A software platform founded by two Cornell alumni is rapidly expanding to become the nation’s largest “giving platform.” The platform, GiveGab, is named after the two critical components in operating a successful nonprofit — it allows nonprofit supporters to both “give” donations and “gab” with the nonprofit leadership.
The platform, developed by Charles Mulligan MBA ’11 and Aaron Godert, M.Eng. ’05 MBA ’11, recently took a large step forward by acquiring a national competitor, Kimbia, according to their website. GiveGab intends to support 40,000 nonprofits, and the acquisition pushes them in that direction.
Mulligan, who is the current CEO of GiveGab said Cornell was crucial to the success of his startup.
“The University’s commitment to startups in general and the support for GiveGab, in particular, has been fantastic. We also have many customers within the Cornell community,” Mulligan said. “I came up with the idea while in grad school at Cornell getting an MBA, where I met my co-founder in that program, and the vast majority of our investors, employees, and board members have ties to Cornell.”
Mulligan thought of his start-up idea in 2010 when he was struggling to find volunteer opportunities online because most volunteer websites were merely “databases.”
“It occurred to me, wouldn’t it be nice if there was an online platform that could not just help match volunteers to one-off opportunities, but one that could help inspire people to volunteer more, to become part of something greater than themselves, to feel a genuine sense of accomplishment and satisfaction?” Mulligan said.
In January of 2011, Godert, Mulligan’s classmate at Cornell, joined as co-founder and head of technology for GiveGab. He has worked as both an entrepreneur and technical leader across industries, on the board for several nonprofits, and is also the current president of the Cornell Club of Ithaca.
In addition to Mulligan and Gobert, several of GiveGab’s leadership and board members are Cornell alumni, including Hunter Rawlings, former president of Cornell University, who joined the board in December of 2013.
Part of the “giving” aspect of GiveGab is its “Giving Day” feature — an online fundraising tool used to mobilize people within a certain event, geographic region, or institution by challenging them to meet a fundraising goal within a 24-hour period.
Giving Days are particularly common at universities. They rally students, alumni, faculty, and local community members, and act as a way to strengthen community pride and engagement while raising funds and awareness for a noble cause.
When asked how GiveGab is applicable to Cornell students, Mulligan said that GiveGab is “about as Cornell as you can get.”
“We’re the tech platform for Cornell’s Giving Day, for Cornell’s Alumni Volunteer Portal, and for many student groups including Cayuga’s Watchers for example,” Mulligan said. “We’d be thrilled to help other Cornell-based groups raise money and engage with their supporters.”