Startup B Generous Helps People Donate More Money to Charities, Nonprofits
Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across eight major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s Los Angeles round-up here.
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The proliferation of buy now, pay later solutions in recent years has made countless products and services more accessible to shoppers. Rather than paying the full price for something outright, BNPL models enable consumers to pay the cost down in smaller increments over time. This service continues to permeate various industries, and as many as one in four shoppers are expected to make BNPL purchases by 2025.
While plenty of businesses in retail and e-commerce already offer this service, the concept of paying smaller amounts toward a larger goal can be applied in various other ways, including charitable donations. Such is the focus of LA startup B Generous, a venture started by philanthropist and entrepreneur Dominic Kalms.
Kalms gained an informed view of the world early in life, having lived in several places including Hong Kong, the U.K. and the U.S.
“I saw quite a lot of poverty growing up in Asia when I was younger, and then I moved to London, England, which was quite the opposite — not a lot of poverty, very opulent,” Kalms said. “So as a young man I saw an extreme dichotomy of what the world could be really in different circumstances, and that really stuck with me.”
This led him to want to work in social impact.
After spending time on Wall Street and in government positions, Kalms sought out a career where he could feel fulfilled by helping people. Eventually, he came to work at a consulting firm where he helped run philanthropic programs and went on to develop a couple of philanthropic businesses of his own.
B Generous is one of these startups. Its solution lets users donate to charitable organizations in manageable amounts.
The platform’s business model was inspired by the success of BNPL solutions. Kalms wanted to apply the same infrastructure used to support billions of e-commerce transactions to the underserved philanthropic market.
People have very strong emotional connections to the nonprofits that they donate to, so the idea of [committing to small payments] and then [not following through] makes people feel very uncomfortable.”
B Generous partners with nonprofits like schools, religious organizations, dog shelters and more to embed a “donate now, pay later” button on their websites. This allows donors to contribute small amounts of money for finite periods of time and could enable people to donate more money in the long run, according to Kalms.
For instance, rather than someone donating $50 to an organization one time, they could break up the donation into $10 amounts over the course of 10 months, giving $100 over time.
“People have very strong emotional connections to the nonprofits that they donate to, so the idea of signing up to do this and then [not following through] makes people feel very uncomfortable,” Kalms said. “So that moral connection to these causes makes the default rate go down substantially.”
When a user commits to a donation payment plan, B Generous immediately pays the full amount — minus the transaction fee — to its partner organization.
Having tested this tried and true model, B Generous is on solid footing to continue building out its business. The company recently pulled in seed funding to further customer acquisition and product development.
B Generous is adding factoring capabilities to its platform, a tool that will help it provide capital liquidity directly to nonprofits when they need it most. It’s also building out software integrations that will allow donors to access the donate now, pay later option in more places, including QR codes, social media and mail campaigns. Right now, the software is only available on organizations’ websites.
Charitable donations have been on a steady incline over the past few years. In 2021, charitable donations totaled more than $484 billion across the nation — up 4 percent from the previous year. B Generous hopes its solution will allow people to give even more to organizations and causes they find meaningful.
“What I want to do with B Generous is take that half a trillion dollars that’s donated to nonprofits every year and I want to double it … by unlocking a half a trillion dollars worth of liquidity from the American public who say they want to give more but they can’t,” Kalms said.