iWillHelp is a SaaS application launched in the fall of 2012 has the overall purpose to provide a means by which business relationships can be fostered around Strategic Giving to charities.
iwillhelp closes the gap between companies, clients and community.
Tell us about yourself/your team.
From very early on, Grant has demonstrated his consummate creative entrepreneurial tendencies by recognizing, and then creating solutions for business and community processes for his own and for others companies. Being raised in the bastion of entrepreneurship, (Alberta, Canada), he has a deep understanding of what motivates business people, but also what social entrepreneurship can accomplish. His early days found Grant deep in service to others, where his involvement with Camps for underprivileged children lead him down the path of volunteerism and community service that has consumed his life. “Doing Good” is not a passing thought, it’s his mantra for living a good and wonderful life.
What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?
Grant was brought into an entrepreneurial family that created their own future upon arriving in Western Canada from Romania many years ago. A bit of a rebel within business circles, he has shaken things up for companies and industries through seizing on opportunities that he sees within certain sectors. Often miss-understood but always respected, if you were to list the most common traits of entrepreneurs; you would be describing Grant to the letter. Currently working with the largest promotional product distributor in Canada and one of the largest in North America, Grant has brought significant value to the creation of new processes, innovative products and unique marketing aspects to the company.
About Your Organization
Canada, AB, Calgary
Primary country where this project is creating social impact
Canada, AB, Calgary
Additional countries or regions
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
The Need: What social or environmental problem are you trying to solve?
It has been reported that in both Canada and the United States that Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) do very little with respect to donating part of their income to charitable causes. In fact, only about 4-5% of all charitable giving comes of this 95% of the business sector. With the volume of transactions within this sector being of Billions of dollars on any given day, there is a huge opportunity to get these companies to donate more if they were able to justify it as a business investment, rather than a philanthropic event.
You see, companies by their very nature are not geared to give away their profit. However, if we could turn that into an investment in marketing, then there would be a greater likelihood that they would allocate more to it.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Recognizing this huge opportunity for companies to give more, and also for recognizing that more and more smaller companies are incorporating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions into their business, we have created iwillhelp which is a CRM that actually has the added component of incorporating a charitable gifting platform into the client management program. Our CRM actually allows users to grant charity credits to their clients that the client can then direct to a charity of their choice. This effectively takes companies philanthropy budget and turns it into a marketing opportunity because they empower their clients to choose the charity it goes to. This effectively is a client rewards program where the benefit ends up with a charity, rather than the individual.
The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?
The Growth of CRM’s for SME’s is huge with many different creators of these types of applications popping up all the time. The one thing we have not seen is a CRM that not only tracks a client’s activity, but also incorporates a valuable “thank you” component. Our CRM has a built in rewards program where a user can provide a thank you, reward or acknowledgment to their client by giving them the opportunity to direct funds to a charity of their choice.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities.
A company can sign up for free and use the iwillhelp CRM component as a free utility for client management. Once they load their clients into the CRM they can allocate charity credits to each one of them at any time and for any reason. Once these charity credits are allocated, iwillhelp let’s the client know that their account has been credited and by whom. The client simply clicks on a link in this email to open their space within the CRM where they can select from over 83,000 registered charities in the iwillhelp data base. Through a few simple clicks the client indicates which charity should get the donation and when this happens the user of the CRM gets billed for the transaction. The company is only invoiced for the transaction when the charity is selected by the client. If the client never makes the selection then the company gets all the touch points, but never gets charged for it. It’s customer engagement of the highest caliber when they work together to allocated a portion of a business transaction to a charity.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
There are many charitable gifting programs and many CRM’s out there. However, within our realm of research there are no other applications that bring together the client management systems with the component of a charitable gifting platform. Our CRM has huge potential of being a significant mover of funds because our software is portable and we intend on bringing it to other jurisdictions so we can tap into local economies as well. We will create iwillhelpcalifornia.com iwillhelporegon.com iwillhelpUK.com, and so on.
In addition, we intend on setting up API interface where other CRM’s can access our data bases of charities and money movement system. Even companies that already use other CRM’s will be able to use us to move money and engage with their clients on a deeper level.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
When I was looking a way to thank my clients that I had worked with over the years I hypothesized that there was a way that could mean more to both of us. “What if we could agree that a portion of my profit would be directed to a charity of their choice, and not mine?” This not only engages them in the gifting process because they get to allocate the funds to where they want, but also it gives me a value added touch point with them, which for me translates into a marketing opportunity. I also thought that if saw this as a wonderful marketing opportunity, what impact would this be if I made it available to others around the world. What a huge difference this could make. So what started as a personal endevour to "Do Good" and get corporate credit for it, has blossomed into a movement that all SME's could benefit as well as the charitable sector.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Our application has only been up and running for about 6 weeks, but we have already channeled money to charities through the early adopters of our program. It takes only a minute to allocate charity credits and less than a minute to donate them, so the process is very simple and convenient for all. We have had some very early good press and the program has been endorsed by some of my clients as unique, innovate and brilliant. (Isn’t that what you want your clients to say about you?)
What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?
With the amount of money that is transacted within the SME sector and with such a small amount of funds coming from this sector to charitable casuses, (largely because there hasn’t been a vehicle to facilitate this and turn it into a marketing and investment opportunity) there is simply an amazing impact that we could have around the world. It would be impossible to measure or predict, but our software is working now and is scalable. Our capacity is limitless which makes our potential astronomical.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
With our programming working and only being tweaked, our biggest hurdle will be adoption of our process. It will take tremendous resources to market and spread the word of how iwillhelp can work for a company to not only enhance their relationships with their clients but also be able to move money to charities. There is great competition with similar software programs so standing out will be a significant challenge that can be overcome by employing strategic marketing and relationship strategies. The thing is, we are a working business pushing money to charities now, so we will focus almost all of our attention on marketing with public relations being a significant part of this. Hopefully success in this contest will be a part of PR campaign.
What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?
Our business is working and we are pushing money to charities for about 40 companies that have signed up thus far. iwillhelp is building a bank of charity credits that can be turned into donations at anytime. And with iwillhelp’s commitment of only charging a 5% administration fee, we have monetized our business process.
How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?
I personally have gifted all of my LinkedIn connections $10 each for their Christmas which has caused a great stir of interest in what this iwillhelp is all about and what it can do. It has already translated into business for me through the business that originally was doing prior to me setting up iwillhelp. This is also allowing me to play with the application so we can make it even better for business poeple to use.
Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.
We can operate the business as it is through our own start up funds and through growing it organically. However, we want to make a significant impact on the gifting process by raising a significant amount of capital by way of a share offering that will secure the dedicated marketing funds required to make significant inroads in user ship.
Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.
Our program is being supported by myself and by the technology company, Lexicom whom I have worked on internet projects with since 1994. They are not only creating the programming but two of their principals have invested cash into iwillhelp because of all the programs that have viewed over the years, they feel this one has the greatest potential.
What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?
Management of BrandAlliance has been incredibly supportive of my endeavor. They see it as yet another one of my creative ventures that can provide us with a significant rewards program that can provide great benefits to our clients personal causes, which will endear us to them even more.