CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: GOODBOOKEY
May 17, 2016
Our regular readers may have noticed a recurring theme over the last five years, especially amplified of late—the Forrest Firm’s commitment to companies that want to benefit the public. In the last few weeks, we’ve held a non-profit Challenge to award pro bono startup packages to five social entrepreneurs across North Carolina, and we’ve even celebrated the achievement of the Forrest Firm becoming North Carolina’s largest law firm certified as a B Corporation.
Now, let’s take a look at another inspiring Forrest Firm client, GoodBookey, a fundraising app launched by Carimus. Led by Tony Pease, Carimus is a company focused on bringing technical and business consulting to a balanced group of client companies in both for-profit and non-profit arenas.
Pease has intersected with the Forrest Firm in multiple contexts, first as Vice President of Business Development at I-Cubed. A few years ago, Tony assisted his wife, Anita, in launching a fantastic non-profit, Small Hands Big Hearts United, aimed at teaching volunteerism to children. Now, with GoodBookey, Tony and the team at Carimus are focused on bringing a fun and entertaining angle to non-profit fundraising.
According to Pease, the idea for GoodBookey sprang from an annual golf tournament that he participates in with fellow Virginia Tech alumni, as he had begun thinking about bringing his professional experience to add value to companies with social impact. “At this particular event, you play against other teams, and you commit to giving $100 to the loser if you win,” he said. “But while it was fun, I thought that there had to be better ways to put that money to use.”
Over a period 18 months, Pease and the team at Carimus worked on multiple models for a mobile application that would emulate peer-to-peer sports gambling sites, while remaining legally compliant and minimizing processing fees that normally take a big bite out of online non-profit revenue. Users would get the satisfaction and joy of winning a bet on a major sporting event, or experience satisfaction and joy from seeing a losing wager committed to charity.
GoodBookey launched in January 2016, as the team achieved its goal of delivering an experience that’s fun, powered by donations that are legal, tax deductible, and with limited credit card fees due to some savvy partnerships in the payments space. “We’ve been privileged to work with a couple of different partners in payments processing that really get what we’re doing,” said Pease.
After first reaching out to large non-profits to form partnerships with GoodBookey, Pease realized that smaller entities were the ones that really needed another source of donations. “Smaller non-profits are beginning to respond very positively,” Pease said. “They see it as a passive way to raise money, easing the pressure on already over-extended staff. These are typically organizations that have senior staff, even executive directors, focused on raising money for the mission and executing it. We like to think that our platform will help free them up to do more good.”
Participating charities include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City, the Orange County (NC) Rape Crisis Center, Small Hands Big Hearts United, and many more. Today, 97 percent of all revenue generated by the app goes directly to the participating charities. “We believe there’s ultimately a huge opportunity for corporate sponsorships and advertising, so we’re content now to build a model that’s focused on lifting up our partners,” said, Pease. “Social impact as a service will become even more important, and we’re just trying to create something fun and entertaining that people can use for good.”
In reflecting on GoodBookey’s 2016 launch after nearly two years of preparation, Pease credits the Forrest Firm’s James Forrest for paving the way for the company’s success. “I’ve known James for six years now, and I spoke to several attorneys about this project that became GoodBookey,” said Pease. “He was the only one that fully grasped our vision and focused on helping us achieve it, while others either said not to do it or certainly not to call it ‘GoodBookey.’ James helped us walk through the development process, and together we found the right flow for the app. Our work with James enabled us to make GoodBookey as fun and ethical as possible.”