Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is ChirotaFund?

ChirotaFund is an Internet-based crowdfunding platform based in the U.S. that helps support the economic and social needs of the Ethiopian community worldwide. One of the greatest benefits of ChirotaFund is that it provides an opportunity to raise money directly from Ethiopia. Prior to ChirotaFund, anyone wanting to raise money online would have to find someone in the U.S. to open a campaign on his or her behalf. Another great benefit is that ChirotaFund is available in English and Amharic in order to better serve the Ethiopian community. In addition, ChirotaFund accepts 11 major currencies which expands your marketing opportunities for your fundraiser to many countries around the world.

2. What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a unique fundraising technique using the power of the Internet and social media to raise money from a large group of people from almost anywhere in the world.  

3. What is a campaign?

A campaign is your story. It is a well-written narrative supported by photos and videos that accurately describes your fundraiser and presents your reasoning for why contributions are needed. Campaigns can be personal, on behalf of someone else, for a business, for a non-profit organization or for a religious organization.

ChirotaFund also offers 16 different fundraising categories to help market and organize stories or campaigns on our website. Click here to view the different categories offered or click on Campaign Categories in our menu.

4. What are the basic elements of a campaign?

1. Identify who is raising the funds for the campaign. Identify who will be the person receiving and using the funds raised if different. Also, if you are raising money on behalf of a business, nonprofit or religious organization, give a brief description of the organization or business.

2. Explain why the fundraiser is needed and the challenge or problem faced.

3. Explain why raising funds is a necessary way to reach the solution to the problem.

4. Add a "call-to-action". Tell people to make a contribution and explain why it is important that they do so.

5. Identify exactly how the money will be used. Remember you must keep your promise otherwise it may be considered fraudulent.

5. Is it safe to use my credit card to make a contribution online using ChirotaFund?

We take the safety and security of our website and any transactions made on our site very seriously. First, ChirotaFund is hosted by an e-Commerce platform called Shopify that is trusted by over 1,000,000 online businesses including Tesla Motors, Budweiser, The New York Times Shop, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Red Bull, to name a few. We specifically invested in Shopify to ensure that each page is served over SSL which is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. With Shopify as our host, we feel confident that our customer’s data is protected and customers making contributions can rest assured that their payment and information is secured. 

We also use Shop Pay, Shopify’s payment gateway to process all of our transactions.  Shop Pay is a fully secure and PCI level 1 compliant server. PCI level 1 for credit card processing means that Shopify adheres to the highest standards of server compliance.

As if this wasn’t enough, we also use TrustedSite and McAfee Secure which regularly scans and protects our site from phishing attacks and other malicious activities. The floating TrustedSite mark on our site means our site has one extra layer of protection and security than any other site.

If you are still unsure, feel free to reach out to us via email at info@chirotafund.com or give us a call at (404) 662-3211 M-Sat from 8am to 5pm U.S. Eastern Time.

6. How do I raise money on ChirotaFund?

Generally, fundraising is not an easy task. We learned that great fundraisers include a worthy story (“campaign”) that is well-written and supported with photos and videos. It also takes a highly-motivated campaign requester who is committed to continuously marketing and raising awareness. Campaigns that lack these things are rarely successful.

ChirotaFund can help, but we are not a financial institution, bank, or lender. Instead, we provide a powerful platform for you to share your fundraising story worldwide. As a result, using ChirotaFund opens the door for your story to reach more people and increase the opportunity to raise more money.

To get started on ChirotaFund, you will need to complete our campaign request form with information about your campaign and how much money you need to raise. You can find out more by clicking the following link How It Works. If you need help to complete the campaign request form or have any questions, you can reach us at info@chirotafund.com.

7. What documentation is required to open a campaign on ChirotaFund?

The required documentation depends on whether the campaign requester is an individual raising money for himself or herself or on behalf of someone else or on behalf of a business, nonprofit or religious organization. This information will be required prior to publishing a campaign on our website. See the following chart for more information. Information or documentation in addition to the chart below or even a resubmission of necessary documents may be required depending on the country where the campaign is initiated and when necessary to verify a campaign. Documentation should be submitted using the campaign request form. 

Individual/Personal

A government-issued identification that includes a photo. The identification must be recent (not expired) and shows a most recent address. 

