2021 Charityvest Community Letter

January 27, 2021
Venture articles

The last year has had a profound shaping effect on our lives. Among many things, it has shifted our relationship with our work, changed friendships, and created new habits. It was a challenging year to build a startup company. We launched Charityvest December 2019, roughly 90 days before the fallout of COVID-19 that would reshape our lives. The shifting circumstances of 2020 put our team’s resolve and creativity to the test. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this past year didn’t come with difficulties.

Despite this, I had a front-row seat to watch the power of generosity and its ability to lift us out of the potential dread of 2020.

I saw this pattern in myself (even when it didn’t always feel great to give in the moment), others, and organizations. Despite having every excuse to turn inward, many of you affirmed that giving to others was a significant part of the answer to 2020. In April and May, as the pandemic first unfolded, we saw support for charities from Charityvest donors go up more than 50% month-over-month.

Generosity is an invitation for all to see the beauty and health in loving others beyond ourselves, despite our circumstances. Growing in giving to others can actually combat anxiety. Generosity is a key ingredient to all measures of happiness.

“Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.”
–Barbara Bush

As a community, you all were incredibly generous. It was inspiring to watch, and your giving deserves to be celebrated. It was a privilege to partner with you in 2020. 

As we look at 2021, we’re starting to ask how things might be different on the other side of COVID-19. We can all imagine how some life dynamics will return to “normal” and others are likely changed forever. There is a significant opportunity to take the generosity from 2020 and build on it. 

We are making significant strides to build better tools for giving and integrate them more deeply into our lives and work. As our world becomes more integrated with technology and the pace of change intensifies, we need new models of charitable giving and charitable integration with our lives. This is why technology is key, and why we are so excited about workplace giving. It offers integration and connection.

I invite you to join us to give more in 2021—not just more money but also how much you are invested in giving as you view your life.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Charityvest in 2020

Thank you for trusting us as your charitable partner, and we celebrate your giving and the impact it is having on the world around us. Given the context of all that 2020 contained, it’s truly incredible.

🎉 A few highlights from our donor community in 2020:
  • $8.1M donated into Charityvest Funds.
  • Over 2,100 charities supported by Charityvest donors.
  • Dozens of corporate partners launched charitable giving benefits for their employees.
  • Over hundreds of thousands of dollars in workplace matching deployed from Charityvest.
  • Over 100k unique people influenced with messages of giving and generosity from our digital marketing.
📚 In addition to the numbers above, we have heard stories of your giving, like:
  • A company coming behind technology training for the underserved. A Charityvest company mobilized a large portion of their employee base to support Byte Back, a charity that offers mid-career training in technology for people who might be getting life behind by changes in the economy. Their founder matched all the donations given by employees!
  • A company honoring the legacy of a late employee. A Charityvest company launched a giving program named for a late employee whose mantra was to “repair the world.” Their program has provided tens of thousands of dollars in community support for dozens of charities across the country and the local Atlanta community.
  • “Giving big” for a church community. We heard of a Charityvest donor who gave a significant percentage of their total life earnings to support the construction of a new building at their church to help serve the surrounding community—a community they love.
  • Friends coming together for the hungry. A group of Charityvest users came together to give both monetary and food donations to an Atlanta area food bank to serve under-resourced communities in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Honoring legacies with giving. People are organizing charitable giving fundraisers to honor the legacy of their late friends or family on the platform Everloved, fulfilled by Charityvest.

These are just a few stories we know about. We would love to hear from you if you have one. This is your generosity at work. We thank you, and we celebrate you. 

To make this possible, our Charityvest team, in spite of 2020’s challenges, leaned into building better giving tools and helping more individuals and employees of companies successfully adopt our giving funds. To do this, we’ve made significant strides to grow and build our company.

📈 A few highlights of our company’s growth to enable more giving:
  • Raised $3.9M in total venture capital
  • Participated in Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 Batch
  • Welcomed investors such as Tom Blaisdell, Teamworthy Ventures, Promus Ventures, Learn Capital, and Sovereign’s Capital.
  • Added Libby DeCamps, VP of Marketing, to our executive team.
  • Launched Charityvest for Workplaces enabling us to serve companies such as Serta Simmons Bedding, Masterclass, CallRail, Jonathan Rose Companies, The Long-term Stock Exchange, IMVU, and Mediavine, among many others.
  • Launched an in-app stock donation experience to enable easy gifts of appreciated assets, for free, for any Charityvest user.
  • Launched recurring giving. Enabling donors to put giving into and out of their Chraityvest Fund on autopilot.
  • Launched Charity Gifts. Send gifts of charitable money to friends for them to give away to any charity in their name.
  • Launched Giving Goals. Set a goal to support charities.
  • Added Brittan Berry to our Charitable Board of Directors.

This year and the next ten

Our long-term vision is to give everyone the tools they need to be generous. We believe that means, at minimum, giving everyone their own charitable giving fund. 

“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
-Richard Buckminster Fuller

We believe our technology with giving funds will expand giving in our lives. We can build a frictionless giving experience, including otherwise complex gifts made simple like matching, stock donations, and collaborative giving among friends. Ultimately, this is to make generosity more practical and simple, and, therefore, a more accessible habit in our relationships with others.

Our first year has laid the foundation for our infrastructure and products, and over the next ten years, we will dramatically expand our reach to enable people to be generous in new, fresh, and more frictionless ways. We believe putting the right tools in the hands of donors can change our society and how it views giving.

As we look toward 2021, we see incredible opportunities to expand further and build better giving technology. Here is what we are committed to this year:

💼 Pursuit 1: Create the best way for companies and their employees to partner in giving together

We will build on our initial Charityvest for Workplaces product and enable companies to launch giving funds for their employees and partner with them in being generous, creating a tangible impact on the world around them. We will:

  • Expand our payment modalities to serve broader employee donor preferences.
  • Support more integrations with corporate software platforms to increase the simplicity of administration.
  • Create new models for funding corporate giving among large employers like utilizing corporate treasury stock, and personal assets of principals among small employers.
  • Build tools for program administrators to create engagement among employees with their giving.

😊 Pursuit 2: Create the best way for individuals to give to charity

We want to expand our product’s ability to serve more people as the simplest and most frictionless way to give. We will:

  • Increase the speed of delivery of funds to charitable organizations.
  • Add an option to invest sitting balances on Charityvest to see them grow and give away the earnings.
  • Enable donors to easily fundraise on Charityvest (using Charityvest Funds) among friends for organizations they care about.
  • Enrich our charitable organization data to enhance the search and discovery of organizations.
  • Create social matching and other fun incentives for donors to invite others into generosity.

As we are building the best way to give, we’ll continue to bring many more people deeper into generosity, enabling them to write a story of greater impact.

Richer lives for donors and more impact for charities in 2021. Join us?

I thank you for partnering with us at the beginning of our journey in 2020—especially in response to a global pandemic and societal unrest—and I can’t wait to partner even more in 2021.

If you are looking for specific baby-steps to take toward greater giving in 2021, I offer you two:

We have an opportunity to touch lives with giving—together. May our impact on others be our north star in 2021 and going forward.

On behalf of our team at Charityvest,

Stephen Kump

Create your Charityvest giving fund—it's free and takes 90 seconds.

Stephen Kump

Stephen is the chief of promoting generosity @ Charityvest. Former Bain consultant, philanthropic advisor, and military officer. Yale MBA.

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