DIA-Fund stands for Diasporas in America (Charity) Fund. It is a mobile platform to create a circle of giving that involves members of the Diaspora in the U.S., Diaspora Organizations in the U.S. and vetted organizations in developing countries.
There is no doubt that crowdfunding has changed the way many non-profits raise funds. We think this is a great thing especially for smaller non-profits, however with so much funding still going to U.S.-based organizations that claim to be advancing the interests of developing countries interest.
DIA-Fund believes developing countries and communities understand their environment and are best placed to serve as the lead implementers of development programs in their own countries. Throughout the various years we have professionally mobilizing over $20 million dollars for development projects in sub-Saharan Africa, what we have realized from that experience is home-grown entities are often do not receive the dollars needed to serve their own communities. We in the Diaspora have the spending power to change the tide on the development in our home countries. Home-grown entities deserve our knowledge and time through volunteer opportunities and our financial support. At DIA-Fund we want to make this process safe and easy to use for the foreign charities and for our Diaspora organizations here in the U.S.
At DIA-Fund we believe in transparent giving. Crowdfunding platforms charge fees both to process the transaction from a payment processor and to maintain their technology. We do not believe in hiding fees. We seek to make our fees as straight forward as possible. We charge a pass through of our payment processing fee and we charge a DIA-Fund platform fee, which allows us to maintain a secure platform and provides us with the funding to verify non-profits both in the United States and around the world.
DIA-Fund has a two-step vetting process that begins with collecting and reviewing documentation from every organization, including its legal documents, financial records, program materials, and lists of senior staff and board members, in order to validate the organization’s incorporation, governance and program existence as consistent with international standards of accountability. We also evaluate the organization’s capacity to implement activities, and communicate about its work, and we research the organization’s relationship with previous funders. Finally, we ensure that the organization is compliant with anti-terror guidelines and international guidelines for philanthropy.
Our second step is a site visit by our international audit team to validate in person the program success.
1. DIA-Fund has a two-tiered ranking system. First, grading is based on the answers within the application process.
For passing organizations, the system should provide a summary of their scores so DIA-Fund can use this to determine areas where capacity building may be required.
DIA-Fund’s approach is designed to measure the transparency, absorption capacity, fiscal responsibility and project objectives of local NGOs. Many international NGOs operating in developing countries publicly showcase their operations, accountability, and transparency to procure funding they are based in the U.S. often with high overhead rates and will little or no skin-in-the game for the communities where they are operating; local NGOs, however, may aspire to be accountable and transparent, but many lack the means or expertise to communicate these goals and promote themselves. Thus the questionnaire has two aims: to give NGOs a chance to demonstrate accountability and transparency and to tease out information linked to what we call our four key pillars.
Our research and evaluation processes are specially designed to process public information to ensure that the rankings do not misrepresent the full nonprofit sector. In partiular, many of these local organizations are being ranked for the first time and will continue to grow in ranking, individuals served and program delivery.
The four key pillars upon which we focus our vetting are:
We use the term “project impact” to indicate a NGO’s outputs, outcomes and results that lead to achieving their mission and how this transforms the lives of its beneficiaries. Because we are evaluating community-based non-profits many of which do not have standardized reporting agencies, DIA-Fund has designed an algorithm to independently evaluate an organization’s impact, we require local registration as legal status and stress test their financial health, board involvement and good standing within the community the organization serves, we also pay attention to how the organization demonstrates its efforts in its reports. In the U.S. this amounts to an equivalence valuation.
Because each of these pillars are crucial international standards of non-profit efficiency and health we make them core foundations for our evaluation process. We score organizations based on their performance in 165 criteria, as explained in detail below in “Our scoring and ranking procedure.” Each criterion falls into one or more of these pillars of interest.
Our scoring algorithm has been built into our application process and verified by internal evaluations in-country, the four main pillars of interest are weighted in the ranking process and evaluated on the fair and independent review of information gathered through the application and the in-country audit.
The scoring procedure uses the following numerical scales:
The maximum score is 1400 points. An organization’s total score can be increased or reduced by penalties:
The simplified numerical scales have minimized the risk of subjective inconsistencies in scoring. In order to obtain a final ranking, we create an overall index score that has a scoring range sufficient for allocating different ranks to all other entities in their same cause category. Each organization receives an aggregated overall score on a numerical scale from 1 to 1400 to minimize the risk of attributing the same rank to any two NGOs.