One of Ghana’s leading digital finance solutions firms, IT Consortium has introduced a new app called Chango, which is a crowdfunding platform that enables individual and organizations to create private or public groups to raise funds towards a predetermined campaign.
The app, which is yet to be launched officially, is already available on the Google Play Store and Apple Store, and it is free to use, unlike some other crowdfunding platforms on which users have to pay a fee.
Chango currently has about 2,000 active users, and there are almost 700 private groups and 13 public groups already using the platform for fundraisers. Two key public fundraisers on the app right now are one for victims of the recent Keta-Ketu South-Anglo tidal waves, as well as one for the Korle Bu Cardiothoracic Center.
The Cardio fundraiser, dubbed ‘Save a Hear’, is a collaboration between the center and IT Consortium to raise a million people to regularly support children with hole in heart. “The goal is to remove the funding barrier to anyone seeking hole in heart surgery,” CEO of IT Consortium, Romeo Bugyei said.
In addition to those two major public fundraisers, there are a good number of old-school groups, social clubs, hospitals, churches, and NGOs using the platforms to raise funds within both private and public groups.
Private groups are groups created and managed by any person on the Chango app, while public groups are groups created by a corporate institution that is duly registered and has a registered bank account in a commercial bank. According to Mr. Bugyei, the public group feature is mainly targeted at governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Chango offers a collective point/avenue to put funds together using either mobile money and bank cards.
According to Mr. Bugyei, for private groups, each individual is allowed to contribute up to GH¢2,000 per day, while for a public fundraiser, each person can contribute as high as GH¢20,000 per day. Unlike mobile money, which has limitations on how much a wallet can hold, depending of the status of the wallet, Chango does not place any limitations on how much one fundraising campaign can raise, and all the money donated goes into a bank account.
It also has a feature allows funds to be cashed out with just a few steps. The cashout
recipient can be categorized into ‘Self’, ‘Member’ and ‘Non-member’ of the group, and cashout can be received via either mobile money or bank account.
The app also allows a member of a group to borrow funds from the group just like it’s done in the traditional susu settings. However, this request has to be approved by the loan
approvers of the group before the funds are released. And funds borrowed can be repaid by contributing to the group or campaign from which the funds was borrowed.
It also has a voting system, where group members are able vote to agree or disagree with the management or use of the group funds. There is a Group Chat feature which enables group members to hold discussions within the app, without needing another messaging app to facilitate communications. The app provides group and personal statement of account to enable proper monitoring of fund and easy reconciliation of records.
According to IT Consortium, Chango is designed with capabilities to enable a wide range of users to create enclosed groups to make contributions for any predetermined cause.
The categories of groups that will find Chango useful include Alumni or old school groups for collecting dues, or raising funds for celebrations, parties or even for a project; families can also use to contribute funds to pay school fees, child support, organize funerals among other things.
Work or school colleagues can also use it for donating to colleagues during weddings, funerals, child birth, etc; churches can also use to for offering, tithe and dues collection; whole associations/cooperatives can also find it useful for dues collection and susu groups also use it for savings among other things.
Meanwhile, some categories of users like NGOs, support groups, alumni or old school groups, government organizations like NADMO and churches, can also create public groups, which are open to every user to contribute to a cause. They do not have to limit contribution to a few group members like in a case of private groups.
Advantages over similar platforms
For one, Chango is free to use and a management portal is assign to all public groups to manage their own fundraising activities. The chat feature within the Chango app gives users the convenience to hold discussions and the voting and personal statement feature creates transparency because it provides clear records of contributions and cashout transactions. “Every activity of a user is clearly stated along with a timestamp,” Mr. Bugyei added.
The app also assures users of security because all card and other payment details are encrypted.
Mr. Bugyei emphasized that Chango “employs the 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which is one of the strongest encryption technologies most commonly used by large-scale online merchants, banks, and brokerages worldwide. All online sessions are protected by up to 128-bit encryption, which best protects your information against disclosure to third parties.”
Chango is currently only internet based, and can be used in any country, but cashout can only be made in Ghana and Kenya for now.