September 11, 2012
If companies want to donate to charity, their traditional options are limited: post a form on their website for donation requests, or maybe visit a local nonprofit. But a few services online are starting to connect them to nonprofits directly.
Auction Frogs connects businesses with nonprofits who need donations for their auctions. BrandingForGood takes donations so they can be auctioned off in the BiddingForGood marketplace, with the proceeds going to charity. And San Diego-based startup DonationMatch helps businesses get their products, gift certificates, and services into charity auctions, raffles, and swag bags.
DonationMatch, used by organizations like Curves and Make a Wish Foundation, has matched 160 events with over $1.2 million in donated items. To use the platform, businesses post their items and nonprofits make requests. Below, cofounder and CEO Renee Zau, who spent time in both the business and nonprofit worlds, explains how DonationMatch has grown.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind DonationMatch?
Renee Zau: DonationMatch was created to solve my own frustrations as both a business owner/regional marketing coordinator and nonprofit auction chair/volunteer for many organizations. I saw a lot of repetitive work, especially data entry and individual solicitations, being done by companies and nonprofits that wasted enormous amounts of time and energy because it wasn’t online or being shared.
I most enjoy seeing donations being fulfilled on our site that may not have been before because it was either difficult to connect or the causes and businesses didn’t know about each other. Facilitating these win-win exchanges and receiving the grateful feedback is wonderful.
Tech Cocktail: Describe a challenging moment or a crucial decision for DonationMatch.
Zau: It has been a challenge to figure out how to financially support DonationMatch. We went from being completely free to a small transaction fee earlier this year, and this slowed activity from our earlier users. This resulted in our reassessing our assets and opportunities to monetize, and we’re currently developing partnership opportunities that will give users more options in how they “pay” to use our site.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about your team?
Zau: My cofounder Darryl and I met while working together 13 years ago, but lost touch for eight years until a coworker found us on LinkedIn. It turned out we were both getting divorced, we ended up dating, and after hearing me wish for DonationMatch for several years, he joined me to create it. Being a couple and cofounders has so far been wonderful, but it’s hard to not “talk shop” 24-7.
DonationMatch was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail San Diego mixer in August.
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