Let's Talk Turkey

Scouting Social Enterprises in Istanbul


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BenVarim is a fundraising and promotional platform for social responsibility projects in Turkey.

The company was founded in 2010 by serial Turkish entrepreneurs living in Istanbul and San Francisco and is the first online charity-giving platform in Turkey. Through BenVarim’s website, foundations and associations can create pages that explain their missions and that enable them to post project fundraising campaigns. NGO volunteers and those who wish to actively support charitable organizations can also create pages and use the power of their individual networks to fundraise for project campaigns of their choice.

I talked in an earlier post about social enterprises that are interrupting the charitable giving/volunteerism status quo and this is certainly one of them. Currently, individual donations account for 18% of Turkish civil society organizations’ total financial resources and the formal volunteer rate in the country is 2.5%. Still, as BenVarim founder, Gercek Karakus, told us, Turkish people love to help others. They tend to do so, he said, through personal relationships and in an unofficial or unorganized fashion.

The power of BenVarim is that it uses interpersonal relationships to bring attention to the social needs that Turkish charities address and to the financial support that they require to address them. This will go a long way in formalizing traditional Turkish modes of charitable giving and volunteerism. Leveraging those same relationships, BenVarim’s model can also rebuild the trust between the social sector and the Turkish public that has been damaged in the past.

We look forward to hearing more about BenVarim in the future as Karakus indicated that they hope, eventually, to scale the company by assisting Turkish charities globally and by supplementing the existing online donation tool with volunteer management and event management services. You can catch this and other information about BenVarim on their website, LinkedIn profile, blog, and twitter.


Industry: Nonprofit Organization Management


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