Anyone who’s ever worked in fundraising knows raising money can be a major PITA (if you don’t know that acronym, Google it). Donors get tired of being pestered. Figuring out which channels are the best to reach different audiences is daunting (Launch a TikTok campaign for Gen Z? Pass out fliers on cruise ships for boomers?). Organizing donations is also cumbersome (What is a token? People still use checks?).
There’s one solution that’s working to simplify the tangled web of raising money.
It’s a web-based application called GoodChange. And it was developed in Little Rock by native Arkansans Becky Pittman and Emily Wineland who (surprise, surprise) both have previous careers in political fundraising. “The technology that was available to us, it wasn’t catching up to what was needed,” Wineland told me. “Everyone was feeling really exhausted and over-solicited, so you constantly were looking for new ways to engage donors.”
With GoodChange, the co-founders are hoping to do just that.
Since the platform was launched about a year ago, it now has nearly 90 active political or advocacy campaigns and about 2,000 donors. It also was nominated to take part in the prestigious Chicago-based Higher Ground Labs startup accelerator program. (Higher Ground Labs, also a venture fund, invests in companies with tech solutions to address campaign challenges.)
For now, Pittman and Wineland said, the platform is targeting political candidates and advocacy campaigns primarily in Arkansas. It leverages the ever-evolving financial technology, or fintech, space to streamline the donation process as well as the backend financial management. It also has a SpareChange feature where donors can round up purchases made using a credit or debit card to the nearest dollar amount and donate the difference to an individual or a cause.
Those fundraising on the site have almost immediate access to money that can be stored in a digital wallet and easy-to-use tools to transfer funds to other accounts or to vendors and keep track of how those funds have been spent. “We can get fundraisers up and running in 30 minutes,” Pittman said.
The public-facing web page is similar to Facebook, allowing supporters to find a candidate’s or advocacy organization’s GoodChange page to donate money, find out information or get the latest updates from a campaign. The project is user-friendly for all ages, but the co-founders said they’re working on features that would target younger generations who engage with political fundraising and philanthropic giving in ways that older generations don’t.
“The younger folks coming up — they are up-and-coming donors, advocates, development directors, all of those things,” Pittman said. “They are showing up big time now, and they don’t want to be emailed all of the time or texted all of the time. They want engagement. They want transparency. They want information. We really wanted to build something that serves that group, too.
“We are not just looking at right now. We are looking at five or 10 years down the road and how donor behavior is changing.”
GoodChange is expanding to other markets and may soon host fundraising campaigns in the nonprofit sector. “We saw lots of opportunities for technology to modernize this system and streamline it in ways that weren’t otherwise available,” Wineland said. “Nobody else is doing something this comprehensive that we know of.”
GoodChange, it seems, also makes good sense.