November 6, 2014
If you’ve ever had to raise money for any sort of a non-profit endeavor (school project, charity fundraiser), you are certainly familiar with that slight feeling of discomfort that most people experience when having to ask others for money – even for a great cause and from people you know. The job of doing it all day at a non-profit or alumni organization can be emotionally grueling, especially if it consists of contacting people with whom you have no personal connection – hence the dreaded phrase “dialing for dollars”. So it’s not a surprise that the non-profit fundraising space has been ripe for technology-driven disruption for a while.
The company driving this disruption is the 3-year old Brooklyn startup Wedid.it. Originally graduated from Dreamit New York accelerator program, Wedid.it offers the leading donor insights program that leverages multiple sources of social and financial data that helps non-profit fundraisers focus their efforts and establish more personal connections with potential donors.
Wedid.it is a great story of perseverance, commitment to solving a real problem, and perhaps a little bit of luck. The company’s co-founders Ben Lamson and Sulaiman Sanni met while working in sales at the same software company and found while working with their non-profit clients that many found the fundraising process to be very difficult. They decided that they could make some real impact by improving the productivity in the fundraising space. The founders weren’t discouraged by the fact that the non-profit space isn’t always considered to be as attractive by the investment community. They quickly set out to round out the founding team and were pleasantly surprised when they were able to find their 3rd co-founder, Bryan Liff, from a Craigslist ad! After some initial iteration, the team honed in on the market need for a cloud software solution that would allow nonprofits to run their own campaigns on their own websites.
The new product being launched by Wedid.it is taking its mission of helping people fundraise more effectively through technology to the next level. It’s called Donor Insights and it helps nonprofits and educational institutions to better understand their donors by analyzing the social and financial data associated with each person.
Wedid.it recently spent exciting four months in San Francisco in the 500 Startups program. The company’s platform is already in use by several hundred non-profits around the country and it’s looking to add an additional 200 organizations to its roster of clients over the next 12 months.
While nonprofits aren’t often seen as the sexiest industry to be in, there are a lot of innovations that still need to happen, and it’s definitely exciting to see a group of people who are passionate about pushing that change and creating that type of innovation.
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