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Givezooks! Online Philanthropy Just Got Easier
What’s a givezooks?
That was the question on everyone’s mind before a new Santa Barbara-based startup provided a sneak peak for local nonprofit organizations Wednesday at Montecito Country Club. Afterward, those in attendance at the official launch not only knew the answer but had an idea of how it can help their own group’s online fundraising. One lucky winner even left with a $1,000 donation to the nonprofit of her choice, courtesy of Montecito Bank & Trust.
The company found a ready audience Wednesday.
Andrea McFarling, development director for Marymount of Santa Barbara, raved about givezooks! The K-8 independent school on the Riviera used givezooks! for its 2007-08 Annual Fund campaign and raised $350,000.
“We were running a capital campaign at the same time with limited resources,” McFarling said. “We typically rely on a host of volunteers to run our Annual Fund. When I heard about givezooks! I thought, ‘Let’s try it.’
The four givezooks! founders, technology executives with a history of success in the Silicon Valley, formed the company as an angel-funded startup in October 2007. Since July, more than 25 nonprofits in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Monterey counties have utilized the program in a pre-release stage for social fundraising. These nonprofits range across the education, human services, arts, environmental and religious sectors.
“In our work with nonprofits, we recognized that smaller community-based organizations don’t have the resources of large nonprofit organizations, but have the same requirements to leverage the Internet in their fundraising initiatives and marketing outreach,” said Carol Schrader, CEO and co-founder of givezooks!
“Individual donors, corporations and foundations represent potential resources for nonprofits, so why not bring them all together in the same marketplace online, in a model that has been successful connecting buyers and sellers for commercial purposes for years? Providing the definitive online marketplace for community-based philanthropy is our goal and yielding more money to the cause is our objective.”
“A critical part to our offering is the ability for nonprofits of any size to leverage the Internet and enable the next generation of philanthropy,” Fazio said. “Similarly, donors, corporations and foundations are all seeking ways to simplify the giving process and engage more productively in their communities.
“We wanted to level the playing field by removing the technology hurdles from the equation. We handle that for the nonprofit, and they can focus on what really matters, which is the mission of their organization, the cause.”
givezooks! creates an online community based on geographic locations. Within that geography, nonprofits, donors, corporations and foundations can sign up to participate in community-based initiatives. Local philanthropic and fundraising news, corporate initiatives, collaboration and volunteer opportunities all can be part of a givezooks! community site.
Multiple community launches — Santa Barbara’s site, santabarbara.givezooks.com, was the first — will lead up to the givezooks! national launch early next year.
The more than 100 attendees at Wednesday’s invitation-only demonstration had the opportunity to receive special discounts for givezooks! and enter a Montecito Bank & Trust-sponsored raffle to win a $1,000 charitable donation. Bambi Leonard, member services director of Lotusland, was the lucky winner of the raffle, which was presented by bank president and CEO Janet Garufis.
Tracy Valenzi is marketing manager for givezooks!
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