Charitius 2016

Global charity search engine. Built a working prototype with over 1.000.000 charities

In 2016, using open data and web-scraping, I was able to gather data on charities for multiple countries. Eventually I ran into technical problems scaling up the search engine when it needed to handle over a million charities. When new EU privacy laws emerged, I also started to get doubts about the legality of my approach, since it covered lots of personal data.

I decided to put the project on hold untill I was a better skilled developer and had a partner to take on the legal aspects.

Watch a screencast of the prototype.

At the end of 2019, I started a third iteration, also under the name Charitius.


Circle representing a challenge (illustration)
Find worthy challenges
Global charity search engine with all context that is relevant to help you decide if you can support them.
Person thinking (illustration)
Think it through
Since location of operation is often more interesting than location of base, a global search engine makes sense. For charities the overhead of providing updates to many different platforms is a hassle, so a single source of truth would be valuable. Charitius could aim to take on that role, and let other platforms build on top of that truth. Charitius does not compete with these platforms.
Circle with edges of a star (illustration)
Create prototypes
I made a prototype that held over 1 million charities from multiple countries. watch the video and screenshots to learn more. In general existing platforms do not share their data freely as sharing data is often part of their business model. I ran into technical issues at the time, that I would now feel comfortable tackling by myself. I also ran in to legal doubts on holding so much data probably falls under GDPR EU rules.
Two people with a star above them, as combined thoughts (illustration)
The project needs a partner with legal expertise and connections to different charity plaforms. The content comes from partners and open data. Charities can't submit data directly to Charitius. In practice so far, the quality of open data sources varies a lot, but was useable.
Star surrounded by smaller stars (illustration
Make it sustainable
Charitius is designed to be cheap. All data updates would be automated, there would be no moderation or own content creation. Costs would go into hosting and development costs of handling incoming data from different sources. Income could initially come from some sort of public fund, but in the long run for a access fee to the global API that provides up do date information to all charities. When a platforms requires more than X requests to the api it would cost them Y.
Three people with star on their chest (illustration)
Produce real impact
No impact yet. I'm ready for a third attempt (Helpalot being first) when the right partner can join.

Effort for Tools for fairness

Create tools that increase understanding by providing context and fresh perspectives. By including diverse human perspectives, the aim is to enable fairness as an integral part of the choices we make when we build our future.