Categories: ImpactInnovate

St. Pete tech company offers free services to nonprofits during pandemic

GIVVN, a St. Petersburg-based technology company, is lending a helping hand to struggling nonprofits.

The company, with a platform to help nonprofits collect donations, is making its artificial intelligence technology free for nonprofits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonprofits can create a secure home page, donation page and chatbot. They also can use GIVVN’s customer relationship management system and collect donations for free, said Danica Hoppe, chief marketing officer.

“When nonprofits thrive, our community thrives,” Hoppe said in an email to the St. Pete Catalyst.

GIVVN helps nonprofits that lack the time and staff to manage online donation  collections, co-founder and CEO Matt Spaulding said at 1 Million Cups St. Petersburg last year.

Every nonprofit gets its own donation page, with a chatbot that can provide an instant response to potential donors. GIVVN integrates with the nonprofit’s Facebook page, turning the entire Facebook audience into potential donors, and allowing the nonprofit to contact them through Facebook Messenger, Spaulding said.

Nonprofits are needed now more than ever to help with the economic, social and health impacts of Covid-19. But during the pandemic, events have been canceled, donors are strapped for cash and they are hesitant to give, Hoppe said.

“This pandemic has been devastating for nonprofits. Many have relied on in-person events for the bulk of their donations, but that has suddenly stopped. Now they are scrambling to find other methods for fundraising,” Hoppe said. “We understand nonprofits need every penny they can get so GIVVN has decided to waive the donation platform processing fee. What’s more, nonprofits can use GIVVN’s core features, such as donation page, chatbot, and donor management for free.”

GIVVEN’s platform fee prior to the pandemic was 5 percent of donations. The Catalyst asked Hoppe how GIVVN can afford to give up that platform fee.

“We offer advanced features like analytics, tracking, and advertising funnels as part of our paid Pro plan. This allows us to offer our core services at no charge,” she said.

GIVVN has not set a date for when the free offer will end because no one knows when the pandemic will end, she said. “But, any nonprofit that signs up during the pandemic will be locked into 0 percent for the life of their account,” she said.

Why would a startup give up one of its revenue sources?

“We started GIVVN with a mission to help as many nonprofits succeed as possible. Now, in a time when nonprofits need help the most, we are stepping up to help them get through this tough situation,” Hoppe said.

Several national reports have painted a bleak picture for nonprofits. Candid, an information service about nonprofits, said in a recent report that between 4 percent and 38 percent of the 300,000 nonprofits in the United States might have to close their doors.

A separate study on faith-based nonprofits from DickersonBakker, a business consultancy for nonprofit organizations, found that 60 percent of donors expect to give at the same level in 2020 as they did in 2019, with another 25 percent planning to increase giving “a little” or “substantially.”

“The survey shines a glimmer of hope in that of those surveyed, 85 percent of donors would like to give the same amount as last year. And we hope they do. But at the same time, only 23 percent are willing to show up at a gala. So the takeaway from the article: People still want to give, they just need a different way to do it now,” Hoppe said.

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at margie@stpetecatalyst.com

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