As a retailer on Andover, MA and Newburyport, MA on the U.S. east coast Merit Kuusniemi, Founder and CEO of MyTownDoesGood experienced a daily barrage of requests from nonprofits for contributions for their fundraising purposes. The requests came via mail, email, but mostly literally through the door, from existing, good customers, sometimes from strangers from unfamiliar nonprofits. The hard-working fundraising or gala committee volunteers asked for products to raffle off, gift certificates for auctions, taking up of ad space in program books, table sponsorships and more.
Merit ended up almost always contributing, as long as the nonprofit was a registered 501(3)c, but mostly out of guilt or worry that by denying the word would get around and she’d be shunned as a retailer in the small town before too long.
However, as much as the nonprofits sincerely believed that the contributions from the businesses would bring more business and increase the goodwill for the retailers and other businesses, Merit knew that the effect would be negligible. Mostly because after the fundraising event or campaign, her donation or her business, would not get much visibility.
Merit also served on fundraising committees herself, seeing the other side of the equation, how difficult and time consuming the annual fundraising efforts were for the nonprofits that usually had to rely on large committees of volunteers to the asking for them.
She realized that the expectations and motives of nonprofits and businesses in the fundraising landscape are quite misaligned, and that the process was only marginally productive for both parties. She clearly recognized a need to create better alignment, and therefore more meaningful, mutually beneficial and long-lasting partnerships between nonprofits and their corporate supporters.
And she thought: there has to be a better way – what if:
- There was a website that gathered all the fundraising needs in my area and beyond
- As a business owner, I could go search and study the nonprofits and my own leisure
- I could find nonprofits whose goals and supporters align with my own business strategies
- I could go on the platform to find nonprofit fundraisers in new towns where there are potentially more new customers for my business
- I could have a way to celebrate and promote my contributions to the community in a tasteful way?
And, thinking of the nonprofits and the communities they serve and rely on for support, what if:
- The nonprofit fundraising needs could have a central place to be published for all businesses to find them
- There would be a common on-line gathering place for the community to celebrate the collaboration, recognize the nonprofit program success and outcomes, and recognize the corporate sponsors?
Long story short, now we have a pilot platform in MyTownDoesGood. So far, it has very basic functionality and we will test in the community of Andover, MA and its surrounding communities once the COVID-19 pandemia of the year 2020 calms down and life returns to a semblance of normal.
We invite you to give it a try, use it, and send us your questions, comments and feedback.