Organizing Made Easier: VolunteerSpot CEO on Plans to Expand
It’s easy to ignore the effort that volunteers and coordinators put in to make events go off seamlessly. It’s an often thankless job filled with spreadsheets, clipboards, and seemingly endless e-mail chains. One Austin, TX, company has developed an online and mobile tool to try to make the work a little easier.
VolunteerSpot, a six-year-old startup, is planning to expand the services it offers 8.2 million users who already use its website and mobile platform in 2016, according to CEO and founder Karen Bantuveris.
VolunteerSpot offers a variety of tools for people—from soccer parents to school volunteers to sports coordinators—who organize events, with a particular focus on volunteer organizations. It provides free services such as sign-up sheets, a group page, calendars, and limited communication tools, while also selling premium services, including organizer assistants and tools that track volunteer hours. The company’s users are primarily in North America, though it has started gaining customers internationally, Bantuveris says
“We like to say we’re powering the superheroes in our own backyards,” Bantuveris says. “We have helped more than 8 million people make a difference in their local communities and schools by making it easy for them to ask for help and easy for them to participate.”
Users interact with VolunteerSpot largely through the web, both on computers and through their phones. The company has mobile apps for both Android and iPhones, though they’re primarily useful for the paid services, Bantuveris says. It also sells a couple of other apps, such as a clipboard, which can be useful for large-group organizers, she says.
The company plans to add to its premium features, specifically bolstering them for organizers of things like races and tournaments. It also plans to add users in new industry verticals. While schools, volunteer groups, and sporting events such as races have been a focus, the company hopes to add users who work in politics and businesses that need to organize and schedule events, Bantuveris says.
VolunteerSpot makes some money on the subscription plans—it charges $9.99 per month for premium users or $99 per year for K-12 schools. It also pulls in revenue by selling “sponsorships” to brands interested in targeting its users, Bantuveris says.
The company uses programmatic advertising to target ads to specific types of users. The coordinator of a sports event might get an ad from a water bottle company, she says. The ad might be more of a “do-good” message that offers to send a bottle of water to the Boys and Girls Club for each one the coordinator buys, Bantuveris says. “That kind of brand messaging works really well on our site,” she says.
The company has raised $5 million since its founding in 2009, including $1.3 million led by AXA Strategic Ventures in September.