Sri Lanka’s first-ever crowdfunding platform Help.lk is seeking to bring more foreign exchange to the country to support local innovative ventures and charities.
“We want to bring in more foreign currency to the country, which is why the donations are done in US dollars and we’re targeting expats mostly,” Crowdfund Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd Co-Founder and CEO Kalpa Alawatta said.
Built from the ground up to meet local needs, Help.lk will provide free use of its crowdfunding platform for all verified charitable projects and for a limited period, charge only a nominal fee for all others.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project/campaign or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.
Help.lk supports several models of financing to suit consumer demand, from straightforward donations to more complex reward and equity-based funding.
Help.lk allows users to register its crowdfunding campaign within minutes to reach a large global audience for everything from raising money for a child in need of urgent medical care, to funding a new business venture, or even supporting a new tele-drama or movie.
Once a campaign is approved, it will be provided a unique Help.lk web address to broadcast using social media, email, networking, etc.
All online payments are handled securely via PayPal and the Internet users across the globe can fund campaigns using their debit/credit cards or through their PayPal accounts. This is significantly cheaper than the money transfer fees currently charged by foreign banks to transfer funds to Sri Lanka.
“We will also be setting up a branch in the United States in the next two weeks to handle all the payments, which are transferred to the user’s account in Sri Lanka,” Alawatta explained how the company would circumnavigate the problem of PayPal’s lack of infrastructure to send payments to Sri Lanka.
Alawatta described the company’s business model, saying that the users are given the opportunity to create campaigns for no cost but charged a nominal fee from the total funds collected by non-charitable organisations to cover operational expenses.
He further said that Help.lk is looking for partnerships with individuals, organisations, NGOs, alumni/old boys’/girls’ associations and media to help them reach a global audience for their fundraising campaigns.
In addition, he mentioned that the site offers a unique opportunity for companies to advertise their goods and services on Help.lk.