Beyond the Pitch
GiveGame Makes Every Event a Fundraising Opportunity
Serial entrepreneur Matt Golis returned to Ohio after twenty years and a big success in Silicon Valley with a big vision. He wanted to build a gaming platform to help nonprofits raise donations from new audiences in new fun ways. And he wanted to create that company—now called GiveGame—in Columbus.
“People are starting to realize that you can have a low cost of living and a cool environment,” Golis said. “One of the many benefits of Columbus is that a startup can attract excellent talent here.”
GiveGame is a fantasy sports platform that raises money for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. With “gamified giving,” a unique approach to fundraising and contributing, GiveGame turns more than fifty live events into games for players, and a new source of donors and donations for charities.
Market Validation Resets Company Focus
“Our original concept was born from the idea that lots of people enjoy fantasy sports,” Golis said. “Most people are playing for real money; most lose that money most of the time. With GiveGame, when they play, the money goes to support the nonprofit of their choice.”
GiveGame’s first focus, Golis says, was to focus on philanthropic donors who could set up private leagues to compete on sports and other trending events with the proceeds going to the charity chosen by the team that scored the most points.
However, as with many successful startups, during the process of market validation, a pivot occurred.
“Through testing, we pivoted to nonprofits and cause-champions—people who are raising money to support 501(c)(3) nonprofits,” said Golis.
“With GiveGame, organizations and individuals can pick and choose which live events they want to leverage,” he said. “Instead of ‘put in your credit card and give me money’ they can invite their friends and family to ‘come and play The Masters or the Ryder Cup with me.’ It’s a way to raise money multiple times as people play in different events.”
GiveGame Offers More Than Fifty Events and Continues to Expand
The GiveGame experience is geared toward the consumer and the donor. “We have a platform that can be adapted for any live event,” Golis said.
From Academy Award, to Country Music Awards to reality TV—think the Bachelorette or Dancing with the Stars—there are trending choices sure to engage donors, no matter what their entertainment interests. GiveGame can even create a custom event.
“If you are a K-12 school, and you want to set up a band competition as a customer event, or if you are a corporation and want to set up team events at an outing, we can do that, too,” Golis said.
While GiveGame is raising donations for the PTA or food pantry, donors are thinking about the cause while they are watching the Game or the Week or the weekly episode of Big Brother.
“It helps keep the cause top of mind for another forty-eight hours,” Golis said, “and helps nonprofits reach the 25 to 34-year-old Millennial age group in a fun and repeatable way.”
Creating a fund raiser is easy with GiveGame; the cause can be as local as a food bank or as far-reaching as curing cancer.
“We believe that most nonprofits with choose between four and ten events to meet their fundraising goal,” Golis said.
Ninety percent of the donations are released to the charities. (GiveGame’s current fee is 10 percent of proceeds.) Nonprofits can receive reports on donors and amounts. Donations may be 90 percent tax deductible to the donor if they self-report charitable donations.
GiveGame is a Fun Alternative to Standard Fundraising Techniques
GiveGame helps nonprofits expand their fundraising comfort zone by doing something dramatically different. “Instead of selling cookie dough or popcorn,” Golis said, “nonprofits can raise money by sponsoring a game that people really want to play. It’s a fun way for people to donate.”
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