STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: ALL NON-PROFITS HAVE THIS ONE, MAJOR PROBLEM

Kaitlin Reimann, Co-Founder, uBack, contributor

By September 6, 2017, 6:24 pm EDT

    Millennials get a hard time in the media. They’re scolded for being ‘The most coddled generation’. The most narcissistic. Self-centered. Selfish. The term ‘slacktivism’ was coined as a way to capture the new feel-good and self-congratulatory new world of online petitions, and social groups on social media – low effort, low commitment activism. Millennials, as planet Earth’s first digitally native generation, were prominently tarred with that same brush – it certainly fit the stereotype.

    The reality, of course is a bit nuanced. 70% of Millennials did 1 hour or more of volunteering in previous year; 37% for more than 10 hours. This is according to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, part of yearly research series by the Achieve group, and sponsored by the Case Foundation. In that report, they also found 84% of Millennials had made a charitable donation in the previous year; but only 22% did so for a cause promoted by their employer

    It seems that charitable organizations, and businesses that support them need help engaging the a new generation of digitally native employees. Techweek CEO, Amanda Signorelli, sat down with Kaitlin Reimann, Co-Founder of uBack, who aims to do just that.

    • Amanda: So what problem is uBack solving? And why does it matter?

      Kaitlin: Did you know that the “altruistic impulse” for individuals lasts for 8 seconds? And then it is gone! You compound that with the fact that 47% of donation opportunities are abandoned because the process is not engaging or intuitive. 120 billion dollars in potential donations is lost. Our country’s 1.2 million non-profits have a clear problem. uBack is the answer. To put this in perspective, it is estimated that $11B could solve our global fresh-water issue. Just think of what issues we could solve if we made sure these giving opportunities were not lost.
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    • Amanda: And how does uBack help solve the problem?

      Kaitlin: uBack is a mobile fintech company that is revolutionizing the way we give – providing companies, nonprofits and individual donors with the power to change the world in 8 seconds. We are the first-ever mobile, data-driven and socially connected platform that provide companies, nonprofits and donors the insights, collaboration and engagement they need to make a greater impact in their communities. In short, we are changing the giving conversation to help change the world.

    • Amanda: How big has uBack has grown?

      Kaitlin: uBack currently partners with 850,000 non-profits, thousands of donors and over 100 companies.

    • “The “altruistic impulse” for individuals lasts for 8 seconds? And then it is gone!”

    • Amanda: Wow! What was your “aha” moment when you recognized this problem – and that you could solve it?

      Kaitlin: I saw this problem from 2 angles: A few years ago, I was serving as a board member of a non-profit. At the same time, at work, I was a champion for Accenture’s employee giving program. I witnessed first hand saw the drop-off in donations when the process was not engaging or intuitive. We quickly realized that a mobile data-driven solution could solve the problem.

    • Amanda: What is an interesting trend in the non-profit world that you think will change the industry over the next 5 years?

      Kaitlin: Data-driven philanthropy is relatively new. Predictive analytics have been used to drive the decision-making process in almost every industry to-date. The nonprofit space has not kept-up and now there is an intense focus in the industry on introducing and adopting advanced analytics. uBack capitalizes on this within our platform. In 5 to 10 years, the ease and simplicity with which a donor can donate time, money or goods will lead to new innovations in social engagement for philanthropic initiatives.

    • Amanda: How do you attract customers and clients?

      Kaitlin: We are creating a dual-sided marketplace, so we need to attract both nonprofits and companies to our platform. On the nonprofit side we benefit from a strategic partnership with Charity Navigator and referrals. On the for-profit side of our marketplace we rely on referrals, digital marketing and partnerships to help us grow our customer-base.

    • Amanda: Was there anything special you remember about landing that very first client?

      Kaitlin: The story of our first corporate customer is a special one for us on team uBack. One Friday afternoon we received a phone call from a financial service organization that is known for their philanthropic prowess. They told us that the Corporate Social Responsibility leader from another leading technology company had told them to check-out uBack because “we weren’t like the other solutions”. They liked that we were innovating and reinventing the Corporate Social Responsibility Technology space. Wow! We were thrilled to hear this and after a handful of demos and conversations with the financial service organization we were proud to say that they became the first customer of uBack. To this day our first customer still plays an important role for us as they have helped to guide / shape our roadmap and success.

    • Amanda: Tell us about raising capital – have you raised? What did you learn?

      Kaitlin: uBack completed a $2M seed-plus round of funding in 2016 where we partnered with the Atlanta Seed Company.

    • Amanda: Tell us about you – why were you a good fit to found uBack?

      Kaitlin: I am the youngest of four in an Irish / Italian family that would moved eleven times as a family. Growing-up I was often asked if we were a military family and we were not! My dad was in HR for General Electric in the 70s and 80s when they would move your family from project-to-project. Each time we arrived in a new city we would build roots by volunteering and engaging in community service with great nonprofits like Angela Hospice, Special Olympics, Focus Hope, Salvation Army, etc. This shaped how our family thought about our purpose as individuals. As a teenager and adult I found that I rejuvenate my energy by leading corporate-giving initiatives and supporting great non-profits like Heartland Alliance, Cook County Health Foundation, Girls Take Charge and Ryan Banks Academy. After seeing the challenges in engaging employees in giving initiatives and engaging supporters for the nonprofits, I knew there was a better way!

    • Amanda: How many people are employed by you today? Are you hiring – if so who should apply?

      Kaitlin: uBack has 12 full-time employees. We are hiring for development, product and data science resources who want to help us change the world. Join us by e-mailing recruiting@ubackforgood.com.

    • Amanda: Rapid fire question time – three phrases to describe uBack’s company culture?

      Kaitlin: Focus on Impact, Be Bold, Create Positive Change

    • Finally – the big one – what would be your company’s unofficial mascot?

      Kaitlin: Cheetah – quick and agile!