November 2, 2016
Black Startup Founder Wins $500,000 To Help Nonprofits Raise Money
Technology is helping to change the way nonprofits reach new donors and how donors interact with and give to nonprofits. Case in point is WeDidIt, an online and mobile platform to aid organizations seeking to develop and launch engaging crowd-funding campaigns. Sulaiman “Su” Sanni, a first generation Nigerian-American born in Brooklyn, New York, is CEO and co-founder of WeDidIt. He recently snared $500,000 from the Buffalo-based organization 43North’s business pitch competition. Sanni was one of 10 finalists vying for up to $5 million in cash prizes.
Sanni acknowledges that nonprofits as a sector are not the sexiest type of business for traditional venture capitalists. “So, we have had to find alternative ways to raise money,â€ he says. “We are not the Ubers of the world but we are doing something that makes an impact, it’s a viable business for others.â€
Putting $500,000 to Good use
For Sanni, this entrepreneurial venture is a dream come true. He earned a full scholarship playing NCAA Division 1 football at Boston College as a walk-on, despite never playing football in high school. Armed with a bachelor’sÂ degree in psychology and an M.B.A., he went on to land his first job at an investment bank. But as he launched his career, he developed a life passion to employ technology to create change in his community, particularly, helping nonprofit organizations fundraise better.
Today, WeDidIt has more than 500 accounts on its platform and more than 100 enterprise customers or institutional clients. The platform is subscription based, ranging from $299 to $949 a month. There’s a transaction fee of 2% on any funds raised.
“We have very strong plans to hire staff,â€ Sanni told BlackEnterprise.com. “As a company, we have been underutilized for a while. This money will go a long way in hiring key personnel needed to grow the company. We also want to make our technology better, faster, and more improved.â€
Suite of Online Fundraising Tools
WeDidIt is drastically different from onlineÂ crowdfunding platforms out there such asÂ Kickstarter and RocketHub. WeDidIt is a suite of fundraising tools for nonprofits andÂ independent artists with fiscal sponsors. The software is designed to help development officers research their current donors and find new prospects all from one platform. There’s also several how-to and e-learning resources.
WeDidIt’s technology enables nonprofits with huge donor databases to quickly predict and analyze each donor’s capacity and propensity to give. Using Machine Learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing, the technology can parse through millions of donor records instantly, while prescribing the appropriate action (or event) for each donor.
The Insights product provides tremendous scale and relief to organizations managing large donor databases with limited staff/prospecting resources. “By automatically appending relevant data to raw donor records, we deliver donor data that is now actionable for nonprofit fundraisers, including demographic, financial, occupational, and behavioral data points,â€ Sanni explains.