Growing up, Matt was raised by an amazing single mother who supported him and his brother, while working full-time as an Executive Assistant and going to school for her Associates degree at a local community college. She persevered, despite receiving inconsistent child support payments, which meant that money was always tight. And they had to rely on the help of others to get by. Friends and family would help when they could, but it was the good work of nonprofits in their community that kept their family strong.
Nonprofit organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA ensured his brother and Matt had an affordable and quality place to go before and after school, and on summer breaks. They made life-long friends and learned critical life skills that have served them well ever since. Matt’s family from time to time would get new bikes, furniture and clothes (including the tie Matt wore to his first job interview) from nonprofits like Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army. Their first family dog, Brownie, that they received when Matt was 9, was from their local Animal Rescue League.
As his brother and Matt grew older, their father struggled with depression and drug addiction, which eventually led to him losing his life at a young age. Giving back and volunteering for the local food pantry, fundraising for United Way, helping at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and many others helped his family heal from their loss. Being on the giving side of nonprofits changed Matt’s life, and it was the feeling of helping others that drew him in further.
Matt eventually started serving on local nonprofit boards and learned firsthand the issues that all nonprofits struggle with, which was raising money for the services they provide. Matt often thought his age may have been a disadvantage. Matt didn’t have a lot of money to give to the nonprofits he served, but quickly realized his age gave him a different perspective. Being a younger board member Matt realized that current fundraising methods didn’t speak to his generation (millennials). Matt was instructed to reach out to his friends and do the ‘hard ask.’ Matt would start by asking for a high amount and working down to an amount they would agree to write a check for. The first problem was that his generation lives paycheck to paycheck and lives in the subscription based economy where their comfort zone is to pay a small amount for things on a recurring basis. The second issue was that his generation doesn’t write checks, and most don’t even know where their checkbook is located.
Matt’s career took him into the payment processing industry where as a Director of a Payment Association Matt was a part of national committees that oversaw the rules, regulations, and technology of a payment network. But Matt continued to think about how he could really help nonprofits that had made such a difference in his life. After a few years Matt missed the nonprofit world and still felt a desire to give back to the organizations that helped his family when he was young. So Matt left his job and pulled together experts in nonprofits and payment processing, and began to work on the problem of how to get millennials to give more to nonprofits. Out of countless meetings and brainstorming sessions, Softgiving was born. Softgiving was created out of the realization that millennials care just as much and are just as generous as their parents, but existing donation tools do not reflect their lifestyles. Softgiving gives donors, for the first time, the flexibility to give in ways that fit their lifestyles. And for the first time, nonprofits have the ability to offer innovative donation solutions from their website directly to their supporters.