How many people set out to help nonprofits with their online fundraising efforts? Specifically during COVID-19, nonprofits are unable to gather their donors together for fundraising events. These events often times are their main funding drivers. Meet the startup co-founders that are simplifying and automating fundraising campaigns for nonprofits through their business, Kindest. With the SaaS platform from Kindest, nonprofit organizations are able to launch a fundraising campaign with an outreach calendar and pre-populated campaigns that are published through social media and sms all with the click of a button. No need for a big team or stress. Kindest does it all while also nourishing the supporter base to increase donations for nonprofits.
We had a chance to interview Holly McKay and David Semerad, the co-founders of Kindest, and asked about their story, how they started their business and the future of Kindest.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
David and I met at STRV, a development agency he started 17 years ago. He was the CEO and I was in Sales. We have about 200 designers and engineers there. We worked with companies like Microsoft, Hallmark, LegalZoom, and Tinder. We were getting contacted more and more from the sales side about building out a better way to fundraise online. Not understanding that building an app or website cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, they weren't able to afford our rates. David and I both understand first hand the terrible technology that is available to nonprofits and NONE of it met our standards. So we decide to embark on creating a tool as a passion project. The further we got into this side passion project we realized how fragmented the market truly is, that there nothing that meets our standards for technology, and that these platforms are not only charging thousands of dollars for the technology but also are taking a cut from all donations. In September 2018, David and I stepped out of STRV to work on this 100%. David brought 2 of his co-founders, our CTO and Head of Design along with.
How did you come up with your business name?
We choose it because we believe it's not important if you're the richest, coolest, or strongest, but the kindest. Because people should be aiming to be the kindest they can be above everything else.
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
We offer a technology platform that enables nonprofits to fundraise online through campaigns that convert at a higher rate. We allow nonprofits to engage with donors through our community features and allow them to recognize all their donors for their contributions. We also offer dedicated support that helps with all your fundraising efforts. We have many case studies where our clients make 4x more a year in individual donations than when they weren't using Kindest!
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
Our technology is completely free; we do not charge or take a cut of donations in order to use it. We help nonprofits create a community for their donors to recreate the social belonging element and in-person support in the digital world. We also offer an upgraded service where they can have a dedicated client success rep to strategize, coach, and manage their fundraising efforts.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
We believe that especially with our innovative features around communities for donors we are setting the trends for online fundraising. Our goal is to further decrease the amount of time needed to run campaigns while making the communications to donors more transparent. We want to free nonprofits from old-school overpriced solutions in the market and give them a free alternative.
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
The best product always wins. It takes time for people to notice and recognize you for it though. If you believe your product is the best you just need to keep working hard every day and not give up. The only thing between you and success is yourself. No one else can stop you from building your dream. Take extreme ownership of your success.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
“If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.” – The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
We've failed more times than we have been right at Kindest, but we've learned so much! If you're willing to take a chance at failure, you can move much faster than someone that's afraid to be wrong. It's important to be comfortable failing because it leads to constantly asking for feedback and advice. You're never done learning.
What have been some of your achievements that you are most proud of? Why?
Being able to come in in the middle of giving season and help Boys and Girls Club San Francisco raise 250% of their goal. They are an incredible team of talented individuals and we’re extremely proud to be able to be the platform of choice for them.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
If you truly care about a cause / nonprofit helping in your area tell them about Kindest. We promise you that we’re on track to disrupt the online fundraising world as we know it. We promise that we’re making the absolute best product that brings nonprofits and donors together.q