Cash Grants: A Human-Centered Approach to Improving Economic Resiliency.
Mon 10 May 2021
When crises hit, cash relief funds are a part of the package of policies that governments deploy to ameliorate their economic effects. Whether it’s about economic downturns or natural disasters, countries have used cash extensively. Research shows that when cash relief funds are well directed, they can save lives and, if the programs are designed well, they can have positive lasting outcomes for people.
But there is more to it. More recently, it has become clear that cash transfer programs can have a larger impact on society. In the United States, a dollar’s worth of SNAP, a quasi-cash scheme, leads to $1.79 in economic gains. And even amid the EU’s recession a decade ago, every cash euro generated 85 euro cents in economic activity.
The question is: Could cash transfers help offset some of the economic damage being brought by COVID-19? It’s not a hypothetical question. In responding to the novel coronavirus, countries like the U.K., Malaysia, and China are anticipating, expanding, and increasing payments of their flagship cash programs. Because of the universal nature of the virus, some countries are considering universal transfers. These include providing cash to everyone with no strings attached, namely universal basic income (UBI) — the subject of our new book. For this to really work, charitable organizations and other private sector actors have to get involved.
However, charitable organizations and other entities face challenges in managing, raising, and supporting beneficiaries in their communities.
Four groups of issues/challenges need to be addressed:
How do charitable organizations engage more with their donors to raise more funds and sustain their programs? These specific challenges include (i) the absence of an all established donor base,(ii) lack of access to low-cost fundraising software technology.
How should beneficiaries be identified and enrolled? The specific challenges include (i) the absence of a defined database of intended beneficiaries;
How should cash transfers be made to reach the beneficiaries in a timely and secure manner? The specific challenges resulting from: (i) the potentially large number of intended beneficiaries who do not have bank accounts and for whom electronic direct deposits are not possible;
How should the payments be recorded in the budget, controlled, and reported? Challenges include: (i) slow and complex procedures for incorporating spending on cash transfers in the budget; (ii) the need for streamlining budget execution and treasury processes (iii) finding the right balance between making payments efficiently and transparently while complying with relevant laws and regulations; and (iv) the need for enhancing the reporting of cash transfers to the public, and other development partners, and other stakeholders.
True Given’s Approach
We used a human-centered design to create a holistic solution that addresses multiple problem areas. Our innovation is a suite of tools for charitable organizations to raise, manage, and disburse cash direct payments.
Designed for non-profits, small or large, community organizations, government agencies, and foundations, True Given provides a platform for organizations to seamlessly and quickly provide small, emergency grants in the form of cash/direct deposit to individuals and communities in need of relief.
We believe three components are essential in reinforcing a culture of giving: inclusion, accessibility, and efficiency. And we have built these components into our solution.
Our platform provides crowdfunding tools for organizations to raise and sustain their cash relief programs. Our specific focus is on how our platform supports organizations and individuals supporting Women and People of Color (BIPOC). Our UX design allows organizations to display the organization's location, cause, mission, and beneficiaries. This makes it easy for donors to identify organizations they might want to support efficiently. We have also intentionally created branded pages for organizations to facilitate engagement between supporters and beneficiaries with the capabilities to post events and share helpful resources.
Our solution is innovative for the following reasons:
The platform enables donors to identify and decide which organizations to give to easily.
Our card sorting system also shows vital information about organizations that increases trust in the charity donation process.
We have also enabled crowdfunding capabilities for all organizations. This is especially important for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and female-led organizations that need a low-cost digital space to receive donations and support their community.
Each organization’s organization page is designed to facilitate engagement and enable social sharing, which is noticed among younger donors.
All carefully thought-out components that we have combined to make the solution very innovative.