Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Reelcause on many campaigns, as well as watch them grow to a newly public company. Reelcause is developing an excellent reputation as The Investment Banker of the not for profit world. I am proud to have Reelcause presenting at The Brewer Group’s Impact Investor Conferencein Minneapolis on June 19th. They are a company recognized as a beacon of social change and responsibility. I’ve been lucky enough to utilize Reelcause for a few of the Jack Brewer Foundation campaigns, such as the Malawi Flood Reliefand, in partnership, to support the Immune Therapeutics Healthcare Initiative. I sat down with Michael Jacobson and took the opportunity to learn more about Reelcause as a company.
Brewer: How did you choose to start a business focused primarily on philanthropy?
I am also Chair of the Montessori Model UN program and I saw how hard it was for students to raise money for their projects. Our participating schools raise more than $40,000 a year, and I knew the students and the parents needed help. When I looked at the other online programs, I realized they were designed to assist current campaigns, and that their models for donor development were ineffective. I also found that more than a third of campaigns failed to meet their goals, and that many of the ones that met their goals would have met them without paying for an expensive online support program
Brewer: The company assists those who are unable to reach the goals needed for their nonprofits. When and how did you come to this vision as a business model?
When I realized that a key element of a campaign had to be Donor Development, I knew that was the key to a successful campaign. No one wakes up in the morning thinking, "Who will I donate to today?” They wake up and want to be entertained; they want to feel good. That is when the basis for Reelcause hit me. We needed to design a site that supported the nonprofit by making their core supporters feel entertained and providing a value they would want to share with others. In reality, Reelcause is an entertainment site, and raising significant revenue for an organization is the byproduct.
Brewer: How do you and your employees at Reelcause find causes to support? Or do you find the company serves as an overall supporting player?
From the day we launched, organizations have been coming to us. What they like is that we offer more than a "one-size fits all" approach. We help them to leverage their resources offline through our Partners for Progress program as well as providing a custom online program without any start-up costs.
Brewer: How do you implement the organization of Reelcause to help nonprofits find their right donors/sponsors and vice versa?
Our automated People Sourcing Program works off of the organization’s core email list and through referral rewards, random prizes, entertainment, contests and value purchases. All of these generate referrals that may not donate, but who will do something on the site that generates passive income. In our Marketplace they may buy a $100 shopping certificate for $70. That $30 savings generates a happy person who will be back for more values, and can generate $15 for the organization. After coming back a few times, a significant percentage will convert to also making a donation. Regardless of whether or not they ever donate, they are generating revenue for the organization 24/7 – no other platform does that.
Brewer: Reelcause is a brand new public company over these past few months, how do you see this helping the company’s growth?
WIthout burdening the nonprofit, all of the revenue streams we create for them also create revenues for us. As our programs roll out, we will be growing revenue for our clients and benefitting our shareholders.
Brewer: How do you see Reelcause competing with KickStarter.com and GoFundMe.com?
They are really just well-established niche players and our models are different. Kickstarter sells a product or a cultural program and GoFundMe is a onetime campaign that fails to meet the goal for too many of their clients. Our program generates revenue all year long without burdening an organization’s supporter base. Instead, we entertain them.
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