Free Online Service of Young Company Attracts Angel Investors While Seeking to Profit From Sponsorships
Someone finally realized that people engaged in all the work for volunteer activities could use some help. Savvy entrepreneurs know that providing a helpful convenience to a common situation is an opportunity to profit from starting a business.
Volunteer efforts are hampered by having to marshal multiple individual contributors. The email process and reading of responses creates a headache for organizers. Providing a solution is VolunteerSpot. The Austin, Texas -based company gives volunteer activity planners a space on the web to simplify their responsibilities.
According to company founder and CEO, Karen Bantuveris, the VolunteerSpot platform is a bit like a combination of Evite and Meet-Up by managing a large number of people. For example, team coaches in youth leagues use VolunteerSpot to schedule parents who help with post-game snacks. Teachers use VolunteerSpot to recruit the volunteers for a special school event. The VolunteerSpot system allows any group organizer to assemble helpers without having to juggle so many emails.
VolunteerSpot started in 2009 and has already attracted 1.5 million members to the free online service. About three-quarters of them are parents who volunteer for school activities. The money making potential of the company is therefore the access it provides to this market.
Bantuveris believes that having so many users of VolunteerSpot makes the website attractive to sponsorship advertising. Some of the companies wanting to reach affluent moms that have sponsored VolunteerSpot are Whole Foods, Toyota, and Panteen as well as small operations that sell fundraising products or services.
In addition, VolunteerSpot is opening its platform to small non-profit organizations. They pay subscription fees for premium services, such as customized features. This allows a non-profit group with only a few employees to manage a large event or fundraising effort. Bantuveris hopes to lure large non-profits away from their customized CRM systems with a lower cost process at VolunteerSpot.
The challenge for VolunteerSpot is identifying whether the optimal business model is having advertising sponsors or attracting large-scale subscriptions to a CRM solution. With $1.5 million of backing recently raised from angel investors, the company can continue both revenue channels while considering a focus for the future.