future of e-funding: SaveNDonate.com

SaveNDonate.com raises the bar for fundraising online

When Brad Stroetz and Deborah De Castro met in the workplace several years ago, they quickly bonded.

Sharing the same work ethic and love for Christ, they were immediate friends and stayed in touch, even after going their separate ways in the business world. De Castro slowly phased herself out of the company that the two of them had been working for, and began pursuing a dream that she knew was led by the Holy Spirit. Acting on an early calling to help others that she’d felt within, De Castro worked in the not-for-profit arena for many years. She understood the fundraising models widely used within these organizations, and thought to herself that there must be a better way.

Several years of hard work, help from family members who worked in the computer-programming industry, and her faith helped her create a computer application and a company, SaveNDonate.com, that represents the future of cyber-style fundraising.

De Castro knew that Stroetz, originally an ordained minister who served full-time at churches in Indiana for more than 10 years, would be a perfect addition to the company because of his “passion, integrity and love for helping others.” So the two paired up again in the business world. They are now on their way to reaching a milestone in the corporate world, in terms of fundraising methods for not-for-profits, charities and other member-based organizations.

The SaveNDonate model for fundraising differs from others that are currently out there. It provides a revolutionary way to help organizations and companies generate critical funds while creating a win-win situation for everyone involved in the process. De Castro openly gives the glory to God, believing that He has continued to bless this vision because the company and the way the system works are completely transparent. Retailers and other members do not have to worry about fine print, surprises or gimmicks down the road. And the system is absolutely free to everyone involved.

Here is how and why it works so well: First, a free application is installed onto any computer; one does this by going to the SaveNDonate website. The ingenious application, which was perfected over four years, works in the background and never needs updating once it is installed. Whoever installs the application then has the opportunity to designate one charity or organization as their favorite. (This selection can be changed at any point down the road.) After that, whenever the user goes online to shop at one of the retailers on SaveNDonate’s list, a percentage of the total amount of money they spend on their purchase is given back and directly donated to the charity they have chosen.

The system’s innovation is that SaveNDonate, and the companies and organizations working through them, aren’t hounding people for monetary donations, which can make some people feel uncomfortable and pressured. It combines giving with an activity that many of us do regularly: online shopping. This provides a way for organizations to generate much-needed funds from the money that is already being spent on a daily basis. Merchants pay commissions on sales of their products and services, and SaveNDonate passes this commission along on behalf of the shopper.

The SaveNDonate system currently works with more than 1,600 merchants that many of us visit daily or weekly, including Staples, Best Buy, NewEgg, Dell, Sears, Go Daddy and countless others. What makes their system stand apart is that, because the application works in the background, the consumer doesn’t have to go first to the SaveNDonate website to start shopping. They can turn on their computer and go directly to, lets say, Staples.com. If they make a purchase, the software automatically sees that Staples is a merchant in the SaveNDonate system. It then checks to see what the computer user has designated as their favorite non-profit organization. Next, a percentage of the sale is immediately passed along.

Commission percentages passed along to charities and other organizations vary from 1 to 35 percent, with the average being 9 percent.

“We are truly providing a way for conscientious shopping with this system. We provide a solution for members of an organization to continually make a cost-free contribution, as there is no additional financial impact on the person using the program,” notes De Castro. “The application and website have the highest level of security that is available, and the system facilitates a source of ongoing contributions to a designated organization or charity. The great thing about this form of fundraising is that you are not going to spend any more additional money than you already spend. Money can actually be saved because you are not out wasting gas or time shopping around, and on our website, you can do comparative shopping to see where you can get the best price for an item or service. Then, in the background, a portion of the money that you are already spending goes directly to your charity. There is complete transparency here, and the donation income generated for organizations is astounding.”

In addition to creating a forward-looking fundraising application, De Castro has brought her faith in God into the corporate world around her. “I feel that our culture needs to be truthful to what the word of the Lord says, all the time. There are rules for all areas of our life given by our Lord throughout the words of the Bible. We tend to think sometimes that these rules should be followed when we are in church, but then when we go to work in the secular world, that we have to follow a completely separate set of rules and regulations. We need to stand up and do business the way that God wants us to do business, with transparency, taking proper care of our employees and by being representations of Christ in both our personal and business life,” adds De Castro.

In a world where instant gratification is becoming easier to receive, thanks to technology, getting SaveNDonate up and running was quite the opposite and entailed a long journey for both Stroetz and De Castro. “God has truly taken my wife and I on a journey of cultivation and transformation, and basically stripped us of the things that we thought were valuable. He brought us through the wilderness and touched every part of our hearts that needed healing, and brought people and connections into our life for very specific reasons,” says Stroetz, relations manager for SaveNDonate. “Connecting again with Deborah, and watching as God orchestrated things and used them for the purpose of glorifying His kingdom, has been incredible. We have been totally blessed by the Lord, and our desire is to continue to carry out what He has laid out in front of us.”

Those who are interested in learning more about the SaveNDonate system for their charity or organization, or who would like to install the application so they can instantly donate to their favorite organization, can visit the website, www.SaveNDonate.com. There, they can watch a brief video about the process, read FAQs, learn different tools and marketing information, do comparison shopping and check out retailers that are currently on board with the company.

With the vision and belief that God will one day provide the company with Fortune 500 status, De Castro is excited about what the future holds and how she can continue helping both large and small grassroots operations generate money for their causes. “I have been extremely fortunate to have had the ability to do a lot with my life, in terms of education, opportunities, et cetera. Now, using those blessings, I walk in my faith and with the promises that God has given me. And I live to represent him in totality, in my life and in this company. Here I am, coming into a secular business world, dealing with secular people and having a goal of integrating His teachings, respectfully, to those around me. He is allowing me to walk in faith towards His promises that He has for me, and I have committed myself to represent Him in my day-to-day life, in the hopes of bringing togetherness between my walk in the Lord and the future of SaveNDonate.”

For more information on the SaveNDonate system, and to install the program, please visit www.SaveNDonate.com.
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