On Behalf of Someone Else

1. A government-issued identification that includes a photo of the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund. The identification must be recent (not expired) and shows a most recent address. 

2. A government-issued identification that includes a photo of the person who will be receiving and using the funds as described in the campaign. The identification must be recent (not expired) and shows the most recent address.

3. Notarized and translated (if applicable) letter from the person receiving and using the funds described in the campaign granting permission for the campaign requester (initiator) to raise money on his or her behalf. The letter must specify the exact reason for the fundraiser, who will receive the funds, and how that person will use the funds. The campaign description must include this information for transparency purposes so that contributors clearly understand who is receiving the donated funds and how the money will be used.

Business

1. A government-issued identification that includes a photo of the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund. The identification must be recent (not expired) and show a most recent address.

2. A document that shows that the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund is connected to the business and has the legal authority to raise money on behalf of the company. 

3. A copy of the business' governmental registration.

Nonprofit Organization

1. A government-issued identification that includes a photo of the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund. The identification must be recent (not expired) and show a most recent address.

2. If a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, a copy of the nonprofit's 501c3 letter issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

3. If outside of the U.S., a copy of the nonprofit organization's governmental registration. 

4. A letter from the nonprofit organization's board of directors (if applicable) that includes the following information:

  • identifies that the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund is connected to the nonprofit organization (e.g., John Doe is the Executive Director of ABC nonprofit).
  • John Doe has the legal authority to raise money on behalf of the nonprofit organization; and
  • John Doe will be receiving and depositing the funds on behalf of the organization.  

Religious Organization 

1. A government-issued identification that includes a photo of the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund. The identification must be recent (not expired) and show a most recent address.

2. If a U.S.-based tax-exempt religious organization, a copy of the nonprofit's 501c3 letter issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

3. If outside of the U.S., a copy of the religious organization's governmental registration. 

4. A letter from the religious organization's board of directors (if applicable) that includes the following information:

  • identifies that the person initiating and managing the campaign on ChirotaFund is connected to the religious organization (e.g., John Doe is the Executive Director of ABC nonprofit).
  • John Doe has the legal authority to raise money on behalf of the religious organization; and
  • John Doe will be receiving and depositing the funds on behalf of the organization.  

8. How long does it take to review and post a campaign?

The time frame for posting a campaign depends on the campaign requester. The campaign requester must provide all of the necessary information and documentation for the campaign request including photos and any videos that describe the fundraiser. A delay in posting a campaign may occur if the information provided is not accurate, cannot be vetted, or is incomplete.

It is critical that each campaign is written carefully to maintain the integrity of your campaign and our website, so some campaigns may require some additional time to post. This means that it should include all of the basic elements of a campaign in FAQ#4 and should be free of spelling and grammar errors. If you are unsure how to draft a campaign, we offer a campaign writing service for a fee. Our campaign writing service can help guide you on how to make your draft campaign more marketable and user friendly. We do not make any modifications to your campaign idea. Our team will send you a draft for your review and approval in order to post it to our website. If you are interested in having our team write your campaign, please contact us at campaignrequests@chirotafund.com.

9. How much does it cost to raise money on ChirotaFund?

Posting your campaign on our website is absolutely free. However, we do charge a 5% processing fee for campaigns that raise $5,000 or more. We also charge 2.9% plus $.30 for every transaction that is initiated in the U.S. Transaction fees may be higher if initiated outside of the U.S. There may be additional fees such as currency conversion fees and bank transfer fees.

Campaigns that are initiated in Ethiopia may also be charged a delivery fee or administrative fee that enables us to reimburse costs incurred by our volunteers in Ethiopia who help vet campaigns, personally hand-deliver campaign funds, and process paperwork.

We will provide an invoice for each campaign that will itemize each fee and the total amount of funds that will be provided to the receiver.

10. Is posting my campaign on ChirotaFund enough to raise money?

Absolutely not. Many campaign requesters post a campaign thinking that money will just start flowing in. The reality is that posting a campaign is only a small part of the battle for raising money. The majority of the work is marketing your campaign within your social network and utilizing media to promote your fundraising request. So market, market, market!

