TAGG Fundraising launches looking to help nonprofits, local businesses
Launched in September, TAGG aims to help charities raise money and companies generate business.
Two Omaha entrepreneurs are out to change the face of fundraising with TAGG, a web-based tool they hope will drive donations by "connecting people's passions to their pocketbook."
Visitors to TAGG's website can browse deals from local vendors in a variety of categories: food and drinks, retail and gifts, for the home, services, health and beauty, entertainment and kids. When a deal is purchased, the shopper is prompted with a list of charitable causes — partners include schools, service groups, youth sports teams and other nonprofits — and chooses which organization will receive 20-25 percent of the purchase price.
TAGG's model resembles that of a daily deals site with a social component, but Fischer said TAGG is unlike daily deals sites because it brokers revenue splits that are favorable and sustainable for merchants. After the nonprofit receives its cut, TAGG takes 10-20 percent of a purchase price and the merchant gets the rest.
For nonprofits, TAGG aims to provide a low-hassle, low-cost alternative to traditional fundraising methods and do so by offering a variety of goods and services that the nonprofit's supporters will actually use — not just the same old magazine subscriptions or chocolate bars.
For merchants, TAGG is designed to generate new business through deals that don't take a huge toll on the bottom line. Plus, it eliminates the need for businesses to choose among the nonprofits that come calling for help with fundraisers.
"Businesses spend so much time managing donation requests it becomes a part time job in and of itself," Fischer said in an email interview. "They can partner with us and tell us how much they want to donate, and we help them manage their donation dollars."
Baker (far left) and Fischer (near left), who both have marketing backgrounds, first conceived the idea for TAGG in 2011, when they were working other jobs. "We decided we would keep pursuing the idea until a door closed that we couldn't open," Fischer said. "Doors kept opening, so we kept walking through them."
In late May, both women quit their jobs to focus on TAGG. The company, which the founders have funded with family help up to this point, officially launched on Sept. 19. Although Fischer said it's too early to derive any meaningful trends from statistics gathered so far, she said the response to TAGG in the first month has been "amazing."
For now, Fischer said, TAGG is looking to position itself as "the local choice for fundraising here in Omaha." As Fischer and Baker work to do that, they are up against established players like Scrip and that old staple of fundraising, coupon books.
Fischer said TAGG has immediate plans to expand elsewhere in the vicinity of Omaha, to places like Council Bluffs and Lincoln. Beyond that, she said, the company would love to be national "someday." But before eyeing widespread expansion, Baker and Fischer are looking to get it right in one locale.
"We have just started so there are lots of things still on the to do-list, but keeping it fresh and having top businesses as partners is key to our growth," Fischer said. "For now, we are focused on making it the best experience we can for our shoppers and fundraisers so once we feel we have that solid foundation built the growth becomes easier."
Credits: Screenshot from taggfundraising.com. Photos of Fischer and Baker courtesy of Fischer.