Our tech start-up of the week is iDonate.ie, a new fundraising platform for charities and not-for-profits, which also has an online auction system. iDonate.ie has also just launched customisable, branded fundraising pages for charities.
The site itself was set up in late 2011 by father and son team Paddy and Alan Coyne, after the duo had developed the fundraising platform during that year.
Based in Tuam, Co Galway, the elder Coyne had already set up Western Webs in 1998 to carry out web design, marketing and SEO services for companies. That particular company now manages more than 500 websites.
Online fundraising platform
But, as for the new start-up iDonate.ie, the aim is for charities and not-for-profits to have access to an online fundraising platform, which Alan Coyne says has no set-up or monthly fees. The site charges a transaction fee of 3pc on donations made through the website.
iDonate.ie features fundraising pages for either single or multiple charities, as well as an online auction system and a facility for people to carry out SMS donations to particular charities.
At the minute, more than 100 charities are registered on the site. "We are adding new ones every week," explains Coyne.
Three people are currently employed at iDonate.ie, including the two co-founders and a developer, but Coyne says the aim is to scale up in 2013.
As for current developments, he says the site is also starting to launch customisable, branded fundraising pages for charities.
"It allows the charities and not-for-profits to integrate our system into their website. It is fully customisable which means every fundraising site will not look the same. We manage everything to do with the set-up, which is also free. We also maintain the system on our servers.
"We attended a fundraising conference in early 2012. There was considerable interest in our services but the one thing charities wanted was to have their own branded fundraising pages on their own websites," explains Coyne.
Since then, iDonate.ie released a beta version to CROI West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation and Mercy Hospital Foundation. Both charities have now gone live with this feature on their websites.
"As we do not charge a set-up fee or ongoing fee, it is proving very popular. We are currently developing several similar branded systems for some of the biggest charities in the country," says Coyne.
SMS donations and auction service
And what about the SMS donation system? Coyne says this facility allows charities to accept small donations. "Charities can select a donation amount and the donor simply sends a text. It is now completely free to set up."
As for the online auction service, people can use this service to upload items and select a charity to benefit from the proceeds of the sale.
In terms of challenges, Coyne says that VAT on SMS messages is still a major issue for charities.
"Even though Revenue told the mobile operators in May 2011 that they should not be deducting VAT on the full donation amount, it still happens. While the operators are trying to resolve the issue, charities are losing 23pc of each donation," he claims.
And his advice for new ventures in Ireland right now? "Go for it! Work with people who want to work with you and share in the success."