Startup Radius interviewed DonorSee – a really wise charity (but still a for-profit) startup, that allows you to easily see where your funds are spent. Their target audience is anyone who is tired of giving and not knowing where their money actually went. Discover how guys from DonorSee started a charity startup, how they spend $0 on advertising, what challenges they faced and how they were featured on Huffington Post, USA Today, Entrepreneur and Product Hunt. Enjoy!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is DonorSee?
DonorSee allows people to give directly to specific needs all over the world, then receive raw video showing exactly how their dollars helped change someone’s life – often just days after. Here is a great example of a recent project: https://donorsee.com/project/745
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or the big idea?
I lived in Malawi for three years, where I started a non-profit organization called HOWMS. With HOWMS, I saw that it only took small amounts of money to help people in a big way. Then, in 2015 I fundraised $100,000 to start a girls school in Malawi, called Girls Shine Academy. I provided regular video updates on the school and it was through this that I realized how effective it was to show people exactly how their money was being spent.
I decided to combine these two ideas in 2016 with DonorSee, where small donations can make a big difference, and users can receive updates on the project they donate to.
Time for bragging! How big is your charity startup – traffic, users, anything else?
In less than a year we have grown to over 50 countries, and have been featured in National Review, Huffington Post, USA Today, Product Hunt, and Entrepreneur On Fire.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
The main competition are charities. There are some that do a good job, but many that do a terrible job. Here is a quick comparison article – https://my.visme.co/projects/g7mm9gyx-donorsee-vs-the-red-cross
Who uses your services/sites? What is your perfect user persona?
Anyone who is tired of giving and not knowing where their money actually went.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
Getting on the Tom Woods Show podcast. He has a large and very loyal base of listeners. When that aired, it really gave us a huge boost early on.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?
Getting the app in the apple store. There were a few technical hurdles, but eventually our team was able to maneuver around them 🙂
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?
Everything will take longer than you think it will. Plan accordingly.
Which marketing channels you prefer and why?
We have done virtually zero paid advertising. The awesome thing about DonorSee is that people want to share the awesome follow up videos they receive after they give. This has led to some exponential growth for us!
Do you monetize somehow or it’s a 100% charity?
Our charity startup is a for-profit company, and here’s why: http://www.gretglyer.com/donorsees-superior-humanitarian-aid-model/
What are the top products/services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?
Slack and Facebook have been our most utilized tools.