Getting to know Kasey Birdsong, the creator of Planet Fundraiser, the app that lets you give back by shopping local!
<img alt="Kasey Birdsong. LinkedIn Photo" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/happenins-in-the-ham/2017/01/Kasey-Birdsong-of-Planet-Fundraiser.JPG"style="width:10em; float: left; padding: 0.5em">If you haven’t heard of the free app Planet Fundraiser, you need to download it now! We met with its creator, Kasey Birdsong, at Cantina just below his Pepper Place office. His excitement and energy was obvious from the get go. The application he developed brings together local businesses that will donate a percentage of your purchase to a cause or charity. All you have to do is download the app and upload a picture of your receipt to the fundraising campaign of your choice! It’s THAT simple!
We wanted to get to know Kasey and the story behind this great concept, so we sat down for a Q&A where we talked about our mutual love for Birmingham and what he sees as the potential for a “Reverse Gold Rush.”
Be sure to check the end of the interview to learn how you can Earnbak for yourself!
Happenin’s in the ‘Ham: How did you get the idea for Planet Fundraiser?
Kasey Birdsong: After helping with several fundraisers and experiencing firsthand how inefficient and resource draining fundraising the traditional ways can be, I thought to myself there has to be a better way to improve and simplify the process using technology. I could not find any practical solution, so I decided I would create it.
HITH: Why choose to set up shop in Birmingham and not another city?
KB: Birmingham is home and filled with wonderful people who have the spirit to help others. Rather than chase the trend to flock to a predominate tech city, we believe the big opportunity is right here in our backyard. I feel strongly we are going to experience what I call a "Reverse Gold Rush", where people begin to realize the technology opportunity is in the southeast and middle America not in saturated markets like San Francisco.
HITH: In what ways do you hope the app will have an impact on the city?
KB: Our mission is for the app to allow individuals who previously could not give due to financial constraints to be able to help a cause that is near and dear to their heart without additional financial burden and support Birmingham's momentum of becoming one best place in the US to live! We also want to solve and relieve the current "fundraising fatigue" that so many have from trying to raise money the old traditional way.
HITH: Have retailers embraced the idea?
KB: Absolutely! Once they understand our model and the fact that they are not actually giving money away, but rather they are only giving when a paying customers walks through their doors and shops at their store, it's a no brainier for them. This is the first performance based and measurable way for them to obtain new customers and help great causes at the same time. In fact, we have some merchants who want us to take over all their fundraising so they can just tell every fundraising group who walks in the door asking for a donation, "yes we give through Planet Fundraiser. Call them and get registered on their App." This allows the business to focus on running their business without interruptions, while our technology handles the fundraising work and drives new loyal customers to them.
HITH: What is your favorite thing about living and working in Birmingham?
KB: The People. Birmingham has the most faithful, helpful, loving, hardworking people. Everyone is excited to help each other out.
HITH: There's a lot going on in the city. Which new place or project are you most excited about?
KB: There's not one place or project in particular. I am just extremely proud of how the investors, developers, leadership, and the community has rallied together over the last few years to revitalize the city & make it once again a vibrant place to worship, work, play, live, and call home.
So, of course we download the app. It was very easy to find and download in the app store.
There are so many local merchants that are eager to give back! The Piggly Wiggly on Clairmont gives back 10% of your purchase. That's amazing! (Download the app to see all participating merchants.)
We also found this sweet video that breaks down how simple this fundraising app is!
During the interview, we found out about the Earnbak” option on the app! It works just the same as the give-back portion, but the cash back goes to YOU , the shopper! This means that you would get a percentage back on your purchase. Once you accrue $20 in Earnbak cash you will get an actual check in the mail! Let’s be honest, sometimes each of us can use a little extra help ourselves and it never hurts to be rewarded for shopping local! Now that is what we call a WIN WIN!