No-Fuss Fundraising with Giving Assistant

No-Fuss Fundraising with Giving Assistant

Ryan Quiel HeadshotIt’s no secret that it takes a lot of time to secure donations, especially recurring donations.

During my 7 years of working in marketing for nonprofits, I learned first hand how much strain fundraising can cause. Your whole day is spent pursuing funds from donors and expanding your donor list through various channels. It pays off when you earn support for your mission, but nevertheless, it’s labor intensive.

Additionally, it’s challenging to keep donors engaged and continuously involved in your mission. What I’ve found, is that the best way to engage supporters is through providing them with something that can add value to both your mission and their everyday life.

That is why my co-founders and I built a fundraising tool that could not only benefit nonprofit and charity organizations, but could also benefit their supporters. It’s simple, automatic, and allows your donors to give back to your charity without changing the way they already shop online.

The average American spends over $2,000 annually online, and Giving Assistant shoppers can donate an average of 5.2% of their purchases. That means that with over 100 active online shoppers, an organization can effortlessly raise more than $10,400 annually by partnering with Giving Assistant. And you can count on these donations year after year, because once someone signs up, they almost never stop using it to help the charity they care about.

How it works:

  • Retailers pay us a commission for purchases originated from our website or browser extension. Typically a percentage of the sale.
  • We pay our members the commission in the form of cash back.
  • Members choose to automatically donate any % of their cash back to the charity of their choice.

It’s that simple! And since we work with over 2,800+ of the most popular online retailers, you and your supporters can buy pretty much anything your heart desires while earning money for your cause.

For a 501(c)3 organization, Giving Assistant is a breeze to use and there is virtually no setup involved!

Just follow these quick steps:

1. Go to and search for your nonprofit. (Note: If you cannot find your nonprofit’s name, don’t worry! Simply type in your organization name and then click “Add Your Nonprofit”)

2. Click “Activate Your Account” or, if your organization already has donations, the button will say “Unlock Your $XX in Donations.”

3. Enter a valid email address affiliated with your nonprofit (for example, if you are trying to claim the nonprofit called “Giving Assistant Inc.” you’d use your “” email address).

4. We’ll send you a confirmation email from Open this email, and voila! You now have access to your nonprofit dashboard.

5. Complete your Giving Assistant profile (so we can send you checks for your donations).

Once you’re all set up, notify your community and supporters about Giving Assistant and watch your donations grow! Here are a few ways to spread the word:

1. Add the Giving Assistant badge (and/or logo) to your website via the “Best Practices” section in the dashboard.

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2. Share your personal fundraising link with your supports via email, newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media platforms you use.

    • Tip: Since people shop all the time, make it easy for them to donate to your organization by post your fundraising link often, not just around the holidays!

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3. Try it yourself – Use Giving Assistant when you are making purchases on behalf of your organization and put your cashback right back into your cause. For example, do you need office supplies? Use Giving Assistant when you shop at Staples, Office Depot or any of our other 2,500+ stores!

Several non-profits have already achieved tremendous success by using our free platform. I and the rest of the team at Giving Assistant would love to see you earn more money for your mission and free up time in your busy schedule to get out there and change the world.

So get started with Giving Assistant today!

Thank you for all that you do,

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Ryan Quiel, Director of Growth & Product

P.S. Have questions, or want more information about using Giving Assistant to passively fundraise? Feel free to reach out to Claire ( or Isabel ( on our charity advocate team who are more than happy to help!

Tostan: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Tostan: A Giving Assistant Success Story

In December of 2016, something incredible happened in West Africa. Something Tostan founder Molly Melching could’ve only dreamed of when she arrived in Senegal over 40 years ago as a young exchange student from Danville, Illinois.

Over 300 communities in four different countries came together to publicly declare a commitment to human rights.

They announced their abandonment of harmful traditions, including the long-standing practice of female genital cutting (FGC) as well as child/forced marriage. This brings the total number of communities who have made similar public declarations to over 8,000; evidence of a movement that has been quietly building in the region over the past two decades, due to community resilience and the efforts of Tostan.


Children hold up chalkboard signs declaring their community’s abandonment of FGC. Source: Tostan

Tostan is a non-profit named for the Wolof word for ‘breakthrough,’

And its unique model focuses on agency, not aid. Operating in six countries, Tostan offers an educational program which has proven that the greatest resources available to struggling communities are the people themselves and their own creative solutions.

In the Tostan program, participants first identify their vision and goals, then they acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to lead and sustain their own development. The Community Empowerment Program uses cultural methods of learning to cover not only the fundamentals of human rights and collective decision-making, but also:

  • Reading,
  • Writing,
  • Arithmetics,
  • Health and hygiene,
  • Problem solving,
  • And confidence building,

And this model has been immensely successful.

