Tech key to scaling the impact of charities
The CEO of an online charity ticketing service says that it couldn’t help hundreds of vulnerable people if it wasn’t for technology.
Tickets for Good sends financially and socially vulnerable people to arts and entertainment events for free.
Co-founder Steve Rimmer told BusinessCloud that without putting tech first, its latest initiative Ticket Bank would not have grown to the size it has.
The Ticket Bank platform allows event organisers to donate spare and surplus tickets to people who would otherwise be unable to attend.
Charities can then log on to the platform and take up to 20 per month for the people they help.
Rimmer said that ‘Ticket Bank’ is ultimately driven by growing research which demonstrate the positive effects that access to events, particularly from disadvantaged and marginalised groups, has on mental health and well-being.
The idea may not be entirely original, but Ticket Bank’s process is. Rimmer said he and his team wanted to automate as much of the typically slow process as possible.
“Tech is key to our mission because it means we can do more good using digital technology,” he said.
He explained that the process of donating tickets to local charities is historically inefficient.
“The only way of doing this was to have an individual ring around lots of charities and offer them the tickets, and the individually give those tickets to those people.”
This approach often meant that offers of tickets were made with short notice, and charities couldn't take up the offer.
“The number one driver of what we're trying to do is make the current process better, faster and cheaper for everyone involved.”
Rimmer’s ‘lightbulb moment’ for the solution was a result of his more than a decade of experience in the sector.
His ‘Tickets For Good’ platform allows people to buy tickets with a charitable donation built in to the transaction.
“I wondered why we don’t turn the ticket itself into a donation,” he recalled.
After fleshing out a pilot and carrying out tests, the company soft-launched theticketbank.org last spring.
Charities were immediately receptive. Rimmer said the most rewarding part of the project has been the feedback from the charities about how beneficial these actions are to the people they support.
When signed up, charities get an alert that new tickets are available and can reserve them directly from the Ticket Bank website.
The platform has now listed 750 tickets, a 50 per cent increase in 20 per cent of the time, and is getting more offers of ticket donations.
“These seats would otherwise remain empty, so we're able to give positive benefits in the local community by using something which would otherwise go to waste,” he said.
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
While currently event organisers donate the majority of tickets on the platform, Rimmer and his team want to allow individuals to donate tickets they can no longer use in future.
Rimmer’s goal is to take the platform national in the next year, and to score big event organisers to bring in more tickets and attract more charities.
“Technology is key to help us scale-up our actions,” he said.
“Our focus is on how we scale this out and make it available to as many people as possible.”