Being self-centered is on top of the list of Millennials’ qualities. Anisa Mirza founded Giveeffect, a fundraising solution for charities, that counts on millennials to engage with nonprofits and give back. 

Long Story Short

Anisa Mirza is CEO and co-founder of Giveffect, a leading enterprise fundraising solution for nonprofits. Giveffect licenses white-label fundraising (especially crowdfunding) technology. Giveffect’s software includes the essential features needed for successful fundraising, providing tools that enable charities to curate relationships with donors long after a campaign ends. Using Giveffect, nonprofits never have to redirect donors from their own website. Giveffect offers three tiers of pricing for nonprofits, ranging from a no-cost account to a premium package for $299 a month.

What we are doing is really something that hasn’t been done before.

Inspiring, Inspired 

Half Pakistan and half Italian, Mirza was born in Canada but moved to Italy and then Pakistan when she was six, where her dad was originally from. She lived there for 10 years before returning to Hamilton. That cross-cultural experience motivated Mirza to work closely with newcomer youth. She initially wanted to start her own youth-friendly, social media-savvy non-profit organization. Then she realized that existing charities needed a way to engage with young people and to catch up with the digital age. And so she said:

The way that nonprofits are running is not going to help us prepare for the leaders of tomorrow. I was really frustrated with the status quo.

So, the motivation for starting Giveeffect was piling up:

“I loved the concept of making an impact and knowing you have a role in the world beyond yourself,” Mirza said, “but I hated the software we had to use in the nonprofit sector. I kept asking myself, ‘Why is this like this when we have a myriad of software, yet it’s such a nightmare to connect and engage with donors—let alone millennials—who are impossible to attract?’”

Crowdfunding and the selfish millennials 

Coming back to the selfish millennials…

Young people donate less to charity than any other segment of the population. Fundraisers have always assumed that is an immutable fact. It used to frustrate the daylights out of Anisa Mirza. In the five years she spent working for charities, non-profits and voluntary organizations, she was told repeatedly: “They’re a me, me, me generation. They won’t give back.” The 26-year-old tried mightily to change her supervisors’ minds.“Maybe things would be different if we engaged with them using their language and their media,” she insisted. Their response was dismissive. Anisa, instead, is convinced: “With Giveffect, we correct for that huge problem, which is the relationship building.”

As fundraisers and as organizations, we are striving and should be striving for ways to interact and be more in tune with donors.

Apart from her conviction in the ability of millennials to give back, Anisa was also fascinated with the process of crowdfunding and how billions of dollars were raised on a yearly basis, and that was that ‘aha’ moment when she said – this concept works! Crowdfunding is amazing, there’s a lot of money that’s funnelled through crowdfunding. How can we make it work for the charity sector? For her and her team it was about: “ok lets make it a community and a base where we can go to people that have a lot of knowledge and a lot of background in terms of advisory services, ask them those burning questions that will help take our company that we had just launched to the next level.”

A little ways down the road

Mirza knew first-hand both the cost and other constraints of bringing fundraising into an online environment, and the challenges that came with buying other kinds of software intended for enterprises and smaller for-profit business. “We were inspired to create this to help clients in the online giving sector going through what I went through,” she said. She notes that it’s not just charitable causes that Giveffect targets. Others include churches and schools running fundraising events, “basically anyone that runs online giving systems needs a way of keeping and organising their notes, taxes and CRM,” she says.

Anisa’s efforts were all worth it.

Since it started in October 2012, the company has enlisted about 100 charities on its platform, with 39 currently visible on the site.

Fifty campaigns have been created for various charities, including War Child, Epilepsy Canada and United Way Bruce Grey. Thousands of dollars have been raised for campaigns like MentorNation, which aims to support aboriginal entrepreneurship. Even corporations like Royal Bank of Canada have pitched in, collaborating with MentorNation through Giveffect’s online platform. The online giving platform helps registered charities to fundraise and tap into the social networks of young donors in their 20s and teens. 6.2% of the money raised through the platform goes to Giveffect. In return, the company provides charities demographic data about donors.

The hardships and rewards of entrepreneurship 

In an interview for MaRs, Anisa opened up about the ups and downs of her entrepreneurial lifestyle: “My social life revolves around me seeing my two cats in my spare time when we Do have spare time. You know, being an entrepreneur will really change what you thought your resistance level was, your ability to work hard was, or your ability to persevere was.

When you’re doing something you love you don’t feel like you’re working. That’s how I feel with give effect.

She continues: :The idea of being an entrepreneur and having a work-life balance doesn’t exist. It’s work-life blending. You’re working round the clock, 7 days a week. Holiday season, thanksgiving time, everyone else maybe resting – you’re still working. Because as an entrepreneur one day can make or break your company.

The final touch 

“Young people are going to solve the world’s problems. I believe in that … I believe that innovation is at its peak right now, and it is only going to get better.

Don’t sell yourself short, you have a responsibility.

At Giveeffect, “We’re going for that generation that has a mindset of looking for impact, looking for lasting solutions,” Anisa said. “They want to know what happened with their money, they want to be engaged with charities, they want to feel like they’re leaders, they want to get others engaged, and they want a platform that is savvy, up-to-date with this digital era. And that’s what we’re providing.”

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