I am very passionate about giving back to people who are a little less fortunate. I feel that all bloggers have a reach in the community and it’s my responsibility to try and do some good in this world. I was excited when I was approached to help spread the word about a new start-up that is helping to solve the problems within charitable giving. Here is Susan Cooney, founder and CEO or Givelocity.
In my 20 years in the start-up world, I have marveled at how companies make it past go. Founders often have nothing more to go on than an idea and chutzpah. They have to hustle to get funding and customers, and to build an infrastructure strong and scalable enough to keep going in a highly competitive and innovative arena.
For non-profits, getting off the ground, and keeping going, is even tougher. Business rules are even more restrictive, making it difficult to survive, let alone thrive. In addition to the various challenges facing start-ups, NPOs are blocked from many potentially lucrative avenues open to c-corps and subject to almost prohibitive limitations. As if that weren’t enough, factor in the high cost of fundraising. Many charities are forced to spend upwards of 25% of their budgets on fundraising costs, leaving fewer dollars for their beneficiaries.
Then there’s the challenge of perception. With so many giving scandals in the news, the public is more skittish than ever. Headlines like “America’s 50 Worst Charities” grab national attention. Would-be donors want to ensure that their giving doesn’t get tied up in a scandal, but they don’t have the time or resources to validate charities on their own. Lack of donor confidence can kill a fragile charity.
Another pain point is sustainability. Since most giving is one-time or event driven, charities have to ask donors to contribute to their causes again and again, diverting more of their resources into the fundraising process instead of funneling more of it to programs. Donors now think twice about giving, to avoid being added to mailing lists, and receiving even more appeals for donations. And charities have to constantly find new sources of income. It’s a vicious cycle.
I started Givelocity in response to these and several other challenges to the philanthropic model. My experience with start-ups showed me that just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be. Imagine the audacity! Just a few years ago, digitizing the payment infrastructure occurred! And today, paying via PayPal is considered standard practice. My vision is to effect similar change in the world of charitable giving.
With Givelocity, it’s easy for users to join other donors who care about the same things, combining their charitable knowledge and experience, and rest assured their money goes to causes with solid, proven reputations. We also provide a new sustainable revenue stream to the world of philanthropy through donors who didn’t think $1 could make a difference. Givelocity features a combined giving model, in which our dollars are leveraged to increase our personal impact. We harness today’s technology to intensify our collective effort; we build communities for shared giving.
At Givelocity, we’ve partnered with Charity Navigator in order to offer highly-rated charities so that members can rest assured they’re supporting the most transparent, accountable ones. Donors can be confident in their giving via our platform and enjoy the anonymity shared giving delivers. Charities can tout their causes on the Givelocity platform to their own networks to increase their odds of winning, but we don’t share donor contact information with recipients of the funds. We also facilitate sustainable giving: donors find a neighborhood that supports what matters to them, “move in” and choose how much to pledge every month, then vote for causes with their neighbors. Their giving is meaningful, simple and ongoing. Donors have greater insight and confidence, and charities have a new channel for funds. It’s a win-win.
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