Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about WideAwake.org? Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about our organization. If your question is not answered below, feel free to contact us.

Click on the questions below to expand and reveal answers.

About WideAwake.org.

What is WideAwake.org?

WideAwake.org is a fresh approach to online giving. We offer ordinary people the unique opportunity to find and support small but effective grassroots charities in developing countries. WideAwake.org is the online space where people can learn about these organizations and support them through a gift of their time, funding, or by spreading the word. We choose to work with Aid Workers whose work has a profound impact on those it serves. We also encourage donors to be proactive in their support, by allowing them to choose which organizations or specific projects they wish to fund. Thank you video updates from the field allow givers to see the effect of their gift first-hand. Learn more about How it Works

What is the organization’s mission?

The mission of WideAwake.org is to enhance the quality of life for those in need by aiding and assisting worthy grassroots charities in the developing world.

How did WideAwake.org get started?

WideAwake.org was founded by a group of lawyers, business professionals, and charitable workers who wished for a safe way to find and support small but effective overseas organizations. Our founders believed that that the lack of accountability in many international aid programs had caused many willing donors to withhold their funding for fear that the money would be lost in high administrative costs or even stolen along the way. In addition, our founders were frustrated by the lack of control and futility they felt when giving to large but more trustworthy charities; they felt that others would also appreciate the ability to choose where their gifts should go and to see and feel the impact of their support.

Does WideAwake.org deduct a fee from my donation?

Unlike other giving organizations that can take 10-30% of a donation in fees, WideAwake.org promises that Every Penny of your gift will reach an Aid Worker in need. We will never deduct any amount to pay for our own expenses. Learn more about our Every Penny Policy

How does WideAwake.org pay for its operating expenses? Can I help with a donation?

WideAwake.org funds its operations through the support of generous individuals, corporations, and people like you who are impressed by our transparent, direct approach to international giving and who appreciate that we keep our Every Penny promise by maintaining low overhead expenses and employing an all-volunteer management team. If you too would like to facilitate our efforts to find and support exceptional Aid Worker organizations, create an innovative online space where people can connect and give, and do so transparently and without hidden fees or deductions, you can make a donation to the WideAwake.org Operations Fund.

What are WideAwake.org’s operating expenses?

WideAwake.org does not pay or otherwise compensate any member of its board, executive team, or staff. Everyone who works with WideAwake.org does so on a volunteer basis because they feel passionately committed to our mission of supporting grassroots efforts to alleviate suffering in impoverished places around the world. WideAwake.org partners with Aid Workers that do more with less, and we expect the same standards of efficiency from ourselves. We take care to maintain very low overhead by utilizing cost-saving technology and by leveraging a small army of dedicated volunteers. As part of our Transparency Policy, WideAwake.org’s financial statements and other documents are made publically available on our site. You can support WideAwake.org by making a donation to our Operations Fund.

Are my donations tax-deductable in the U.S.?

Yes, WideAwake.org is a non-profit organization registered under Section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code. Donations collected through our site are received by WideAwake.org, which in turns makes grants to our various Aid Workers that remain in good standing with our organization. As required by the IRS, WideAwake.org maintains exclusive legal control over all donations.

Does WideAwake.org have a religious affiliation?

No, WideAwake.org is not affiliated with any religious faith or institution. In fact, our supporters come from a diverse background of religious and non-religious beliefs. WideAwake.org neither requires nor prohibits a faith-based charity of any religion from becoming a WideAwake.org Aid Worker/Partner, provided that religion is not the organization’s primary activity. For example, an organization that requires religious participation from its constituents in order to receive services would not meet our standards for the Aid Worker relationship. However, an Aid Worker Organization may, for example, include voluntary worship services or spiritual counselling in addition to its other charitable programs. You can search for Aid Workers that do or do not have religious programs on our search form.

About our Aid Workers and their Projects.

What are WideAwake.org Aid Worker Organizations?

WideAwake.org Aid Worker Organizations are grassroots charitable organizations working in various areas throughout the developing world.

How does WideAwake.org select its Aid Worker Organizations?

WideAwake.org finds Aid Worker Organizations through a number of channels. Many organizations become known to us through a personal connection with one of our team members or a WideAwake.org donor. Organizations who would like to become a partner can express their interest in becoming a WideAwake.org partner by completing an Expression of Interest available on our website. At this time, WideAwake.org does not use outside sourcing partners. In general, WideAwake.org looks for organizations that are small in size and are without existing sources of significant funding, but that have a proven track record of accountability. They do excellent work in improving the quality of life for their constituents, preferably through sustainable programs, and are in developing areas of the world where small amounts of funding (by U.S. standards) can have a significant positive impact.

How can I be sure that WideAwake.org Aid Worker Organizations are legitimate?

