Uganda gets community fundraising platform for COVID-19

The Dolphin Fund was found to be simple, efficient and easy to use. It allows individuals, groups and organisations to register their cause through the website
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A Ugandan Innovator, Dickson Mushabe has launched Dolphin Fund, a community-driven fundraising platform that has immediately started helping Ugandans to fundraise from friends and well-wishers all over the world.

The platform comes at a time when the whole world is facing an unending crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic which has ruined the world’s economy with uncountable threats.

In a bid to contribute to the deteriorating human lives and other aspects of life due to COVID-19, Mushabe found an opportunity on how he could contribute to the cause even when his movements were confined. 

Dickson Mushabe is the Founder and CEO of Hostalite, one of the leading Web Hosting, Design and Software Development Companies in Uganda, East Africa.

“Of course, since I am not a doctor or any other sort of medical professional, I was not going to be much of use in a hospital but I still believed that there was something that I could contribute even while my movements were confined,”  he said in an interview held with our reporter.

“I had toyed around with some ideas but it was only after the sudden announcement of the lockdown that something clicked. I knew that many people would be caught off guard with the suspension of their businesses and means of livelihood. It was clear to me that the financial stress and uncertainty was going to be a major problem,” he added.

The prevailing pandemic has seriously caused a financial crisis at all human levels globally; affecting trade, education and other sectors.

This pushed the innovator to build a platform which is already helping Ugandans to fundraise digitally and seamlessly receive donations from their friends nationally and in the diaspora.

Some people are willing to donate but they don’t know who to donate to while those who need donations haven’t got a common platform where they can register their need.

Mushabe’s platform is likely to have taken away this worry most especially in Africa.

When analysed, the Dolphin Fund was found to be simple, efficient and easy to use. It allows individuals, groups and organisations to register their cause through the website.

some of the on-going campaigns

The platform allows you to create a campaign, set your fundraising goal, tell your story, and add a picture or video and then publish in the system in a very short time.

When asked what happens after one creates a campaign, Dickson revealed that every campaign that is created has to undergo diligence and a verification process.

After this, campaigns that fulfil the criteria are published and ready to receive donations from all over the world.

What is so special with Dolphin Fund over other similar fundraising platforms? 

“A Dolphin Fund account is free to set up. Even if you do not meet your campaign target, you will not incur penalties as is the case on some other platforms,” Dickson told this website.

Dolphin Fund’s web page for creating an account and or signing in to create a campaign

“It’s a Ugandan product built with a deep understanding of the Ugandan ecosystem and dynamics. Donations are accepted in Ugandan shillings while still allowing people residing outside the country to also donate, “he added.

Dolphin Fund also allows someone to be able to create a campaign for someone else.

When it comes to donations and online related services, most people are curious about the charges which normally come along. This is true and it is the same question one would ask first before attempting to sign up for Dolphin Fund.

Well, the platform is availed free of charge and the all process of setting up your account and collecting your donations is free. However, a 5% management fee is collected only if one fundraises successfully.

This is not always the case with most of the donation’s platforms.

A donation can be done using Mobile Money and Visa Cards as well. Anybody can receive or send money in the comfort of their homes.

Is the Dolphin Fund for COVID-19 period only?

Things sometimes come for temporary reasons and thereafter stay forever.

The inspiration behind Dolphin Fund was to help those that have been affected by COVID-19. However, even after the lockdown ends, some people are likely to remain jobless for a while.

Small businesses may still find it difficult to immediately get work and may need a boost in the short to medium term.

“The platform will, therefore, be part of the ‘new normal’ and will remain operational,” Dickson confirmed to Cyclone Times.

As a social enterprise operating digitally, Dolphin Fund will enable individuals and communities to begin supporting each other right away since funds are exchanged without any need for physical contact between people. 

Is Dolphin Fund safe?

In a day to day aspect of online transactions, many people are always scared of carrying out e-payments due to many security threats involved. However, one needs to accept that this is the trend the economy is taking.

While analysing the platform with the developers’ team, Cyclone Times learnt that Dolphin Fund has opted for an internationally licensed and recognised online payments collection platform known as Flutterwave which is supporting e-transactions both in Africa and worldwide.

“Integrating Flutterwave payments security mechanisms with our platform will ensure that all users’ transactions are secure and safe,” the Lead Developer confirmed.

It’s possible that someone can create a fake group of people, claiming that they are vulnerable.

For this, the platform takes your campaign under a verification process first before it’s approved to collect donations.

In fact, when you post a campaign, it is not published instantly, there is some due diligence as well as verification done to eliminate fraud accounts.

How do you receive your donations from Dolphin Fund?

Even though other platforms are instant, others take between 2-3 working days to wire your money to a preferred bank, Dolphin Fund as of now requires 10 working days after the end of the campaign.

This is mainly to give a time allowance just in case there is any call for a refund from a donor.

However, this is under review to cutting down on the waiting period because some people may need the funds and would appreciate receiving the money as it is being raised.

Further, for matters of transparency, the campaign owner can see a transaction trail on the website clearly showing how much each person has given and this is in real-time.

The platform which was launched on Wednesday has so far had 10 campaigns set up, and 21 members creating accounts raising to Shs. 534,000 in donations to date.

This is a good gesture that Dolphin Fund will positively impact people’s lives as well as support the economy.

Dickson has called upon and encouraged as many people and organisations that need for funding to log onto the platform and create their compelling stories.

Finally, he emphasized honesty when describing your need and set the amount that you are looking to raise.

If you set an unnecessarily exorbitant amount, people will be less likely to help because they may feel that their contributions will not make a difference. 

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