The geek name for this approach is crowd-sourcing, because it pulls together a crowd of people to accomplish things individuals can't on their own.
As you can see, users can sift through cancer research projects and choose to fund one they like. They can search by cancer type or location of the research. Then they can either donate, join a "giving group" created by another donor, or start their own giving group and recruit people into it. (I don't know how they inform and update donors to specific projects; I hope it's rich and detailed.)
Donors can fund a project for any reason they like: Maybe a project sounds promising; maybe they know the researchers; maybe it's aimed at a cancer you or a loved one fought. The choice is the donor's
And as far as I'm concerned, that's the magic. It connects people's passion to their giving, which is how it ought to be.
Nay-sayers will note that this cedes the role of deciding what projects should be funded to non-experts, which could lead to important but harder-to-understand projects going underfunded. While I don't doubt that not all projects get equal donor attention, I thumb my nose at that objection. It's an anti-donor smokescreen that a smart organization can (must) solve.
I'm especially glad to see this being done in health fundraising; as a sector, health has been least open to empowering donors. These guys are doing it -- it's possible. The old excuses for traditional top-down, trust-us fundraising are falling away.
This is the way a lot of fundraising will be done in the coming years. Giving donors choice. Treating donors as partners, not ATMs.
Congratulations to Cancer Research UK!
This award is given periodically to fundraisers who get it right in a notable, creative way. If you know of others who deserve the Fundraiser of the Future Award, let know.
Thanks to Giving in a digital world for the tip.