied it to every other poverty project that needs attention. MAD empowers people to ‘adopt’ preschools, water wells, food programs and other projects. Despite the growing popularity of crowd-funding and voluntourism, no one has offered an integrated online platform like MAD where volunteers can take ownership for the project they would like to support, receive customised support to start an online crowd fundraising campaign and then be given the opportunity to volunteer at the project site.  Small local nonprofits will no longer have to wait for funding from large international nonprofits. Instead, they will be able to depend on the general public as a channel for risk free fundraising.


What happens to the money I donate or fundraise?

100% of the money fundraised through MAD goes directly to our nonprofit partner via our Simply Giving crowd funding platform. Therefore the funds go right from the donor straight to the nonprofit partner. MAD does not touch the money that is fundraised as Simply Giving transfers it directly to the nonprofit partner. The nonprofit partner then pays MAD a 10% post fundraising fee.


How does MAD select projects?

We select projects that will have a significant impact on reducing poverty, reach those who are most in need, are cost-effective, benefits a large number of people and most importantly, projects which are sustainable and scalable. Our goal is to have long-term partnerships with our nonprofit partners to help them reach more and more people in need.


How does MAD decide which NGOs to partner with?

We partner with credible not-for-profits which have an impressive track record, have successfully implemented similar projects in the past and are able to design a meaningful MAD experience for our fundraisers. If it is our first time working with the nonprofit partner, we conduct comprehensive due diligence which involves a project site visit and a visit to the nonprofit’s office.


What is your due diligence process for your nonprofit partners?

Besides project site visits and meeting the non-profit partners personally, MAD requires all potential partners to submit a project proposal (detailing project objective/justification, cost, implementation plan and intended beneficiaries), annual and financial reports for the past 2 years and contact details of a list of partners/funders/organisations which have worked or are working with the non-profit partner so that the MAD team can get in touch with them personally to understand the nature of their relationship and their experience working with the non-profit partner. Of course we take into account the partner’s track record and general credibility before making a decision. This process is separate from the process of qualifying a project. See ‘How does Mad select projects’ above.


Why go through MAD and not directly give money to the nonprofit partner?

If it is a one-time donation, go for it! But if you want to raise a large amount of money in a short amount of time and be involved in implementing the project, we believe MAD is the best platform to reach more people quickly and effectively.


How long does it take to set up a campaign?

Setting up a campaign shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes. We’ll provide you with plenty of advice and tutorials on this once you’ve registered.


How long does the fundraising campaign run for?

Each campaign will have a different duration and this will depend on when exactly the funds are needed by our nonprofit partner to implement the project. Each campaign will run for no less than 1 month.


What happens after I hit my fundraising target?

Once you’ve hit your minimum target you’ll qualify to go on a MAD Experience. If you hit your target early, we suggest that you go into your admin panel on SimplyGiving to increase your target. We’ll teach you how to do this!


What happens if I don’t hit my fundraising target?

Every campaign has a minimum fundraising target that qualifies you to go on a MAD Experience. If you do not hit this minimum target by the deadline, you can still go on the trip and continue to fundraise after your MAD Experience trip.


What happens on a MAD trip?

During your MAD trip, you will be given the opportunity to visit the project you fundraised for and help the nonprofit partner implement the project by volunteering. A MAD trip is not a guided tour of a city. While we do provide support, we expect our fundraisers to be independent adventure hungry individuals!


How long is a MAD trip?

Our current MAD trip to Cambodia is 4 days long. You always have the option to stay on longer if you wish. 


Do donors get tax receipts?

Since donations go directly to our local partners, this depends largely on whether our local nonprofit partner is able to issue tax exempt receipts. Do note that tax exempt receipts in the local country may not be applicable to your home country.


Other than fundraising, how can I get involved with MAD?

We are always looking for more ways to connect people to causes! Spread the word about MAD to your friends and family, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to be kept updated. If you’re looking for an out of the box work experience, apply for an internship with us. Or if you can afford it, invest in us or give us a grant!


Is Make A Difference (MAD) and Water and Toilets (WNT) the same thing?

MAD was formerly known as WNT. Both MAD and WNT are founded and run by the same people. We decided to change WNT’s name to MAD to reflect the our pivot from focusing solely on water and sanitation projects to offering experiences that allow everyday people to fundraise and help all sorts of projects which help reduce poverty.