How an Organization that Helps Businesses Raise Funds Raised its Own Profile
Early in 2019, founder Nathan Gustafson launched GiveMore to help businesses and people donate more to worthy causes. His company does this by providing tools and services that enable charitable giving, matching donations, and the socialization of causes
As a certified Benefit Corporation for Good, he believes and practices the Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet and Profit.
We interviewed Nathan Gustafson recently about becoming a certified Oregon Benefit Company. Here’s what he had to say about it, his motivation for doing it and why it was right for his business.
1. What motivated you to become a Benefit Company?
GiveMore is a fundraising platform that helps individuals and organizations raise funds more effectively by enabling donations, pledging, and the sale of sponsorship to supportive businesses. As such, I believe being a benefit company is a big part of our brand. It is also part of my identity as a founder. I believe in Social Capitalism and that it is our responsibility to do business in such a way that leaves our community and environment in better shape. For me, owning and running a benefit company is an outward expression of my commitment to be a social and economic force for good.
2. Was it difficult getting internal support for moving toward this model?
When I started GiveMore, one of my founding goals was to become an Oregon Benefit Company. From day one, I had the legalese written into my operating agreement, but thought it was going to be years before I could officially become certified. Then one day I attended a seminar on the certification process and learned how easy it was to take the next step and immediately took action. It was a no-brainer.
3. How long did it take you to officially become a Benefit Company?
It didn’t take long to become a benefit company because I was already acting as one. BCFG confirmed this and gave me additional suggestions that made sense for my company.
4. Have you seen any change in culture since you became a Benefit Company?
Since taking the plunge and officially becoming an Oregon Benefit Company, we decided to embrace the philosophy and take it to a whole new level. At GiveMore, we are willing to try new things. Everything is a test and if it works, we keep it. We set about to test our pricing model by eliminating our platform fee altogether in favor of tipping. While we have other revenue sources, this was our primary source of income and I am proud to say that the community has welcomed this decision and the financial results speak for themselves. Needless to say, this pricing model is here to stay.
5. Have you experienced any positive outcomes since becoming a Benefit Company?
Aside from our pricing model changes, I feel that being an Benefit Company has strengthened our brand and reinforces that we are here to be a force for good within our community.
6. Would you recommend this business model to others? Why or why not?
I would absolutely recommend that other companies join the movement and become benefit companies. It helps to set a clear expectation to customers and investors that people and planet matter and while it is important to be profitable, it is also important to do it in a way that respects everything in the value chain.
7. What is the most important trait to have as a conscientious leader of a Benefit Company?
One of the major characteristics of a leader is communicating the vision. By doing it well, you will rally your staff and customers and create and nurture motivation. Selling a vision that resonates will extend the reach of your influence and building that vision around being a benefit company will help ensure decisions are always held in perspective of the Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet, and Profit.
8. What lessons have you learned in the process?
My biggest lesson was that I didn’t have to wait as long as I thought I needed to. The process was easy and now I am benefiting from stronger brand alignment.
9. Is being a Benefit Company part of your current brand message?
As part of our branding efforts, we communicate our certified benefit company status on our “about page” as well as occasional communications to our customer base.
10. What is the single best reason you'd give for another company or peer to become a Benefit Company?
Being a benefit company helps communicate to your investors and customers what is important to you and your organization. Set the tone now, get certified, and join the rest of us in this movement.
You can learn more about GiveMore here.