Janelle von Kleist-Bernard: Giverise Is a Passion Project and Was Created To Have a Positive Impact on Everyone Who Uses It

August 24, 2022

GiveRise is a passion project and was created to have a positive impact on everyone who uses it: vendors, shoppers, schools and students, as well as our partner nonprofits and those who rely on their services.

It’s a peer-to-peer marketplace and resell site where vendors can post items to sell, and select a portion to donate to one of our partner organizations thereby benefiting both the seller and the nonprofit.

We are on a mission to make a difference, spread kindness and encourage others to incorporate giving into their daily lives.

Founded with the belief that anyone can make a difference, we hope it inspires others to do exactly that; to support their communities, uplift those in need, and consider sustainable living choices to help protect the environment for future generations.

Tell us about yourself?

I’d like to think that I’m a creative person; I’ve always had a passion for the arts and have been drawing and creating since I was a little girl.

My desire for creativity led me to pursue a career in marketing but I always knew I wanted more, to be a part of something bigger, something that would create positive change.

Eventually I started selling my artwork to raise money for nonprofits, and I knew that this was something that I wanted to incorporate into my everyday life.

I went looking for a fundraising marketplace that would allow me to do that and was surprised when my searches came up dry. It then became my goal to build one.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I didn’t tell anyone that I was starting this business, and I did so out of fear.

I feared that people wouldn’t like the idea, I feared that people would try to sway me not to pursue it, and I feared that I would listen. I only unveiled my venture once it was “too late”, once I had already taken the first steps and couldn’t be convinced not to proceed.

Looking back, I wish I had done that differently. I wish I had included friends and family in the process from the beginning because the overwhelming support has made a world of a difference.

Starting a new business takes a village, and people are more than happy to offer their support if you let them.

What problem does your business solve?

There are multiple challenges that come with fundraising, especially in recent times with Covid-19. GiveRise is a virtual fundraising solution that offers nonprofits and schools a new and creative way to collect donations in an increasingly digital world.

It allows for organizations to adapt to the changing landscape of fundraising brought on by aging demographics, economic struggles and digitization. Our goal is to reach the next generation of donors and provide a steady stream of revenue for organizations.

The great thing about GiveRise is that it works alongside their existing fundraising initiatives, thereby helping them to reach their goals.

For sellers, it is a cheaper option to some other resale apps and peer-to-peer marketplaces, some of which charge listing fees, and take up to 20% of the sale. As for shoppers and donors, it’s a new way to support causes close to their hearts, find great items at discounted prices, and reduce waste by participating in the second hand economy.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

The idea for GiveRise arose when I wanted to sell my own artwork to raise money for good causes and found that such a platform didn’t exist.

When I volunteered for a nonprofit and commissioned my drawings, I saw that I wasn’t the only person doing this sort of initiative. There were numerous people using their creative hobbies or reselling their gently used clothing to raise funds.

We found that it was incredibly time consuming having to send emails, track orders, collect cash or e-transfers, or make sure that the buyer donated the correct amount directly to the cause.

As someone who is active in the second hand economy, I’ve also experienced some frustrations with existing resale apps, the percentages they take and the increasingly higher prices of used items.

We hope to be the solution to all of this – an affordable online store and fundraising marketplace in one, benefiting both the shopper and seller as well as our nonprofit partners.

What is your magic sauce?

GiveRise offers a new way to fundraise and a new way for people to make money. It’s unique in that the seller who is posting an item to sell gets to choose the amount that they donate.

So whether they’re donating the full amount for a tax receipt, or only a portion and are making some money, it’s a win-win for both the seller and the nonprofits.

And unlike other peer-to-peer marketplaces, specifically resell sites, GiveRise only requires that 5% gets donated to a nonprofit.

So if you’re looking to have a meaningful side hustle and to make a little extra cash, it’s cheaper as a seller to post items on GiveRise than it is on some other resell platforms, which take 10% or even 20%.

By attracting more vendors and shoppers alike, our goal is to bring more awareness to each of our partner organizations and provide them with a whole new revenue stream without them having to expend their resources.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We have big plans for GiveRise. We are working towards welcoming all charities, schools and nonprofits across Canada to the platform, specifically the smaller organizations who don’t get funding from the government and are volunteer-run.

In 5 years, we hope to have partner organizations in every province and territory across Canada, and have the traction to provide them with a steady stream of revenue so that they don’t have to worry about the stresses of fundraising.

Our vision is to then take our services outside of Canada, supporting causes around the globe. We hope to have inspired people not to participate in the fast fashion industry, and to be mindful of the positive impact that they can have on their communities and the environment.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

GiveRise is a two-sided marketplace needing both buyers and sellers as well as nonprofits in order to function.

The biggest challenge we ran into at the beginning was a catch-22, getting organizations on board in order for vendors to sign up, and vice versa. It’s difficult to build traffic to a site if there aren’t vendors posting items and organizations for them to support.

Now that we have started to build momentum, we have been able to welcome more organizations on board and look forward to helping them reach their fundraising goals.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We would love to hear from Fundraising Managers of nonprofits to discuss the challenges they’ve been facing with fundraising and how we might be able to help.

For anyone who wants to share their thoughts, or any organizations who need the extra financial support, we can be reached at [email protected].

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