The result is CommitChange, which went “live” Dec. 5 and is now seeking a wider audience and outside investors.
Bolton, Campbell, in charge of business and marketing, and the two co-founders of MerchantOS, an Olympia-based company that developed one of the first Web-based point-of-sale software systems for retailers, are the founders behind CommitChange. Their Web designer is James Franzen.
CommitChange is more than a website PayPal “donate” button or the one-time funds generated by sites such as Kickstarter, Campbell said, offering instead a deeper experience for the donor interested in a local nonprofit.
“Donors don’t always see the tangible impact of their dollars,” he said.
Using the recurring payment system, donors can contribute as little as $10 a month to the nonprofit of their choice, such as Garden Raised Bounty (GRuB), Harlequin Productions, SafePlace and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
CommitChange is working with 30 to 35 nonprofits, mostly in Thurston County, with room to grow to 50, Campbell said.
SafePlace executive director Mary Pontarolo praised the site, saying it gives potential donors the time to make thoughtful, planned donations on a regular basis. In return, Safe Place also can set up a corresponding “thank you” system to make its donor relationships grow, she said. It’s also more exposure for SafePlace in the community.
“I see it growing exponentially,” she said about local giving to SafePlace.
CommitChange offers detailed profiles of the nonprofits, including videos and statistics, plus donors can build their own profiles, either public or private, that tracks their donations and achievements.
Donor amounts are not disclosed, he said.
One key aspect of the business is that it can track a donors overall “network impact” – aided by its integration with Facebook – showing the number of donors recruited by one person and the total amount of money raised. CommitChange, meanwhile, makes its money by charging the nonprofits a transaction and service fee, Campbell said. “The cost to be in our database is zero,” Bolton added.
Up next for the startup is to raise $200,000 to $300,000 by the end of the first quarter, hopefully with the assistance of an angel investor – those high-net-worth individuals who are looking to invest.
“We want to work with people who really get what we’re doing socially,” Campbell said.
Co-founders: Roderick Campbell, Jay Bolton and the two founders of MerchantOS, Justin Laing and Ivan Stanojevic.
Location: 711 Capitol Way, Olympia.
Years in business: CommitChange went live Dec. 5.
Service: Online fundraising site for nonprofits, beginning with several in Thurston County.
Did you know? Both Campbell and Bolton are recent graduates of The Evergreen State College. Bolton, after first studying at St. John’s College in New Mexico, transferred to Evergreen to study computer science, while Campbell studied sociology. Campbell also brings a worldwide view to CommitChange, having spent time in as many as 30 countries growing up. His parents believed in the value of travel, so they would live in one place to earn money, then move to their next destination. One of his favorite places is Lhasa, Tibet, Campbell said. Although he has traveled around the world, he considers Casper, Wyo., to be home.Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone