More than 70 local nonprofits are beta-testing the software helping them find and manage volunteers.
Madison Mikhail Bush was sitting in her Capital University dorm room one night several years ago when she had an epiphany.
“It was 11 p.m. and I knew that with my phone, I was able to order any type of food I wanted for delivery,” Bush says. “But there was a soup kitchen down the street and I didn’t know how to help.”
When she did connect with the soup kitchen, Bush says, “I had to call them like five times and coordinate. It was just this really long process and I was like you know what? I think that should be from your phone.”
That was the beginning of Point, an app that connects volunteers with nonprofits. Point’s back-end system incorporates cloud-based customer relationship management, or CRM, software that lets nonprofits find and manage their volunteers. “Our goal is to eliminate paperwork and data entry for nonprofits,” Bush says, “because really the best people in our community doing some of the best work really have the worst tech tools. And so with Point, we decided to bring a little bit of modern technology to the nonprofit world.”
Point was founded before Bush graduated from Capital with a degree in biology in 2014, when she told her parents she was moving into their basement to create a tech company. They weren’t exactly fans of this plan—both are scientists and Bush says they hoped she’d follow suit.
During the next year and a half, Point raised $20,000 with an Indiegogo campaign and honed its focus. An additional $190,000 in funding came from the Columbus Foundation and the Sea Change accelerator. There are now 70 nonprofits beta-testing the software including YMCA of Central Ohio, Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, Faith Mission and Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio. Bush says there are plans to expand to schools.
Point has grown to a team of nine including six contractors and three volunteers, and it’s preparing to launch subscriptions for nonprofit organizations. Bush calculates the software can save administrators 10 hours a week in volunteer-organizing tasks. A tiered fee schedule launching in spring 2019 keeps the app affordable—for a nonprofit with 100 volunteers, it’s $9 a month.
Bush has since gotten married and moved into her own place.