The internet and technology revolutions have empowered millions of people worldwide by building invisible connectors between humans. With mobile devices becoming cheaper and more and more widely available, even in rural parts of the developing world, an increasing body of people have access to influential networks and their owners, which they can tap into for professional, personal, and social collaborations of all descriptions. Improved connectivity has, most of all, enabled people to ask for help in times of dire need, not just from local leaders in philanthropy, but also from those participating in charitable enterprises across the world. What the internet has effectively done is to erase borders between communities, as well as those separating classes of haves and have-nots.
With the world becoming a village where everyone knows everyone else by five degrees of social separation at the most, participating in philanthropic endeavors has also become simpler than ever before. With the advent of new age fundraising mechanisms like online crowdfunding, an organization based in one geography can easily raise funds online from neighboring and faraway regions. This is exactly what the TheikKhar Myanmar Institute (TKMI) has done. They have started a fundraiser on Indian crowdfunding giant Impact Guru’s platform to buy a seven acre plot of land to build school rooms and dormitories for their students in the open countryside, where sustainable methods of living can be practiced more wholesomely and inculcated into students.
The TKMI school year is divided up into three terms: the Academic, the Creative, and the Spiritual. This year, they are sending their sixth cohort of students out into the world. The TKMI focus is on training their students to solve problems creatively, and with an eye on sustainable development for their communities. TKMI alumni have shone in their chosen fields consistently, as doctors, lawyers, and advocates for social causes.
The TKMI crowdfunding campaign on Impact Guru has been a stunning success, with INR 903,221 raised by 66 donors in under four months. This is 73% higher than their original target. They had initially wanted to build five classrooms, two dormitories, plant two gardens, create spaces for outdoor discussion, have a football field, and develop a green zone with a myriad plants and trees. TKMI has offered great transparency to donors, going public with the budget for building each room.
They have also devised a plan for rewarding donors, promising to send out thank you-notes, ethnic bags, and traditional Myanmarese clothing to the most generous contributors. This donor-centric approach is one of the reasons for the success of this campaign in the crowdfunding space, in addition to their telling their story well in words and images.