Startup Spotlight: How EdFundr’s Jason Morris Motivates Alumni to Give
How do we improve donor counts and giving rates? EdFundr has the answer. The company created its platform to remove financial barriers in education and provide an incredible giving experience for alumni. They make sure that the money is distributed to what’s most important.
We caught up with Jason Morris, cofounder of EdFundr, to talk about the future of higher education and what led him to the startup world.
What is EdFundr?
EdFundr is an online donation platform for higher education. Our platform was specifically designed to give alumni a better donation experience when they are giving to their alma mater. We focus on three major things:
1. Direct access: We want alumni to have access to specific departments or programs that they want to give to.
2. Showing the value: We use data visualizations to show the impact of donations on student successes
3. Scholarships: We want to give a portion of our profits to scholarships at the university.
What personal experiences led you to start EdFundr?
My business partner and I both saw a lot of the same issues in very different environments. We noticed that a huge amount of colleges and universities were saying, “We can’t sustain ourselves anymore, we don’t have the money to do certain things, we can’t hire more faculty, and we can’t accept more students.”
Meanwhile, students are paying ridiculous amounts in tuition costs, and when alumni step in to help, it’s an extremely painful and convoluted donation process. In 2013, over 90 percent of alumni in the U.S. didn’t give. We felt like the system was really broken and had to find a way to fix it, and empower the people who want to help.
Who are your target customers?
At the end of the day, we focus on alumni. All of our energy is spent on answering, “What would give alumni the best donation experience possible?” We partner with schools as far as showing them how our platform is going to impact their alumni donations and also teaching them how to utilize the donation model.
What is on the horizon for EdFundr?
We have a huge marketing task to complete. We are an entity that works with schools in terms of giving them access to alumni, but we are not necessarily what schools prefer at this point unless they see the impact of our platform. Until I can walk into a school saying, “Hey, we have 10,000 alumni waiting for you to adopt our system.” We need to prove that our platform works.
What piece of advice do you have for other edtech startups in the beginning stage?
Define what success means to you, and then drive towards that mission with more hunger than anyone else.