In the quarter-century since Tostan’s founding, they have witnessed improvement in issue areas including:

  • Women and girl’s empowerment,
  • Peace and security,
  • Education,
  • And more!

Women participating in a classroom session of Tostan’s program. Source: Tostan

Giving Assistant raises nearly $18,000 for Tostan

Earlier this month, Giving Assistant mailed a check to Tostan for $17,754.58! These funds were raised entirely by Giving Assistant members who have chosen to support the organization through their everyday shopping.

“Supporters of Tostan are part of our global family. Like our communities in West Africa, they form a collective that is joyfully in pursuit of a common goal: dignity for all. We are so thankful that Giving Assistant has joined this family.” – Molly Melching, CEO of Tostan

This generosity will stretch not only across the globe, but for generations to come as rural West African communities continue on their positive path.


Women celebrating. Source: Tostan

Help support this rising movement

Due to its proven success, the Tostan program is in high demand. You can help them meet this demand by using Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to the organization.

It’s simple! Just make sure to select Tostan in your account settings and decide how much of your cash back you’d like to donate.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Tostan as you shop (and save!) online.

Pencils of Promise: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Pencils of Promise: A Giving Assistant Success Story

You’ll never look at a #2 pencil the same way again…

When a small boy’s answer to “What do you want most in the world?” was a mere pencil, the future founder of PoP was utterly touched. For Pencils of Promise, something as simple as a yellow #2 has now come to represent the need to unlock the potential in children that lack a suitable learning environment.

Across the world, 250 million children of elementary school age lack basic reading, writing and math skills. Unsafe, unsanitary and ill-equipped classrooms serve as hurdles for both teachers and students – which is what Pencils of Promise (PoP) wishes to overcome – by building schools and bringing solid educational programming to areas in need.

Pencils of Promise: “We believe every child should have access to quality education.”

Since 2009, PoP’s efforts have led to increased literacy rates, improved training and support for teachers, and better access to quality education for children residing in some of the most underserved communities in the countries where the organization is active.

Today, PoP has a strong presence in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos. So far, nearly 36,000 students have been served by 380 PoP schools, impacting 300,000+ lives in their local communities.

These kids are on their way to their brand new PoP School. Source: Nick Onken

These kids are on their way to their brand new PoP School. Source: Nick Onken

With 85% of communities that PoP visits lacking basic school infrastructure, the organization strives to break ground on a new school every 5 days. In Guatemala, 98% of teachers report increased focus in students learning in a new PoP building. To make sure students are able to benefit from their programs, PoP also implements the internationally recognized WASH program, which promotes healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.

Amongst many achievements in 2016, PoP delivered tablets to three schools in Guatemala, marking their “first-ever expansion of digital reading content in Spanish,” as well as expanded WASH programming to 20 more schools in Laos.

Giving Assistant shoppers have contributed over $15,000 to PoP.

To date, Pencils of Promise has received $15,127.72 from Giving Assistant shoppers, who use their everyday online purchases to fuel the education of children around the world.

“We love finding new and easy ways for people to support Pencils of Promise,” says Natalie Ebel, PoP’s Director of Marketing. “Giving Assistant is simple and fun, and they’re already almost halfway to funding a full school build with PoP!”

It takes $35,000 to build a school, and since 100% of online donations that PoP receives goes towards their programs, Giving Assistant shoppers are on track to break ground on a new one soon.

Thanks to PoP, these girls have the chance to enjoy learning in a safe, new school. Source: Nick Onken

Thanks to PoP, these girls have the chance to enjoy learning in a safe, new school. Source: Nick Onken

Help build a new PoP school.

With your contributions through Giving Assistant, not only will you make an impact in the lives of children, but also entire communities.

If you’d like to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to Pencils of Promise, visit their fundraising page here.

To make sure PoP receives your thoughtful donation, please select Pencils of Promise in your account settings.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Pencils of Promise as you shop online.

Team Rubicon Global: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Team Rubicon Global: A Giving Assistant Success Story

It’s early October, 2016.

Haiti has just been devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Over the next several days, the death toll rises to 900, and by the end of the month, over 1.2 million Haitians will be in desperate need of food assistance.

Less than 24 hours after the last storm clouds had parted—while other relief organizations around the world were still making the necessary preparations to provide much-needed disaster relief—the Greyshirts were already on the ground clearing away debris, caring for displaced citizens, and leading volunteer forces.

The Greyshirts (called such because of the ubiquitous grey t-shirts they wear) are the men and women of Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization made up of military veterans committed to disaster response. According to their website:

“Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.”