You will have to use your social media network, send out text messages, send out emails, go out and solicit for contributions in person, and even use traditional media outlets like radio, TV, and print publications. Share your campaign as much as you can with as many people as you can and encourage them to share and contribute every single time you make contact.

Consistency and discipline are key. Provide your supporters will regular updates so they can see progress on social media accounts. You are responsible to build and maintain the energy for your campaign. Just making a single post and sharing it one time will not work. We’ve seen it happen.

Also don’t overstate your fundraising goal amount. Having an overly high fundraising goal may turn off many contributors because they may feel that the goal is not attainable. So be realistic and consider the minimum amount you will need to solve the problem.

11. How do I make a withdrawal and how long do I need to wait to receive funds?

Withdrawal requests must be submitted by email to withdrawalrequest@chirotafund.com. The request must include the following information:

1. Full legal name of the campaign requester, address, phone number, and email address.

2. If the receiver of the funds is different than the campaign requester, we need the full legal name of the receiver of the funds, their address, phone number, and email address.

3. The specific amount requested for withdrawal. For example, all or a portion of the overall funds may be withdrawn.

4. Identify if you wish to close the campaign or keep it active. A withdrawal request does not automatically close a campaign.

Withdrawal requests are reviewed daily and will be processed upon receipt of an official request. An official request is one that is received in email and contains all the required information. ChirotaFund will verify the campaign requester prior to the release of funds. This means that we must have all of the required documentation to verify the receiver of the money’s identity before any funds are deposited or delivered.

The time it takes to release the funds may depend on a country's procedures if you live outside of the U.S. Generally, we strive to release the funds within about 7-10 business days once a withdrawal request is cleared. In some cases, funds may be received much sooner or much later.

If you are located in Ethiopia, you will also need a witness who must be present at the time of receiving the funds and be willing to sign our acknowledgement and receipt form. The timing for receiving funds is dependent on your cooperation with our documentation procedures and coordination with our local volunteers. Our volunteers will be able to assist you throughout the process and work with you to receive the funds raised.

12. Does a campaign have to reach its goal in a certain amount of time?

No, you do not have to reach your goal within a certain time frame. However, campaigns are set to expire within 180 days of posting and may be renewed twice before a one year waiting period applies.

13. What if a contributor wants to contribute money after I reached my goal?

A contributor can contribute money even after your goal is reached even though your progress chart will show that your goal is achieved. You can receive contributions as long as your campaign remains active. 

14. Can I contribute any amount to a campaign?

Yes, there is a customized contribution amount field for each campaign. Simply, enter in the amount you want to contribute in that field and check out. The most common denominations for contributions are $10, $25, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000. When you make a contribution, your contribution will automatically appear on the campaign webpage. If you wish to keep your contribution anonymous, be sure to select the “Anonymous” checkmark before you click on Contribute. You may also leave a comment of encouragement or support. We do not have the ability to change your name to anonymous or make any edits to the comment after it is posted. If you have questions or need assistance, visit our Contact Us now page or send us an email at info@chirotafund.com

15. Are there any taxes on my contribution or withdrawal amount?

ChirotaFund cannot provide any advice on this matter. The best thing to do to be sure is to get advice from a tax law attorney or licensed tax professional.   

16. How do you make sure that the campaign is legitimate and that funds are sent to the right person?

ChirotaFund has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to unscrupulous behavior on our website. We screen each campaign request as thoroughly as possible and have processes in place to match the correct campaign requester to the withdrawal request so the funds are sent to the correct person. For this reason is it important to comply with our documentation and information requests. Noncompliance could result in closing your campaign, holding funds, and terminating your account indefinitely.

In addition, within the capital city of Ethiopia, we have volunteers on-the-ground who work diligently on ensuring that appropriate procedures are followed and funds are delivered in accordance with the campaign request.

17. How can I become a volunteer with ChirotaFund?

ChirotaFund welcomes volunteers around the world with many different skill sets that can help achieve its mission. Volunteer opportunities are constantly evolving as our needs change and ChirotaFund continues to grow but we generally need assistance in marketing (digital and social media), translation, campaign writing, media relations, and administrative support. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click on the "Volunteer" link in our menu at the top of the page and complete our Volunteer Interest Form