Giving back, the millennial way

A new startup is making it even easier for millennials to give back to their communities.

Multiple studies have shown that despite being overburdened by financial constraints like student debt, millennials are one of the most generous generations.

According to research group Achieve, 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014.

So far though, there hasn’t been a platform specifically focused on helping millennials engage with local causes. A philanthropic Kickstarter, if you will.

Enter Envested.

Jumping Ship

Envested is a social network giving platform. It allows people to interact with and give back to their community in a more efficient way. From the beginning, the platform has been focused on targeting millennials.

Founder Isa Watson, who had previously worked for JPMorgan Chase as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, said, “The emphasis was on millennials for me because I felt like so many people didn’t get our generation.”

“We were raised by boomers who very much instilled in us a great sense of optimism and a great sense of giving back and doing for your community.”

Transparency and local impact are the most important things to Watson. Rather than giving to large national nonprofits she says her company helps people give directly to local organizations that have specific funding needs.

She says that’s important because many millennials are often reluctant to give money to large organizations because they are not sure how the funds will be spent.

“When you have the literacy council that’s two streets down from me that’s helping kids that can’t read versus a national organization, that local connection can be very impactful,” she said.

Investing In The Future

Watson’s first idea was to create a platform that allowed millennials to manage their finances while making it easier to contribute to their local communities, but upon building the product and fielding feedback from local nonprofits who struggled to get access to resources, she realized that “shifting to a straight giving, philanthropic platform could have a much greater impact on the community.”

It was during the transition phase that Gigster entered the picture.

“Gigster was kind of in the middle of that transition because when we initially submitted a request for approval from Gigster, we were talking about a financial management and charitable giving offering,” said Watson.

“Within just a few weeks we made the executive decision to switch exclusively to a social network giving platform and that’s when we really kicked off all of the work with Gigster.”

In many ways, Watson says working with Gigster helped the transition.

“Talking to Gigster gave us a better understanding of all the technology considerations when developing a product that was not just easy for donors to use, but also the nonprofits they were supporting.’”

Think Globally, Act Locally

Watson makes it clear that Envested isn’t “giving in the traditional sense.”

“It’s not ‘Hey, give twenty dollars to this charity,’” she said.

Instead, companies set specific target goals and raise money to meet those goals. Fundraising challenges are only live on the site for up to two weeks at a time. But Watson says companies can submit recurring challenges or change their challenges.

“If there is a childhood camp organization and they know that for three months in the summer they’re going to need $10,000 for each of the three months for camp, they can submit $5,000 requests every two weeks throughout the summer,” she said.

Looking Ahead

Envested is currently concentrating its efforts on the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina—Watson’s home state—but it plans on expanding soon.

As for the company’s future, Watson said she would “love for Envested to be the go-to product that people use to engage with their local communities.”

If you’ve got a great idea for a new platform, Gigster can help.

Tyler Trumbull

Ty splits his time between Canada and Mexico. He’s been writing for Gigster since early 2016 where he really enjoys learning and sharing clients’ stories. He plays banjo in one of Mexico’s only country bands, wishes he could write like Thomas Pynchon, and is generally a fan of the Oxford comma.