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September 28, 2021



New Czech donation platform means individuals can now fundraise easily online

16.7.2020 8:31
Čestmír Horký (2020) (PHOTO: Jan Tichý)
Čestmír Horký (2020) (PHOTO: Jan Tichý)

Should you collect plastic bottlecaps to raise money for a cause, or do your giving in cash through physical collections boxes? Providing aid to people in difficulty can be done differently today, in a way that is much more clever.

Seven Czech crowns

Has it ever occurred to you how many plastic bottle caps you would have to collect to actually financially aid somebody through one of those fundrasing schemes? It takes 500 caps just to generate seven Czech crowns [0.26 EUR], and realistically speaking, given the price of gasoline, engaging in that activity could actually cost you more than you bargained for.

Fortunately, the field of charitable giving in the Czech Republic is making progress. Charity crowdfunding online is demonstrating great potential here.

At Karel Janeček's Endowment Fund (Nadační fondu pomoci Karla Janečka) we have just established a new donors' platform, znesnáze21, that facilitates the establishment, very quickly, of safe public collections for individuals and nonprofits. When I reflected on what was missing in our country in the field of donating, it was unequivocally the ability to respond quickly to sudden events such as traffic accidents, floods, or a death in the family.

I wanted to introduce an online tool where actually anybody could ask for aid in a difficult situation. In that respect, znesnáze21 is unique.

Collections on our platform can be set up by individuals, absolutely by themselves, which was not possible until now. There is no need to go anywhere to do this.

If you have Internet access at home, you can set up the collection in a matter of minutes - you do not have to establish a nonprofit organization and then run around to various authorities for their approval. All of the administration involved in running the collection, from managing the bank account and the payment portal, to the automated sending of confirmations of donations, to the final disbursal of money in the form of a contract for a contribution through our foundation, is dealt with by the team at znesnáze21.

We aid you during the process of setup, and our main role is then to thoroughly verify the truthfulness of your story. We have a copywriter, a lawyer, and social workers on our team.

This mix of professions makes it possible for us to take a comprehensive view of any collection effort. We always ask: Is a collection the appropriate way to raise money for this cause, or do other opportunities also exist?

We ask whether money will be the appropriate solution to the problem, and whether such aid will be effective and have a long-term impact. We also work with the collection organizer on any aspects requiring legal advice or social work counseling.

This is how donors know the problem in question actually happened and has been investigated, and they can donate easily by card or bank transfer - and naturally, receive official proof of their donation. Some of the collections organized through us have achieved their targets in just a couple of hours.

Solidarity has been demonstrated even during the pandemic. We have been in operation for about four months, and we have launched a hundred collections to which donors have contributed more than 12 million Czech crowns [EUR 450 000].

That fact says it all. Even though the people turning to us are in very difficult situations, with serious health problems and unimaginable suffering, when a collection reaches its goal, we then hear their gratitude, hope, and sense of happiness.

That is the motivation for us to continue to provide this aid. What kind of power does znesnáze21 wield?

In just eight hours we managed to raise CZK 200 000 [EUR 7 500] for a lifesaving Simeox machine for a young cystic fibrosis patient. Just one day was all it took to make it possible for a wheelchair user with a genetic disease to buy her own handbike, a special bicycle for the disabled.

People are also turning to us at the most difficult moments of their lives, namely, when they lose their loved ones. A family from the Ostrava area received support from hundreds of donors, raising more than CZK 500 000 [EUR 19 000] in 16 hours.

During the pandemic, two "collections in the millions" have been created so far that demonstrate how much Czech people can show solidarity with each other, including during times of crisis. For example, aid was given to retirement homes where we were able to distribute personal protective equipment.

Journalist Nora Fridrichová then organized a collection to aid single mothers that raised CZK 3.5 million [EUR 130 00]. We believe such altruism is inherent to each of us.

Such aid does not always necessarily have to be financial, either. Sometimes all it takes is to share the stories of our fighters on social media and add your message of support.

We also want our society to know that that it is normal to ask for aid, that there is nothing wrong with it. If you know of somebody who has gotten into a difficult life situation and you believe such a collection is the correct solution, just go to - it takes just a moment.

Five reasons we created znesnáze21

Prior to this, only legal entities could establish public fundraising collections, and the entire process lasted weeks or even months. We have simplified that setup process, reduced it to just minutes, and opened it up to individuals.

The people who are currently establishing such collections through Facebook are usually unaware that they must pay 15 % tax on the money raised there. Our foundation is not subject to such tax, and each donor giving through us receives a confirmation of their donation that will be recognized by the tax authorities.

It is always difficult to know whether a collection advertised through the Internet is genuine or not. With znesnáze21, however, you don't have to worry about that.

Each collection is carefully verified, not just in terms of the facts of the situation, but also in terms of expertise. Public fundraising collections in the 21st century should not be happening on the street.

The collecting of plastic bottlecaps is one of the most fatuous things I have ever seen in the field of charitable giving. Can you imagine how long it would take you to accumulate 500 of them?

That's how many bottlecaps are in 1 kilogram - and for that, you raise just 7 crowns. It would be better to support a public collection by donating CZK 100 to it directly - you will save yourself, and the person who needs the money, the work involved in sorting and packing together the caps.

Čestmír Horký is the co-founder of znesnáze21. First published in Czech in Romano voďi magazine.

Čestmír Horký, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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