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  • Writer's pictureAdam Martel

Q&A: Talking Nonprofit Tech with Crowded CEO Daniel Grunstein

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

There are amazing things happening within the nonprofit technology space to help the social good sector drive meaningful change.

One such company that is helping to move that needle is Crowded, a free banking and financial management platform for clubs, groups, and other 501(c) organizations that helps member-based nonprofits better manage their finances.

I recently had the chance to connect with Crowded’s Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Grunstein to pick his brain about the potential of fintech within the space and the opportunities he sees for technology in the future.

Martel: At Crowded, your values include "accessibility, simplicity and trust." These are three key areas we also recognize at Givzey and feel are vital to the future of nonprofit tech. Why are these values in particular key for your organization and clients?

Grunstein: Our clients are members of nonprofit organizations, which means that we work with people who are volunteering their time to further a cause or mission and create a sense of community. They’re not trying to take on a second job that leaves them feeling drained, but right now a lot of club treasurers end up feeling like that.

When you’re a nonprofit, you still need to rely on intelligent financial management to make sure your club has enough breathing room to host events and engage in club activities. You also want to feel confident that your club funds are being stored securely.

Unfortunately, nonprofits encounter several roadblocks when it comes to setting up and maintaining their finances. Whether it’s constantly having to go to the bank every time there is a treasurer handover, chasing members to submit receipts for reimbursements, or trying to collect dues – when there isn’t one source of truth to organize all of these processes, managing club money starts getting time-consuming and complicated.

Because of this, it was clear to us that we wanted to create a solution that was all-encompassing, stress-free, easily accessible, and secure.

Martel: Financial technology is still a relatively new concept within the nonprofit space. What do you think of its potential and how can it be leveraged for social good?

Grunstein: If you look at how platforms such as Melio, QuickBooks, and others have revolutionized financial management for small businesses, we think we can have the same effect on the 501(c) space.

Before these solutions, small business owners spent a lot of their time and money on financial management, payments, and banking instead of focusing their time on growing their ventures. These platforms became intuitive to the economic DNA of small businesses, and that's why they’re so successful.

Our one-stop shop for nonprofit clubs can achieve the same thing with an embedded banking solution that empowers club treasurers, understands their needs, and keeps things more efficient for all club members. With our solution, nonprofits get to avoid things like spending endless hours collecting dues payments, disputing reimbursement requests from members, or going over budget because expenses weren’t managed well.

Our platform enables nonprofits to devote their time to more important things like working towards their cause and community outreach.

Martel: Given that Crowded was built to support nonprofit clubs and organizations, including college organizations, engaging with members of Generation Z is essential. What are the most important elements to consider when promoting a financial technology platform such as Crowded to this audience?

Grunstein: First of all, it involves being humble and learning how to communicate and work with a generation that thinks and operates in its own unique way.

For example, we learned that a quick recommendation from a friend to use our app is more impactful than getting a recommendation from their university or a national organization. In terms of the technical aspect, it’s clear that their generation is technically savvy, and onboarding them to our platform is straightforward. We work alongside them and build our platform with them, encouraging their feedback and keeping open channels of communication (text messaging is big here).

With Gen Z incentives are a big deal. There are so many brands present on campus, so we want to make sure we’re offering them incentives that are relevant and speak their language. That’s why as part of our banking rewards we offer things like sponsored chapter parties and merch and we also weave these types of incentives into our student ambassador program.

Martel: Thank you Daniel! I appreciate your thoughts on the current and future state of fintech and sharing ways it can be leveraged to drive social good for nonprofits. To learn more about Crowded, visit their website.

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