Indy-based OneCause is celebrating a full year under its new brand identity as well as a move from a single-point solution centered around nonprofit events to a year-round fundraising solution that helped nonprofit organizations raise $440 million in 2018.
Product success is likely a result of the company’s recent acquisition, a $4 million funding round, and a focused hiring strategy — just a few topics we discussed with OneCause CEO Steve Johns.
A year of changes sets up OneCause for success
OneCause maintains a suite of cloud-based fundraising solutions for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits can sign up for access to the company’s tools and resources to augment their capabilities with securing and retaining new donors. Previously, OneCause specifically targeted event fundraising like galas. With more than 20,000 fundraising events under its belt, OneCause gained a lot of experience in this field. It also gained a lot of attention from the Indiana tech community, winning several Mira Awards over the years for its technology platform.
In 2018, however, OneCause made a significant push in new directions, wanting to capture the whole value chain of the donor experience. Its acquisition of Austin-based Great Feats added a peer-to-peer fundraising component to their software suite, enabling OneCause to support more social fundraising activities. With this and an enhanced text-to-give platform, OneCause is helping to build donor value beyond an annual gala event. “We continue to lead innovation with our mobile bidding and event management, but we’ve also added three new products to deliver on the promise of year-round fundraising,” said Steve.
Powered by these new tools and a focus on generating scalable revenue, OneCause helped nonprofits raise $440 million in 2018, which pushed the company past the $1.5 billion lifetime -raised mark. OneCause has worked with more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations since launching in 2008.
The company is well-positioned to take on an ever-growing market. Giving USA, a national initiative that tracks philanthropic giving, notes that in 2017, U.S. philanthropic giving surpassed $400 billion for the first time ever, with about 70 percent of those gifts coming from individual donors. This growth presents new markets and opportunities for investors. In September 2018, OneCause closed a $4 million round of funding to support market expansion. According to Steve, this capital infusion is enabling OneCause to accelerate product development, build a scalable revenue engine and leverage new technology. “In 2018 our product team actually grew by 56 percent,” said Steve. “It was a big investment and a big use of that new capital.”
Bold growth plans need tech and talent
Talent will play a significant factor in OneCause’s continued expansion. While the company notes its Indy-based staff has grown 30 percent year-over-year, it’s always looking for skilled individuals. As a participant in the Sales Bootcamp program, which skills up individuals seeking a career in tech sales, OneCause is discovering some new talent opportunities. The company provides space and contributes to part of the six-week program. From the interactions enabled during the bootcamp, OneCause has secured several top-tier performers.
“What we offer is the ability to develop staff professionally in an environment that’s purpose-driven and mission-focused,” said Steve. “Every day, sales development reps—and everyone at the company—comes to work with the single goal of helping our clients achieve their missions of doing good in the world and making the world a better place. I think that we do bring a tremendous work experience, but I also think we bring a tremendous cultural experience to the sales team.”
All the experience OneCause has gathered in the past decade is also empowering the company to produce thought-leading reports about giving and philanthropy. Of note is their Social Donor Study, released in 2018, a first of its kind study that dives into the motivating factors for people who give at galas and events, the “social donor.”
“What we’re doing is trying to help our customers understand what’s driving those social donors,” said Steve. “What’s driving them is three components, which we’ve shortened to EMI: the E is ease of use, the M is mission or connection with a mission, and the I is impact or understanding the impact of a gift.”
For 2019, OneCause is doubling down on its unique value proposition of combining the social aspect of peer-to-peer fundraising with the mobile bidding function for galas and events. Unlocking the concept of “ambassador fundraising,” or challenging organizational leaders with competitive social fundraising activities, will help set OneCause apart as well. “We’re going to lead growth in both mobile bidding and peer-to-peer, but what we’re really focusing on with a big capital F is fundraising,” said Steve. “We’re taking all of the point solutions that we previously went to market with and combining them under the umbrella of year-round fundraising.”
Learn more about OneCause.