Vancouver Startup Gives Back to Community Through Crowdfunding

Made famous by websites like “Kickstarter,” crowdfunding has become an easy and effective means of raising money for projects. Vancouver-based tech startup “Weeve” makes use of this practice to raise money for local community projects and is the first in the world which uses a “freemium” model, allowing nonprofit organizations to keep money raised on Weeve without transaction fees. Weeve launched its beta website this week and is already seeing donations come in.

Weeve users are asked to “give smarter” by allowing their dollars to go directly into community projects in need of funding. Beta-launch partners include Seva Canada, YouthCo, SharkTruth, and BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Through Weeve, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s “Campaign for BC Children” is aiming to raise $5000 to help build a new hospital.

“Partners like the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation benefit from Weeve through a number of means. First of all, our website lets them keep every dollar that they raise,” says Trevor Loke, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Weeve, “We equip nonprofits with the platform and tools needed to reach audiences they may never have tapped into before. We also give tech-savvy and socially-conscious citizens an easy way to give small amounts of money that add up to create real change right where they live – change they can see. Weeve empowers nonprofit organizations to reach these crowds.”

Alex Chuang, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, says that Weeve is the solution to a greater issue that is affecting nonprofits around the globe, “Individual giving in Canada peaked in 1991 when 30% of Canadians gave to charities. Today, that number hovers at less than 1 in 4 – an all-time low. Nonprofits worldwide are feeling the brunt of governments which are cutting their funding, making crowdfunding a tangible solution for the funding crisis in the nonprofit sector.”

Other organizations and community projects will be launched in the coming weeks. To check out current projects visit www.weeve.it.

Weeve founders consist of CEO Alex Chuang, a graduate of the Master of Management program at the UBC Sauder School of Business; COO Trevor Loke, a marketing, communications and fundraising professional who is also an elected official in the City of Vancouver as Vancouver Park Board Commissioner; and CTO Vincent Chu, who has worked for companies including SAP & IBM. All founders are 23 years old. And here is what they look like:

Alex Chuang- Founder and CEO

Trevor Loke- Founder and COO

Vincent Chu- Founder and CTO

Charity and Community – Hand Outs and Cheapskates

I was just approached in the office to buy a raffle ticket for $10, three for $25.  The prize was a trinket that I’d never keep.  The reason for the raffle: a guy who works here was just diagnosed with prostate cancer and was headed into surgery today.  One of his friends/co-workers was collecting money for his family, just a bit extra to cover take-out and gas back and forth to the hospital.  It probably won’t amount to much, but it’ll help.  I’m sure it’ll be really, really appreciated too.

It’s Movember this month and I didn’t carve a moustache from my beard.  I probably should have and now feel a stab of guilt for not raising money for finding a cure.  Prostate cancer.  Life’s great kick in the balls. I’m really lucky; I haven’t been forced to think about cancer very much.  All my friends who have had cancer have survived and are still surviving.  Invincibility is still attached to my aging youth.  But cancer, or whatever fate, is out there and none of us know if or when we’ll have to face our battle.  Will your community be there for you when it happens?  Is giving now just flimsy good-karma insurance?

When I consider the raffle, my mind moves to the big campaigns – the posters and runs, pink ribbons and testimonies from survivors.  All this to encourage society to search for a cure.  I’ll admit to not giving as much money as I should.  Logically, I know how important it is.  Emotionally, I feel for the millions of people this affects.  But when I see the campaign by the Canadian Cancer Society I don’t feel connected.  I don’t know the people.

Ah, and there it is.

There’s the problem.

My problem is the problem so many face.  We don’t know people in Mogadishu who are struggling with drought and joblessness.  I don’t know anyone in the favelas of Sao Paulo either who don’t have clean running water.  There are so many people in need, so many folks on the street in urban Canada, struggling communities in our north…the list is overwhelming.  Who gets my charity dollars and how much should I give?

I’ve chosen to buy the raffle ticket this time.  I felt moved to do so.  It was direct.  It was for a guy who works with us.  If I didn’t give, I don’t think I’d be doing justice to my community.  It was real.

But what of the others?  Where do I go for these answers?  I feel like I’m there, ready to give.  Now what?

Awesome masthead photo by derekp

Foodbank Fundraiser – Community of Giving

Help Steve and the Food Bank this winter!

Help Steve and the Food Bank this winter!

This December, Steve Tannock of Get To Know Your Community fame will be bringing together several other businesses for a fundraiser to help Vancouver’s Food Bank.

The sweetest thing about the whole thing is that the companies will be matching donations up to $900. That means if the $900 in donations are made,  $1800 will be raised to help poorer folks. Here’s the list of companies pitching in:

Way to go Steve, Lauren (who’s a friend of ours from Raised Eyebrow) and the rest of your crews.

If you’re interested in attending the fundraiser, it’s on December 2nd at 5pm at Library Square Public House. You can find more information on it all and donate to the cause if you can’t make it (like me!) on Steve’s site.