- Founders: Stefano La Noce, Andrea Provenzale, Paolo Bassaro
- Founded in: 2016
- Employees: 5
- Money raised: €85.000 from private investors and € 230.000 from public funding.
- Ultimate goal: Making it possible for all of us to change the world, by choosing companies that support sustainability campaigns.
Christmas is the time of conviviality and enjoying time together. But it is also a time of introspection and reflection on the well-being of the world. Not everyone has it so good. Fortunately there are plenty of people who like to do something for the less fortunate. This week before Christmas, Innovation Origins is putting the spotlight on a number of start-ups whose core business is the welfare of their fellow human beings. Read also the other stories.
Non-profit organizations struggle to raise money. Donapp provides companies a platform to fund them, where customers can decide which project to support. This way, Donapp generates a win-to-win model, where organizations get helped, and companies can engage with their customers. Stefano La Noce is Donapp’s CEO and founder.
What does Donapp do?
“Our platform allows companies willing to launch cause-related marketing campaigns, to share their budget for sustainability/charity with their customers and stakeholders. Customers get involved in this process – they are the ones who keep a company alive – guiding them in the choice of what projects to fund, without putting in any money. Companies can decide to donate a share of the money they get from purchases, or they can involve their customers in deciding what non-profits to fund through the corporate budget.”
How does it work?
“After shopping, the customer gets a link. When someone buys at a physical retailer, we print a QR code on the receipt, while with online purchases, we can send a link after the payment is done. The link redirects to the campaign’s web app where they can choose which association they want to send a donation to.”
How did you come up with this idea?
“Some years ago, a friend asked me to help him with a fundraising initiative. It went well, but I realized how difficult it was for small non-profit organizations to raise funds. Thereafter, I had a business trip to the UK. In the line for paying at a supermarket, I noticed that I could choose to insert a token in a box – there were three chests, each of them destined for a different charity. The shop would take those boxes and donate more money to the non-profit that got more tokens. Then I thought: ‘We should develop something more innovative than physical tokens since we are in 2016, after all’. Once I got back home, I did a little bit of research, spending six months studying and refining my idea. I finally came up with a solution: creating a platform that can be implemented in online and physical stores, that both big and small non-profit companies could use for fundraising.”
What do companies get out of it?
“Companies find a nice way to stimulate customer engagement, as well as to reinforce their brand. Furthermore, they get to know their customers more, by the way the choose the charity campaigns they are interested in donating to. Our platform allows them to have some flexibility in organizing their cause-related marketing campaigns. ”
Read about combatting poverty and debt with the help of AI here
What do no-profit organizations get out of it?
“In addition to the money they get from companies, they acquire a lot of data on their campaigns. They can see if these were conducted in a proper way. Most importantly, non-profits have an opportunity to make people aware of their existence, even if they don’t get a lot of votes from the shoppers. It’s a way for them to present themselves and attract more people to their network. Someone who doesn’t send a donation today might still decide to help the organization in the future.”
What’s the main challenge that you are facing?
“Finding customers is always the main one, but I have to admit that also companies’ decision-making time is a big challenge for us. Considering that what we offer is something new, and not a priority for companies, it’s easy to forget about us. However, things are changing. Firms are realizing that values such as sustainability can be important way to increase their profits too.”
“Our next goal is changing our model. We’d like our platform to develop campaigns that can involve firms differently. For instance, I am working on one about schools, with the goal of having a company as its sponsor. Nowadays, companies promote these kinds of initiatives – through their apps, or when buying something – while we’d like to have our platform as the place to go for companies. Here, they could find a certain campaign that they’d like to support. It is also about helping Donapp to evolve, through blockchain, for instance.”
In the images: the web app, Stefano La Noce, Donapp’s team.