What’s philanthropy as a service?

Groundswell sees philanthropy as an employee benefit, like a 401(k). Employees and employers add money, employees give as they see fit.

What if your charitable donations were part of your employee benefits, like insurance or PTO?

That’s what Groundswell envisions with its “philanthropy as a service” platform. The startup raised $15m in seed funding, to ramp up for an early 2022 launch.

Groundswell sells its services to companies…

… who set employees up with personal funds to donate as they see fit, using Groundswell’s platform.

The app also:

  • Makes suggestions based on issues employees identify as important
  • Lets users build shareable portfolios of charities they support
  • Tracks donations for tax purposes

To grow the fund, employees can automatically divert a percentage of their paycheck, which employers can match.

But Groundswell founder and CEO Jake Wood told The Hustle he hopes companies just give away money to “empower employees to solve the problems that they think are most pressing in their communities.”

Companies not only get a tax deduction…

… but receive data about the issues that attract their employees’ dollars.

“There’s a role for companies to be writing big checks [and] tackling issues at a systemic level,” Wood told us.

“If they know what their people care about and can align those big checks to those values, then it’s a win-win for the organization that actually makes that corporate philanthropy more sustainable.”

So far, Groundswell has signed on a variety of companies, from hedge funds to consumer brands, with ~200 to 10k+ employees (though they haven’t officially named any names).

BTW: If you’re looking for charities to support, Charity Navigator is a searchable database of 195k+ nonprofits.

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