Local entrepreneur Mark Teckenburg has developed a system that may eliminate the classic door-to-door method of youth fundraising.
You know the drill. You’re fundraising for your school band/sports team/youth group and you end up going to your neighbor’s and asking if they’d like some cookie dough/wrapping paper/kettle corn.
For Teckenburg and his son on the hockey team, it was frozen pizza. Selling those pizzas involved knocking on doors and filling out an order form. Then depositing the money from those orders into their own bank accounts, and writing checks for the team. Then waiting for the pizzas to be delivered, and months later, finally getting those frozen pizzas to their proper recipients.
“It’s a complete pain in the butt,” Teckenburg said.
The solution to this problem first hit Teckenburg, a Fargo native, while he was building a crowdfunding startup based in Denver, Colorado. He envisioned a coupon book, sold over a mobile site, that organizations could use to raise funds. The startup at the time was unsure of the idea. Teckenburg, however, felt like he’d struck gold.
On the flight from Denver to Fargo, he wrote a business plan. By the following month, he had done all his due diligence and market research. By the next month, May 2014, he had secured investors, was set up as a North Dakota primary sector business, and was incorporated.
From there things began to move very fast. Simply Made Apps worked with Mark to create their minimum viable product, which he then presented to merchants and began building the coupon options.
The final result as it stands now is best described as a mobile customized coupon book. At the home page you select which group you’d like to donate to. Then you can pick 10 from a current 34 merchants, varying in everything from Subway to UPS. Each merchant offers a handful of coupons ranging from half-off pizza, free beer or wine, even discounts on bounce houses and Fargo Force tickets.
According to Teckenburg, the value of an average of coupon book is at $350-400 and you get 50-70 coupons with each book. You buy the coupon book for a flat fee of $20, half of which goes to the organization.
All without either parties even getting up.
On the internal side, team members raising funds each have a personal account and can monitor how many books they have sold, and how much money they have raised for the team. They can easily share pre-made messages promoting their campaign on Facbeook and Twitter, or via personal e-mails and text messages.
Recently, Teckenburg said he sat down with Kriss Burns from FM Acro to help her create a PushSave account. She sent out an e-mail with information on her campaign. With that one e-mail, she sold 12 books and raised $120.
“Now we’ve sold a couple hundred books,” Teckenburg said. “We’re seeing that it works.”
A $15 Billion Market
The youth fundraising market is relatively untouched, Teckenburg said. Although it happens every year across the nation, there have not been many iterations to the door-to-door order form process.
“There are 88,000 elementary schools in the U.S. 55 million enrolled students in secondary and elementary school. 14,000 highschool football teams. Every one of them has to do fundraising,” Teckenburg said. “The whole youth fundraising market space is about 15 billion dollars.”
This includes, Teckenburg said, bands, sports teams for all ages, church and youth groups, etc.
His goal, he said, is for all those kids and youth organizations to think of PushSave when they think of fundraising. He wants to be what cookies are for Girl Scouts.
“If I were to cast my future in 5 years, I would love to wake up and realize we’ve just disrupted an entire industry,” he said. “Realize that we’ve come in and revolutionized and simplified the way fundraising is done.”
Teckenburg is a guy who’s gone back and forth between corporate jobs and always come back to entrepreneurship. He’s a marketing strategist by trade, and has always been driven by building and creating – something he calls a blessing and a curse. Even what you see now of PushSave, he said, is just a fraction of what it will be.
Ultimately, however, he has a larger goal. If PushSave is successful, Teckenburg hopes to start a foundation that will collect a percentage of each book sold and donate it to a humanitarian cause.
“I think that’s why we’re here, to make a difference,” he said. “This is why I’m an entrepreneur.”
Come meet and hear Mark Teckenburg speak this Wednesday at 1 Million Cups! Join us at 9:15 am at the Stage at Island Park.
Learn more about PushSave, here.