Pinkdingo, a young startup looking to breathe new life into the charity space, is announcing today that it has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from a host of angels, including John Paul DeJoria, the Founder of Patrón Spirits and Paul Mitchell Systems as well as Sunil Sani, an New York-based angel and member of the board of trustees at Save the Children. The startup has also recruited several other advisors who are well-familiar with the fundraising space, among them is Mark Sutton, Founder of Firstgiving, one of the largest P2P social fundraising platforms and Founder of General Assembly, Brad Hargrreaves.
So, what is it about this private beta startup that’s drawn some big seed funding from these fundraising veterans? For starters, Pinkdingo Founder and CEO Scott Arneill brings a refreshing attitude to the fundraising space, saying that it’s important for non-profits to realize that there’s no silver bullet that will magically allow their organizations to convince people to give bucketloads of cash to their cause, or continue to donate until the cows come home.
In fact, while many fundraising sites today are taking a social or peer-to-peer approach to giving, Pinkdingo (in spite of a somewhat humorous name) is serious about taking an alternative, and perhaps less social, approach. So, rather than enable charities to get their donors to ask friends (and their social networks) to make donations, Pinkdingo is focused on helping charities keep the donors they do convert.
“We believe that scalable and replicable innovation for charities needs to be about retention, rather than creating more ways for charities to ask more people for money”, Arneill said.
Pinkdingo wants to make it so that charities don’t have to send reminder emails, and consumers don’t have to groan over the amount of email and snail mail they receive from charitable organizations. Of course, charities are operating in one of the few spaces where players have to reacquire their customers every year and the average attrition rate for first-time donors is between 50 and 80 percent, Arneill said. (Not to mention, solutions like Causes.com, Crowdrise, and Fundly are already working in this space and have some big names behind them.)
Even for successful fundraisers, be they charity events and campaigns or what have you, once they’re finished, that’s it. The charity is left with email addresses to try to convert their customers again the following year.
So, Pinkdingo has identified the big opportunity in this space to be one that eliminates the donor reacquisition hurdle for charities by giving them engaging recurrence-based apps built for easy, run-in-the-background-type retention. Really, it’s the opposite of what’s typical in this space. Rather than build a cloud-based solution for the non-profit or charity, Pinkdingo wants to focus on the consumer-facing side — to make the giving process less painful for the one unloading their wallet.
As the specifics of the solution are still in testing, Pinkdingo isn’t yet showing all of their cards. But, from what I’ve been able to gather, in practice, this means that the startup will be launching some interesting micro-donation technology that will allow charities to get rid of that painful checkout process and better retain their customers.
“From a charity’s perspective, recurring donors are the absolute holy grail”, said Firstgiving Founder Mark Sutton. “PinkDingo’s focus on recurring donations is one that helps charities build this important part of their giving programs … And coming at this as a frustrated donor that wants to invent better ways to give — not someone who just set out to build software for charities — could make Pinkdingo incredibly successful in doing the latter”.
More to come as Pinkdingo readies its product for the market.
Check them out at home here.