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Team Rubicon members hard at work. Source: Team Rubicon Global.

Team Rubicon Global: “Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion.”

Team Rubicon formed in the wake of the devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010. In response to the earthquake, a group of military veterans made the quick decision to unite and travel to Port-au-Prince and offer their assistance.

“In Haiti, it became clear that military veterans are uniquely prepared to provide immediate emergency response aid, oftentimes in the early hours of a disaster before larger relief organizations can get on the ground.” (Source.)

Over the last 6 years, Team Rubicon has more than proven its immense value on a global scale. The organization has contributed to over 140 missions, and deployed more than 5,000 veterans to over 20 countries, providing disaster relief in 24 hours or less. The organization also boasts a massive team of over 40,000 committed volunteers.

But Team Rubicon is more than just rapid-response disaster relief.


Team Rubicon member on their way to work for the day in Haiti. Source: Team Rubicon Global 

By mobilizing veterans on behalf of jolted communities, Team Rubicon seeks to “bridge the gap between returning veterans and their home communities,” as well as support veterans by providing them with an increased sense of purpose and identity at home.

Giving Assistant raises over $18,000 for Team Rubicon Global

To date, Giving Assistant’s generous community of shoppers and donors has raised $18,437.45 in donations for Team Rubicon!

“We are grateful for the support of Giving Assistant. This is a fantastic opportunity. These donations will enable us to continue our global effort to harness the skills of military veterans to help people on their worst day. Going forward, we’re excited to have not only the support of Giving Assistant, but also of their shoppers who believe in our mission.”- William McNulty, Team Rubicon Global CEO

Even better—the nearly $18,500 raised in donations from Giving Assistant supporters is expected to grow right alongside Team Rubicon. “It’s really great to know we have this additional, reliable resource to lean on as we continue to expand our mission,” added McNulty.

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Team Rubicon members wading through a stream in Haiti. Source: Team Rubicon Global

Support veterans. Support Team Rubicon Global

To find out more about how you can easily use Giving Assistant to support Team Rubicon, visit their fundraising page here.

Giving Assistant members interested in donating their cash back to supporting Team Rubicon and their veterans simply need to select Team Rubicon as their organization of choice in their account settings.

Not a member? Sign up here to begin supporting Team Rubicon while you shop.

Zidisha: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Zidisha: A Giving Assistant Success Story

“We had been trying so hard to raise donations from individuals and foundations. It was surprising how easy, and how big of an impact Giving Assistant has had on us.”

-Julia Kurnia, Founder, Zidisha

Giving Assistant members are changing lives—even as far away as Africa—just by shopping online.

Imagine, for a moment, a bright, entrepreneurial single mother named Bineta raising her children in Senegal, West Africa.

Bineta designs and hand-sews beautiful dresses for a living, but she’s faced with a challenge—her dresses are highly sought after, and she can only hand-sew one or two of them a week, limiting her income.

If Bineta could afford a sewing machine, she’d be able to sew five or six dresses a week instead, effectively growing her business and making it possible for her to provide even more for her family.

Bineta’s dreams come true

Thankfully, Bineta can look toward non-profit organization Zidisha for assistance in obtaining a small loan for the sewing machine. With an affordable, low-interest loan from Zidisha, Bineta purchases a brand new sewing machine, and repays the loan easily with the additional profits she earns sewing more dresses each week.

To date, Zidisha has received more than $250,000 from Giving Assistant shoppers in order to expand their work providing these affordable microloans to borrowers in developing countries.

And Bineta has since opened a studio, hired an employee, and sent her teenage daughter to college preparatory school.

Organizations like Zidisha (and amazing people like Bineta) are the cornerstone of Giving Assistant’s global mission to transform consumers’ everyday online shopping activities into meaningful, productive, long-term contributions to humanity.

What is Zidisha?

Founded by Julia Kurnia, Zidisha is an organization that seeks to provide people in developing countries with affordable microloans. These small loans invigorate local economies while helping citizens meet financial needs, or just move a little closer to their dreams.

Zidisha keeps interest rates low—and loans affordable—by harnessing the power of the internet: borrowers can log on to, create a profile, and be connected directly with lenders. Lenders browse borrowers’ profiles, and contribute to their projects with the click of a button. No loan officers’ salaries to cover, and only minor overhead costs.

“Through Giving Assistant, we’ve been able to raise almost a quarter of a million dollars in additional donations,” said Zidisha’s founder, Julia Kurnia. “That has allowed us to fund loans for two thousand people that otherwise would not have been financed.”

Giving Assistant shoppers donate $250,000+ to Zidisha—a number that grows every day.


