By Samantha McKay, Communications Intern
MiCharity Inc. is changing the way Canadians fundraise and donate money.
The Toronto-based startup is working to ensure that all charities have access to digital fundraising tools created specifically with their needs — and budget — in mind.
Last year, in April 2015, Rob Nour, startup entrepreneur, saw that the charities he was involved with in the GTA didn’t have the tools they needed to collect donations digitally and efficiently. So, he formed a team and used the lean startup methodology, to develop a bootstrapped prototype of a platform that would help charities enter the digital age to test with early-adopters—and so MiCharity Inc. was born.
“We worked with them to develop the right tools to collect donations and we realized that we had to combine multiple services in order to empower these charities to make giving easier and more efficient for their donors,” said Rob Nour, MiCharity Founder and CEO.
Now in its beta testing phase, MiCharity is an online fundraising platform that allows charities to collect donations, engage donors, focus fundraising campaigns by leveraging big data analytics tools and SMS and email marketing campaigns. MiCharity also provides its client charities with event registration tools, as well as online and mobile donation software.
Micharity also leverages Data Analytics to translate donor insights into concrete initiatives that drive fundraising campaigns. Charities and non-profits can acquire, develop and retain high-value donors more profitably and effectively, gain important insights to increase acquisition, and drive donor lifetime value.
To date, MiCharity has 24 charities using the platform that was developed hand-in-hand with the MiCharity team. MiCharity has collected more than $19.3 million in donations for its client charities.
While there are other companies that offer fundraising tools to charities, what sets MiCharity apart is its Donors Perks program, in which donors receive rewards each time they donate money. MiCharity has perks agreements with more than 50 organizations such as the Apple, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE), Cineplex, Costco, and VIA Rail Canada.
MiCharity got started inside two startup incubators: the RIC Centre and I-CUBE. Nour said being housed within incubators helped the company immensely by providing access to resources, industry leaders, information about grants and funding, and product development assistance.
Nour added that receiving mentorship from the RIC Centre’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Geoff Simonett, was particularly helpful in propelling MiCharity forward.
“Geoff gave us unique and refreshing perspectives on the direction of our platform during its early stages. He pushed us to focus and add features to our platform that would challenge and disrupt the industry, such as our Donor Perks loyalty program. We are the first and only platform to provide this solution to charities,” Rob said.
Since completing its incubator tenures, MiCharity has received more than $60,000 in grant money to grow its offerings.
In April 2016, MiCharity won first prize and $6,500 in grant funding at I-CUBE’s Best Development Company competition.
MiCharity also received $60,000 in SmartStart Seed Funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) in May 2016. This funding is awarded to startups founded by entrepreneurs aged 18 to 29.
“We are very happy with the accomplishments and traction we’ve had so far, and we are excited about the future of MiCharity,” said Rob of MiCharity’s success so far.
MiCharity is headed towards exciting times. Nour said the company is planning its hard launch in August 2016, which will bring more than 43 charities on board the MiCharity platform.