The Global Open Challenge is GlobalGiving’s powerful idea of using the “wisdom of the crowd” to identify organizations worthy of being part of the GlobalGiving charitable giving community. Organizations that pass a rigorous due diligence process are given an opportunity to pitch a project in a month-long Global Open Challenge along with a cohort of other organizations. Those that secure over $4,000 from more than 50 people are “in” and can continue to use GlobalGiving for online fundraising. This is quite a trial of fire which takes immense courage and effort to win – I know this from experience, having won the Global Open Challenge on behalf of Kabissa last August, raising $5,085 from 85 donors that month.
As a Global Open Challenge survivor, I have of late been having trouble averting my eyes from the bottom of the Global Open Challenge Leaderboard, feeling embarrassment and sympathy for the dozens of projects that are unable to get support – many of them entering the challenge not for the first time. I am constantly reminded of their lack of progress via frequent, increasingly desperate pleas by email, Facebook and Twitter. My heart sinks every time I check. Even now I see three projects I am supporting with only 2-3 donations each, including mine. Right at the bottom of the Leaderboard.
Maybe I’m crazy, but to me the feeling is not dissimilar to what it feels like to approach the scene of an accident. Already from afar you see the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles, and as traffic inches forward it seems time has stood still and you can’t wait to get past it. Yet you also eagerly await your turn to pass the accident so you too can slow down to take in what happened. Afterwards you feel gratitude that it did not happen to you.
It might be hard to witness, but GlobalGiving’s process is effective. They are very successful in “surfacing” great organizations and getting them much needed support. Speaking from my personal experience, I even think Global Giving makes participating organizations better by giving them incentive and tools to be more accountable to their donors.
GlobalGiving donors are partners, not a cash machine, which is win-win all around. But it’s still painful to watch.