For a charity or an NGO, deciding the next campaign is a big step that involves complex planning and organisation. The nature and scale of the issues at hand dictate that nearly all decision-making is undertaken behind closed doors, far from public engagement.
Once a decision has been taken, organisations might send out petitions and questionnaires as a quick and easy way to involve supporters. However, this process merely serves to rubber stamp an already agreed upon plan of action, further distancing people from any meaningful engagement. Supporters cannot clearly understand the problem, nor the steps taken to arrive at the proposed solution. They feel distanced from the issues and less empowered to help.
CauseHub is a website and mobile app that enables charities to connect more openly with their supporters. Set up by Sanjay Poyzer, Jerome Toole and 15-year-old Jamie Davies, CauseHub takes the methodologies and planning processes that charities and campaigning organisations already use internally and redeploys them within a web-based environment. Inviting and enabling external users to then participate in decision making transforms the process; engaging with supporters, broadening the knowledge base and facilitating a clear understanding of both the problem and the solution.
Poyzer truly believes that providing online engagement tools such as this will fundamentally change the way charities work, for the better. But how did a young man qualified for a career in the music industry arrive at such an epiphany moment?
“I have always been interested in the not-for-profit sector and how it works, particularly ideas of how people can engage with social issues more effectively. Working as a web developer for the last few years, I have experienced many collaborative online tools for building software, such as GitHub, but nowhere is there an online platform to facilitate collaboration on social projects.”
The realisation that there is nowhere online that engages people working together to solve social issues was the genesis of the idea.
“Sure, we have Wikipedia, but it’s almost too factual. It doesn’t present the different sides to an argument, or what people’s actual opinions might be. That’s why we’re looking at new models to create in this space, models that provide for understanding in an completely unbiased way,” says Poyzer.
The company, which took part in the Bethnal Green Ventures accelerator, has been maintaining relationships with a number of charities throughout the development process. Amnesty International and FOE have been particularly engaged in the process whilst around a dozen other charities have expressed a keen interest.
Poyzer is now trying to create a buzz about what CauseHub are doing and build up the anticipation in preparation for the launch. There is nothing currently available that provides all of the tools that will be provided within the application. There have been forums before but nothing has really opened up this kind of environment, nothing that has ever provided a planning tool and an engagement tool in this format.
“My personal ambition? Well, it’s nothing short of wanting to solve real problems and make the world a bit better, really”, says Poyzer. “It’s an audacious goal, but if we can map out how people can work together, become collectively involved in solving bigger problems, then we make a better world together.”
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