Spark is looking to sell Givealittle, the site run by its charitable wing The Spark Foundation - and famous for crowdfunding drives like the successful $2.2 million effort to keep a pristine Abel Tasman beach in public hands, and multiple campaigns to raise money for the families of Christchurch mosque massacre victims.
Spark Foundation lead Kate Thomas told the Herald the site is currently run at a loss.
In 2018, the costs of operating and developing Givealittle were just over $1.1m, partially offset by the 5 per cent service fee that raised $791,881. Spark provided $379,911 to cover the shortfall.
The telco has invested around $8m in the site overall, Thomas says.
But it is looking to generate cash from its sale.
"We haven't got any expectations regarding money. This isn't necessarily a 'highest bidder wins' situation – it's about finding the best ownership model for Givealittle to secure its future growth and to maximise its impact for New Zealanders," Thomas said.
"We're being as open-minded as possible about the future, and it could mean Spark Foundation retains some interest."
Givealittle raised $18.5m in its financial year to June 2018. In its current year, it has raised a record $31.5m so far, including $10.8m for Christchurch shooting victims.
Impact Ventures director Chris Simcock, who is overseeing the sale, noted to the Herald that Givealittle began life as a commercial venture in 2010, backed in part by venture capital outfit Movac. It was a destination where startups could crowdfund money for a bright idea in the manner of Kickstarter or PledgeMe.
Spark bought it in 2012 and re-fashioned it as a charity vehicle.
Simcock said a new owner could return the site more toward its Kickstarter commercial roots but he saw potential for a "social enterprise" angle as well - or a profit-making venture that puts an emphasis on social values.
He is looking to wrap up the bidding process by the end of July.
Givealittle is the second asset that Spark has opened to outside investors this year.
Spark New Zealand is seeking expressions of interest for investment or partnership with its Lightbox streaming video service, which operates separately from the recently-launched Spark Sport.