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big river improves online giving, gets boost from jumpstart to expand

Big River helps organizations get the most out of their online giving campaigns with a simple theory: Appeal to what the potential donors react to and they will donate. The theory apparently proves correct. The 18-month-old cloud-based online fundraising platform has won accolades from clients such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Lorain County Metro Parks in Big River’s ability to increase online giving.
“It’s almost like the last 17 years of e-commerce hasn’t made itself accessible to nonprofits,” says Big River founder and CEO Ron Cass. “Nonprofits haven’t done more than PayPal. The Big River product puts the most effective appeal in front of the donor at the right time to maximize that donation.”
The key is telling donors what the impact of their donations will be. “They want to know what their money does,” explains Cass. “They want to know what impact their gift is going to have. We allow organizations to create donation products, and then target those asks based on the donor’s history with the organization.”
Big River has eight customers of varying sizes and is already generating revenue. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one fan of Big River, reporting that membership has doubled since they hired Big River.
One of the first companies to be a part of Bizdom’s Cleveland operation, Big River is expanding within the Bizdom offices. JumpStart announced on Tuesday, November 13th a $250,000 investment in Big River to further expand.
“Any time you get an investment it changes the slope of the company,” says Cass. “We are going to focus on sales, marketing and product development.”
In addition to adding some new tools and bringing some ideas to reality, Cass also hopes to expand his staff. “A big part of the investment is hiring -- rapidly,” he says. “Around the order of four people in marketing and development.”
In the meantime, Cass was impressed with the connections he made at JumpStart’s Entrepreneur Expo this week. “I spoke to a lot of people who said, ‘I know someone with this organization,’” he says. “I got about 20 leads. I was very impressed.”

Source: Ron Cass
Writer: Karin Connelly
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