BIT Startup Of The Week: Socialgive – “Making donating easier through social media”
A: Brandon Parkes
Q: Give us a brief summary of your background in tech
A: Having a mixed background in nonprofit management and corporate social responsibility, I have had the opportunity to leverage technology to facilitate a social impact. I have experience leveraging technology to facilitate fundraising and cause marketing campaigns while utilizing technology to help organizations reach goals more efficiently and effectively. It is my passion to use my interest in tech and insight in philanthropy to create socially innovative technology.
Q: What does your company do or make?
A: SocialGive™ is a mobile nonprofit fundraising platform. In a social media centric world, SocialGive™ enables donors to seamlessly integrate charitable giving into their day, without having to change anything about their daily routine.
Q: What problem does your company aim to solve?
A: With about only 16% of nonprofit websites optimized for mobile giving (Online Fundraising Scorecard), individuals who want to donate via their smartphone struggle with navigating clunky websites and/or equally clunky apps and services. Since donors are three times less likely to make a donation simply because it’s too difficult/inconvenient to donate through a smartphone, smartphones caused U.S. nonprofits to lose $6.5 billion in donations in 2015 (PocketCause). If nonprofits/fundraisers are not engaging donors on their mobile devices, they are unknowingly handicapping their organizations fundraising efforts. Especially when more than 1 in 6 donors are using a mobile device (NPengange). Consequently, nonprofits need a more efficient way to engage with their mobile donors and mobile donors need a more efficient way to donate from their smartphones.
Q: How does the current version of your product solve that problem?
A: SocialGive™ aims to meet users where they already are, on social media. By adding an incremental monetary value to different social media engagements, SocialGive™ provides donors the power to micro-donate to social causes and nonprofits that matter to them simultaneously as they use social media. Making charitable giving conveniently integrated into ones day. It will also provide nonprofits a means to tap into the virtual pocket change of donors in order to generate consistent new revenue streams. SocialGive™ targets the intersection of powerful trends: the progression of social media usage, the growth of mobile donating, and the rising popularity of crowdfunding.
Q: What is your company’s mission?
A: The mission of SocialGive™ is to redefine traditional means of philanthropy by innovating an easy, engaging and convenient nonprofit fundraising solution for a social and mobile present and expected future.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a startup founder?
A: I believe the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a startup founder, is remaining resilient against the odds. The disparity between the amount of venture deals that are made between black founders and white founders is evident. Even though there have been strides towards a more inclusive tech and VC ecosystem, data still proves that the space has a long ways to go toward representing a full range of diverse entrepreneurs and talent. Since the number of underrepresented investors is so low, it’s a challenge to isolate investors to who are truly passionate about being a part of the solution, and willing to invest in a social venture as well.
Q: Did you ever feel like giving up?
Q: What lessons did you learn from that challenge?
A: Always believe in yourself. Even when the odds are against you, it doesn’t mean give up. It just means that you may have to hustle twice as hard to reach your goal. With the right amount of confidence, resilience, determination, and humility, success always follow.
Q: What has been your biggest victory?
A: Building a talented minority-led team. Yes, a goal is to create a convenient and engaging nonprofit fundraising tool, but it’s bigger than that. My goal is to have a company where I can focus on recruiting talent from underrepresented communities and lower the barriers normally associated with technology. By creating a means to expose underrepresented talent to tech, I can catalyze opportunities for minorities in the nation’s fastest-growing, highest-paying industry. I believe this is crucial for economic progress and opportunity in minority America.
Q: How did it make you feel?
A: It makes me feel good that I can help diversify the tech pipeline in any way I can.
Q: What lessons have you learned from your successes?
A: I’ve learned that if I can recruit and inspire one individual to immerse himself or herself in the tech industry, and provide them with exposure to grow within the sector, then this whole experience was worth it. I’ve also come to realize that by having a minority-led team I’m helping change the narrative of what people in tech look like.
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to an aspiring tech startup founder, what would it be?
A: There are many resources available, it’s just about taking the time to find them. Between videos, guides, network events etc, there are an infinite amount of mediums that can help you get your business off the ground. You would be also surprised by how many people within your network are willing to provide you with resources, skills or know people that can help catalyze your business forward.
Q: Has your company received funding?
A: I have received funding through a family and friends round for the initial development of the Platform. We are anticipating a formal round of seed funding Q1 of 2017.
Q: How can users find more info on your company?
Q: Where can they download the app?
How can people contact/follow you/your company?
A: People can follow and contact us using the following platforms
- Instagram: SocialGive
- Facebook: SocialGive
- Twitter: Social_Give
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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