Meinfahrradspendet was founded to challenge what you thought you would know about donation. We want to prove that donation is not only possible for the wealthy people. Plus, the economy and social sector can both learn and profit from each other. We want to show that sometimes change doesn’t require big efforts but the combination of possibilities that already exist.
“Meinfahrradspendet” creates a “win-win-win-situation” by providing bicycle owners with a chance to donate without having to spend their own money. Companies can use their advertising budget for a good cause. Plus, more people are encouraged to more cycling. Advertisement on bikes is a favourable form of marketing, being sporty and green.
Through our platform www.meinfahrradspendet.de, we encourage cyclists and companies to form tandem partnerships for sponsoring. Every user can choose his or her tandem- partner by city, branch or individual purpose of donation such as children aid, environment, education. The donations are forwarded using earmarked funding. We ensure to have a local impact and to largely promote volunteer work.
I think the donation sector is not sustainable if only private persons donate. Donation markets are already saturated even though donation purposes don’t decrease over time. At the end customer level, we give every cyclist and company the possibility to donate, no matter how much money they have left at the end of the month.
The first time I heard about social entrepreneurship was about Grameen Bank. It was revolutionary to me, that the relation between economy and social sector doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game.
I have a multi-sided business, which means complexity. I think one important thing is to have all customer groups in mind, but not to lose the focus on what you want to achieve with your business. My philosophy is to generate donation, not to be the best advertisement agency.
I don’t know how it is like in other countries, but in Germany, social entrepreneurs are a very nice community. Therefore my advice would be to connect with other social startups and try to get supported by a social entrepreneurship hub, like Social Impact Lab. It is most helpful in order to gain knowledge and to be surrounded by people with the same visions.
I have been working as a promoter (for instance distributing flyers and giveaways, being an assistant at fairs) for a couple of years. Before, I had been thinking that the people standing on the streets while asking for donations were doing this as volunteers. Hearing that they were promoters getting a quite high salary, I thought about the old woman giving her 10€ per month from her small pension, while 100€ of salary is given to the promoter. This insight made me want to challenge this status quo in fundraising.
Beside the FB-page of Meinfahrradspendet, we widely use the channels of our partners, which makes, even more, win-win-situations, as our purpose is to generate donations while helping our partners to grow. To promote the sponsoring-tandems, we have some tools in our marketing portfolio. We work together with two wonderful video makers who create short advertisement videos where the companies can explain why they chose to make outdoor advertising with Meinfahrradspendet or where the aid organisations explain what kind of earmarked fundings they need. We provide our partner-companies flyers, as well as life-size posters, for instance in bicycle-shape.
My teammate, Renato had to make a break this year since he got a new job, has two little daughters and plans his wedding for next year. Currently, I am running the business on my own. However, I get much help from the Social Impact Lab Stuttgart, namely Tom Krug, who is a wonderful mentor, as well as from Sven Dittmann for video/design.
The Webkul team, especially Gautam, helped me a lot. I bought VirtueMart multivendor plugin as well as community builder integration. The first challenge I had to face was the translation from English into German. I am an absolute beginner with IT, so the team really helped me step by step, understanding where language files can be found and changed on FTP. It was a great collaboration since my emails were answered immediately. As it worked out very well, I asked for customization of both plugins.
My platform is multisided: I have the companies and the cyclists. The companies are interested in advertising for bikes in selected cities only. The cyclists are choosing the company they want to make advertising for. We used the multivendor marketplace to make the companies the sellers and the cyclists the buyers of
Webkul made a connection between the Community Builder registration form and the VirtueMart marketplace order form. This way, buyers living in a city that is not supported by the particular seller get a popup that says that the item can’t be ordered. We implemented a data sheet containing city names in entire Germany. The company had to choose the federal state first. Then, via community builder conditional, the cities available in the chosen state.
In spite of the time gap between India and Germany, the team really helped me with their flexibility in time. Gautam took a lot of time listening to my idea, the workflow and planning the customization together. It was a great pleasure to work with him and the team, regarding the product but also working with people who really appeared to be supporting their clients while seeing them as partners was an enlightening experience.
Normally, one hears that it is good to fail fast and to go online from the very beginning. I agree that it is not necessarily bad if customers see a product that is not all “perfect“. But from the moment the marketing starts and the first users come, it should all be professionalized as quickly as possible. For this, one should be prepared.
I would describe it as a mass market, as every bike owner and every company from the bakery at the corner to the major company is intended to be reached. Meinfahrradspendet starts in Germany, but with the capacities growing in the course of time, it might be possible to open that model to all countries.
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