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Volunteering is good. But not everyone can work at a soup kitchen, solicit sidewalk donations, or help build a house. But what if, rather than structuring volunteerism around general services, people could donate their unique skills on their own schedule to raise money for nonprofits?

This is the idea behind Reggalo, a marketplace for social good that allows changemakers to list a service that they are willing to do on a volunteer basis, and consumers to purchase that service, with the money going to a nonprofit of the changemaker's choosing. Reggalo charges a 12% matching fee to the customer.

Here, the platform’s co-founders, James Rigor and Harrison McHugh, share with us the vision for Reggalo, the moment that inspired it, and how this model offers a fresh and empowering way for people to support nonprofits.

Shareable: Using Reggalo, customers purchase services from volunteers called changemakers. The money goes to a nonprofit of the changemakers choosing. How did this model come about? What was the inspiration for it?

James Rigor and Harrison McHugh: Our inspiration was the combined experience of Visually, a marketplace for infographics, and Engineers without Borders. Harrison led a team of students, PhDs and company men to Guatemala to build a water treatment system. Although the experience was moving, there was a moment he saw his entire team digging a hole in the dirt. It was apparent then, that this wasn't the most efficient use of his time because he knew he wouldn't be able to make this trip often.

Simply, the economics work out so much better if everyone would have stayed home with their day jobs and used the money to build 10 water treatment systems. That's where understanding the marketplace model, it's benefits, and potential to impact the nonprofit world came to light.

How is Reggalo different from existing services that connect volunteers with service opportunities?

The majority of the services out there are about volunteer matching. In order for a successful match the volunteer has to have applicable skill sets, the required amount of time to spend, and a passion for the cause that is supported. These variables make it tough to find a great match and lead to a lot of volunteer turnover. Reggalo makes it simpler by using any skill set to support any cause with your free time. All the same pieces are there, but in a more efficient model.

What does the name Reggalo mean?

Reggalo means gift in Spanish, Italian and Filipino. This is essentially what changemakers do – they gift their time on behalf of a nonprofit.

The marketplace empowers volunteers as it puts the services offered, rates charged and nonprofits served into their hands. Why is this important?

The volunteer is traditionally treated as an extra hand. Whereas we want to highlight their talents by measuring their impact, rewarding them, and empowering them.

One of the really interesting features is that people can offer tutoring, music lessons, consulting, graphic design, coding, or any number of other skills through Reggalo. This could potentially eliminate barriers that people may have had to volunteering. Is this the intention?

Exactly. Volunteering tends to be a group activity and this becomes a big barrier because there is scheduling, training and supervision involved with large groups. With Reggalo, a changemaker is confident they can provide a high quality of service and on their own schedule. No supervision or training needed.

Reggalo facilitates, “accessible, high impact, low commitment volunteering.” What does this mean? What kind of impact do you see it having on communities?

Reggalo is accessible in the sense that the volunteering opportunity is easy to get to; that's the power of the internet. More recently, online marketplaces have made peer to peer transactions even more accessible. Reggalo is high impact because you are using your most valuable fundraising tools–your skills–to create impact.

Graphic design work is generally more valuable than passing out flyers or heading to the soup kitchen. Reggalo helps you capture that value and use it to create impact for your cause. Reggalo is low commitment when compared to traditional volunteering opportunities. Most of us don't have a whole day per week to dedicate to volunteering but majority of us have a few hours. Reggalo can make those hours count.

Reggalo leverages the Near Me marketplace platform to connect people who want to do good with organizations working for good. How important is the tech aspect of Reggalo?

Since we are bootstrapped, Near Me has made it so easy to borrow the technology. We must prove the model first before diving into the problem in a more technical aspect.

Is Reggalo location specific? If yes, where is it at this point and how many people are currently using it?

Yes it is. Currently we have about 10 nonprofit partners and a few hundred users in the Bay Area. Before we expand aggressively, we plan to host more intimate fundraisers for our partners.

What’s the big picture vision for Reggalo? What would you most like to see?

We would like to see Reggalo become the de facto way of showing you care for a cause.

Cat Johnson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, collaboration and community. She's the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking space operators. Publications include Yes!