When we find an organization that we’d like to support, WideAwake.org initiates an investigation to ensure that the prospective Aid Worker Organization is not only trustworthy, but also highly effective at leveraging its resources to achieve the greatest possible benefit for those it serves. Our examination of an organization’s fiscal records ensures that each of our partner organization has demonstrated financial integrity in all its dealings, while an analysis of the prospective Aid Worker's programs, governance practices, organizational capacity and organizational efficiency gives assurance that our Aid Worker Organizations manage their resources so as to make sure that every dollar go as far as it possibly can. In many cases, a WideAwake.org team member visits the organization to see first-hand the effect of the work being done on the ground. Only those organizations that meet our standards for trustworthiness and effectiveness are invited to become WideAwake.org partners. We continue to monitor our Aid Workers for efficient use of funds, and also work with them to develop programs and projects targeted to enhance the quality of life for those in their communities.

What if I donate to an Aid Worker Organization that later fails to meet WideAwake.org’s standards?

WideAwake.org continues to monitor our Aid Worker Organizations to ensure their continued integrity and efficient use of funds. If at any time we learn that an Aid Worker Organization no longer meets these standards, the Aid Worker Organization will fall out of good standing with WideAwake.org, and will be removed from the Web site immediately. All grants to the Aid Worker Organization will cease, and any funds previously collected but not distributed will transfer to the General Fund to be used by Aid Workers in good standing.

Why can’t I find an Aid Worker Organization in the U.S.?

WideAwake.org focuses its search for grassroots charities on developing countries. We do this for several reasons. One important criterion for our Aid Worker Organization is that the organization must make extremely efficient use of the funding it receives. We look for organizations that do more with less, and in the developing world a charity can often do more with a few U.S. dollars than a large domestic organization can do with a hefty budget. Additionally, while there are many existing channels to support charities in the U.S. and other developed countries, WideAwake.org is unique in its effort to connect ordinary individuals with the people and places of extraordinary overseas charities in a way that has not existed previously.

What are Projects?

The Projects shown on WideAwake.org are Aid Worker Organizations activities that have a specific outcome and funding requirement. For example, a Project could be a $351 scholarship that would pay one year’s school tuition for a Cambodian child who would otherwise be living on the street. Another Project might be to collect the $5,200 required to construct a bridge connecting a Burmese village to larger towns, allowing villagers to sell livestock and other wares at the local markets. Projects are submitted and carried out by existing WideAwake.org Aid Workers, all of which have undergone our investigation for ethical, efficient practices.

What happens if a Project doesn’t receive full funding by its expiration date?

In the event that a Project is not fully funded by its expiration date, the Project will be removed from the site and all previously collected funds will transfer into the Aid Worker  General Fund. WideAwake.org periodically distributes these funds to the Aid Worker Organizations or Projects that our Grant Committee has determined has a high level of immediate need. The Aid Worker General Fund will always be distributed to WideAwake.org Aid Workers and never towards our own operations or administrative expenses.

What happens if a Project happens to receive more money than the Aid Worker requested?

In the rare event that a Project happens to receive more money than was requested, any excess will transfer into the Aid Workers General Fund. WideAwake.org periodically distributes these funds to the Aid Workers or Projects that our Grant Committee has determined has a high level of immediate need. The Aid Workers General Fund will always be distributed to WideAwake.org Aid Workers and never towards our own operations or administrative expenses.

What is the Aid Workers General Fund?

The Aid Workers General Fund is a fund designated to benefit WideAwake.org Aid Workers generally. Money reaches this fund in several ways:

  • Donors can give to the Aid Workers General Fund directly. Sometimes our donors are short on time and want to make a gift quickly, or they may feel that their donation could be better distributed by WideAwake.org’s Grant Committee.
  • Fundraising Event Coordinators may choose to benefit the Aid Workers General Fund when creating a Fundraising Page.
  • If an Aid Worker Organization falls out of good standing with WideAwake.org, all funds made to benefit that Aid Worker Organization and its Projects will transfer to the Aid Workers General Fund.
  • If an Aid Worker's Project does not receive full funding prior to its expiration date, all funds previously collected to benefit that Project will transfer to the Aid Workers General Fund.
  • If an Aid Worker’s Project incidentally receives more funding that the Aid Worker requested, all additional funds will transfer to the Aid Workers General Fund.

The WideAwake.org Grant Committee will periodically make grants to the Aid Workers and/or Projects that it determines have high levels of immediate need. The Aid Workers General Fund will always be distributed to WideAwake.org Aid Worker Organizations and never towards our own operations or administrative expenses.

How do I know that my gift to an Aid Worker Organization or Project makes a difference?

WideAwake.org partners with Aid Worker organizations that do more with less, so all donations made through WideAwake.org have a significant impact on the lives of those in need. After you make a donation to an Aid Worker Organization or an Aid Worker’s Project through WideAwake.org, you will receive an immediate note of thanks. Sometime after your gift or upon the completion of a Project, you will receive an email with a picture or video update from the field showing you the specific impact of your donation. These interactive thank yous are an incredibly unique aspect of the WideAwake.org giving experience, and they are the reason many of our donors feel so intimately connected to the Aid Workers they support.

About Getting Involved.

How Can I Fundraise as a Group?

You can engage in group fundraising using Facebook Causes or contacting us to help you design just the right fundraising activity for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind that you can focus your fundraising activity to help a particular aid worker organization or you can engage your group in fundraising for our general fund.


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