I spoke with Dale Kelley, the CEO and President of one of ETC’s newest members, Innovative Corporate Charitable Solutions. Innovative Corporate Charitable Solutions, who joined ETC’s IncubateBaltimore 2 months ago, is a company whose software is designed for corporations that want a new, advanced way of making charitable donations.The company started when Bob Wieder saw an application for a new system of charity donations in the corporate world. Wielder then came to Kelley, a fellow baseball coach for their sons’ team, and the two got a development team together. But Innovative isn’t just your typical charity donation company.
Bob Wieder, founder of Innovative Charitable, and Jim Clifton, VP Sales,
and Marketing strategize messaging with the video production team.
“We have a really big vision,” said Kelley during our talk. “We want to link corporations to the community and bridge that gap.” Innovative believes that the key to achieving this goal lies in the corporation’s own employees. Who better to connect to the community than those who are the community? What makes Innovative truly unique is its bottom-up approach. Instead of the company making one large donation to a single charity, companies using Innovative give the decision to the employees.
How? With Innovative, the corporation designates so much money for charity and then allots the money to a certain number of employees. Each employee then picks a charity to donate that money to. These smaller donations are seen as more genuine because the charities they go to are selected personally by each employee. Innovative is a very personal software. At the end of the donation process, the employee can then choose to share the news of this donation on social media (Facebook or Twitter). Innovative even has the president of the company film a short video that is presented to the employee during the process.
Why choose to do small donations though rather than a couple of large ones? Well, smaller donations help to expand the company’s footprint, Kelley explained. This method spreads the donations to smaller, local charities that may not typically receive many donations. When an employee starts the donation process, they may pick a charity they already have in mind or they may scroll through a list provided by Innovative. They can also narrow-down the list by type of charity and where the charity is located. Unless the employee designates a different state, the default area is determined by their IP address. This encourages those donating to give-back to the local community.
So what is Innovative’s future plans? “We are in the angel stage right now,” said Kelley, “but we hope to obtain our first several customers this year.” As for long term goals, Innovative aims to be a national company. ETC’s IncubateBaltimore helps Innovative Charitable to grow as a startup. Kelley says that ETC’s Haven campus provides the perfect place for brainstorming in its coworking space. The mentoring and opportunity to meet others are also great benefits that Innovative has gained since joining IncubateBaltimore. And ETC is excited to welcome Innovative.