GiveGame putting the fun in customers' fundraisers

Cindy Bent Findlay
GiveGame founder Matt Golis

Any nonprofit can tell you their biggest headache: fundraising. A new Columbus tech startup aims to turn that headache into child’s play—or at least, into good fun for those raising and giving money.

GiveGame is the brainchild of Matt Golis, a Beechwold native who’s just moved back to Columbus after 20 years in Silicon Valley.

After co-founding and growing mobile payment platforms and Yapstone, Golis started to yearn for what he felt would be greener grass for his family— and his new startup idea.

That idea was to find a way to take the fun of live events like Fantasy Football or March Madness brackets and monetize them for nonprofits.

“It really started as just a way for people to play with friends, and instead of entry cash going to the winner, it would go to a nonprofit instead,” Golis says. While the company started out trying to attract fantasy league-loving donors, it has pivoted toward pitching folks doing the fundraising.

Nonprofits or individuals wanting to raise money for a charity select an upcoming event such as the Memorial Tournament, which had several GiveGame fundraisers built around it this year. Organizers invite potential donors to pledge and pick which golfers will win, for example.

The charity of choice then keeps 90 percent of the pledged funds. GiveGame keeps the rest as a fee for service, a substantially lower percentage than most other plug-and-play fundraising firms.

Golis sees huge potential for nonprofits in the game—no cookie dough for PTOs to sell, store and deliver, no overhead in fancy event planning space or volunteer time tapped. Celebrities have a pre-packaged way to tap into their fan base to ask them to give back.

The threshold for donors is reduced from what could be a $2,000 gala ticket to $100, $25 or even $5 for access to play online.

Golis says he hopes to help raise $100 million for nonprofits by 2021.

Cindy Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.

Business: Fundraising platform for nonprofits and causes

Founded: 2018

Founder and CEO: Matt Golis

Investment to date: $1 million