An alum’s platform allows you to make contributions anonymously.
Not everyone wants their name up in lights when they donate. Some prefer to keep their gifts between themselves and their checkbooks.
Tim Sanders ’15 found out it wasn’t easy to donate anonymously and decided to do something about it. The result is Silent Donor, a technology platform he launched in early 2020 that allows donors to send fully anonymous, tax-deductible charitable and nonprofit donations.
Sanders was living in Chicago in 2019 when he made an online charitable donation, after which he began repeatedly hearing from the charity.
“I was kind of put off by the attention I received,” he says. There were emails, letters, calls — a full-court press.
“I wanted to send my next donation anonymously, so I could still have the impact I wanted but also maintain my privacy,” Sanders says. He was surprised to learn there was no easy way to donate truly anonymously. Checking a “remain anonymous” box when sending an online donation to a nonprofit or charity “doesn’t make you anonymous at all,” he says. “The organization still receives your personal information.”
Sanders’s solution was to create a technology platform and a uniquely designed 501(c)(3) charitable fund called the AnonDo Fund (Anonymous Donation Fund). Donors simply fill out a short form on the Silent Donor platform. Their gift is then sent to the AnonDo Fund, which issues them a tax-deductible receipt. Then the fund sends the contribution to the charitable or nonprofit organization that the donor specified on their form, without including any of their personal information.
The demand was clearly there, fueled by privacy concerns and weariness around personal data being mined online. Although the company initially just served the Chicago area, its footprint has expanded globally, including an office in Europe. Additionally, donors can now anonymously contribute to crowdfunding campaigns on sites like GoFundMe.
Silent Donor also partners directly with charities to allow them to easily accept anonymous gifts and has landed some high-profile partners, including SameYou, the brain injury and stroke charity founded by Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, and United24, Ukraine’s official fundraising vehicle. In May, Sanders attended the United24 Philanthropy Summit in Kyiv, hosted by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
His goal for Silent Donor? “Continue growing so we’re on the minds of everyone who wants to give back and remain anonymous.”
Published in the Winter 2023 issue