Founder, Julia Kurnia, receiving Zidisha’s check from Giving Assistant supporters

Giving Assistant envisions a world where:

  • the average global citizen can more regularly experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from being able to contribute to their community
  • and where non-profit organizations like Zidisha can feel confident knowing they have one more consistent, reliable, long-term stream of financial support.

To this end, we developed an innovative, consumer loyalty program that enables us to pay Giving Assistant members more cash back on their online purchases than our competitors. Then, we provide shoppers with the option to donate some, or all of their cash back earnings to organizations they value.

In short: our shoppers earn more, so they enjoy the freedom to give more.

Zidisha is one of many organizations that Giving Assistant and its shoppers are passionate about supporting. In May of 2016, we were honored to deliver a check to Zidisha for $247,618.

That’s nearly $250,000 Zidisha can now use to expand their mission of providing microloans to business owners, teachers, families, and individuals in developing countries—and that number keeps growing. All because thousands of Giving Assistant members are shopping online, right now.

Want to give to Zidisha?

Giving Assistant members interested in donating a portion (or all!) of their cash back earnings to Zidisha simply need to select Zidisha as their organization of choice in their account settings.

Not a member? Sign up here to begin supporting Zidisha while you shop.

If you’d like to learn more about funding a loan to an individual or entrepreneur like Bineta in Senegal, visit

Zidisha: Direct Loans with Dramatic Impact

Zidisha: Direct Loans with Dramatic Impact

Each day, our world is more and more connected through technology. This connection provides an opportunity to improve lives around the world. For Julia Kurnia, the founder of Zidisha, this meant finding a way to distribute microloans to small business owners and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

What is Microfinance?

Microfinance is a general term to describe financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. These financial services usually involve small amounts of money, so the term “microfinance” helps to differentiate these services from those which formal banks provide.

Often, these small loans are distributed through Micro Finance Institutions (also known as MFIs), which range from small non-profit organizations to large commercial banks. These MFIs often charge interest on these loans, usually to cover overhead costs. Unfortunately, these rates take a big toll on the borrower’s profits.

Zidisha’s History

Julia saw this first hand during graduate school while she was working with a microfinance organization in Senegal. They raised hundreds of loans at zero cost through Kiva, an online microlending platform. As excited as they were about the loans, they were soon disheartened when they discovered how expensive it was manage them. Just traveling the long distances to visit borrowers was expensive enough, and hiring someone to manage the loans put their costs through the roof. The interest rates they needed to charge the borrowers defeated the purpose of the loans.

Julia decided to find a way to distribute loans without having to charge high interest rates. Thus Zidisha was born. Zidisha is a platform for direct person to person lending. As more and more people living in developing countries were gaining access to the internet, these direct loans made sense because borrowers and lenders didn’t need to visit a bank or travel a great distance, they only needed to log onto their computer.


How does it work?

The process is fairly simple. Entrepreneurs and business owners apply for a loan through the Zidisha website. Once the loan is approved, anyone who has access to the internet can contribute any amount to the loan.

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After the loan has been fully funded, the borrower uses the loan to improve their business in some way, big or small. They can gradually repay the loan, and when the loan has been fully repaid, lenders can re-loan the money. This cycle allows borrowers to scale their business and lenders to contribute to as many businesses as they like.

The Importance of Microfinance

Microfinance goes deeper than just loaning money. It is the belief that people from low-income backgrounds can lift themselves out of poverty if they are given the resources to do so. When the average income of many people in developing countries is $1 or $2 a day, it’s extremely difficult to save.

Here is an example. A seamstress in Western Africa creates beautiful dresses that are in high demand. However, she sews all of her dresses by hand and usually cannot make more than 1 or 2 a week. She applies for a loan through Zidisha so that she can pay for a sewing machine. Her loan is funded and her productivity triples overnight. She can easily make between 3 and 6 dresses each week, and she finds that her profits also triple. She is easily able to repay her loan. She decides to apply for another loan, but this time it’s a little bit bigger. She purchases a second sewing machine and is able to hire her first employee to help her make even more dresses. Her third loan may help her hire a third employee and move into a real shop. This is the power of microfinance.

Julia has built an incredible organization built mostly on volunteers. These people truly believe in this work, and because Zidisha itself controls each individual loan disbursement and repayment collection via the internet, they do not need the management of an intermediary.

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How can you support Zidisha?

Giving Assistant is proud to have members donating their cash back to Zidisha. We recently sent Zidisha a donation check of $92,000 and knew we needed to highlight such an amazing organization.

If you’d like to donate some or all of your cash back earnings to Zidisha, head on over to your account settings where you can select Zidisha as your charity.

To learn more more about funding a loan to a small business owner or entrepreneur, visit Zidisha’s website.