Now, more than ever before, the non-profit sector has been at the forefront of local communities and national news across the country as Canadians continue to work together to keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay.
But well before the onslaught of COVID-19, Gigit Marketplace – a Hamilton, Ontario-based software development company – was in the process of refining their operational management social platform built especially for the volunteer and not-for-profit community.
Since 2017, Gigit has partnered with hundreds of non-profit and volunteer organizations to power volunteer initiatives, fundraising, donor, and event management in Ontario.
Today, Gigit Marketplace is pleased to announce the official launch of their new and improved Gigit Community social platform.
Gigit is like no other operational management platform available. Not only is it FREE to any organization, group, or business to use, but it also gives back to every organization, group, or business that uses it by donating a portion of Gigit revenue generated via online transactions within the platform.
“We wanted to create something bigger than just another piece of operational management software,” says Christopher McIntosh, President and Co-founder of Gigit.
“We recognized that there was a significant gap in the software management market in the not-for profit space. There is no other all-in-one solution like Gigit out there. And there certainly isn’t one that’s free for these organizations to use. Why should they have to pay to make a difference in our local and national communities? Giving back a portion of our revenue was just a no-brainer. We want to do some social good and giving back to these organizations that are already doing the work just makes sense.”
As an all-in-one solution, Gigit replaces every other management platform organizations currently pay to use, turning an operating cost into a revenue line, and ensuring organizational budgets go to initiatives their communities need, rather than to paying for operational management software programs.
The new Gigit release is an entirely overhauled operating platform that offers complete donor and donation management, volunteer management, calendar and scheduling functionality, event management including ticket sales, transactional storefronts for selling products and services, peer-to-peer fundraising, paid employee search and management, online resume creation, data and analytics, and more.
The new Gigit gives communities better ways to connect – providing a hub for all community members to be found and to find each other.
“Although our immediate focus is on supporting the not-for-profit sector,” continues Mr. McIntosh, “Gigit is really about the broader community and making those important community connections that every business, organization, school, and community member needs to do things like shop and buy local, find the right schools, events, and activities for their family, support the causes that are important to them, and build community connections that make every community stronger. And it’s particularly important to have these virtual community hubs now as we face this ‘new normal’ of physical distancing.”
"It's particularly important to have these virtual community hubs now as we face this 'new normal' of physical distancing."
For individual community members, Gigit offers a way to find volunteer opportunities quickly and easily by searching either geographically or by the types of causes that are important to them. In Ontario, where high school students must earn 40 verified volunteer hours before they are able to graduate with their Ontario Secondary School Diploma, Gigit has partnered with a number of school boards, such as the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and St. Clair Catholic School Board, to provide easy access to these volunteer opportunities – as well as a way to track and verify volunteer hours and then submit them to the school. In addition, students come away from their volunteering experiences on Gigit with a digital resume of their acquired skills and experience they can use as part of their college or university application, or to find paid work.
“Volunteer management was really where we started with Gigit,” says Mr. McIntosh. “There just wasn’t a good solution for either finding volunteer opportunities or managing the volunteers themselves with application forms, scheduling, or hours tracking and verification. But as we developed that piece of the management solution, we realized that we could also offer a much better total solution for organizations, so that they didn’t have to try to use multiple platforms or programs and cobble them together or move data between them to complete various tasks like tax receipting for donors or sending communications. The Gigit platform we’ve launched live now is a platform that any non-profit organization can use to manage their operations completely. And, in fact, a platform any for-profit business or community group can use to do the same.”
Although Gigit has worked closely with organizations in its local Ontario market, Gigit is available for use by any organization, anywhere and has already embarked on partnerships with a number of national-level organizations such as MADD Canada and United Way Centraide Canada, working with them at both national and local Chapter levels.
Steve Pratt, CEO of United Way Chatham-Kent comments, “In Chatham-Kent, Ontario we are very lucky to have an active volunteer and donor community. Harnessing their energy and enthusiasm in order to meet our community’s needs has been challenging as we’ve had to use multiple platforms to manage, communicate, and organize volunteers as well as accept donations. The Gigit platform brings all of these requirements together in one cohesive and easy-to-use online application that simplifies this process for our organization.”
An easy-to-use social platform for the social good space
Perhaps most exciting of all, is Gigit’s ability to produce aggregated data and analytics reports. Created as a social platform ultimately meant to connect communities, Gigit gathers data and insight across every community it serves – and those businesses, non-profits, schools, groups, activities, events, and individuals that make up those communities. This means that each individual organization can review and asses their own, detailed data, but also data as it relates to their broader sector or community.
“Imagine the power that holds for organizations, schools, post-secondary institutions, and businesses,” Mr. McIntosh observes.
“To be able to pull a report not only about your particular organization, but the entire not-for-profit sector in your local, provincial, or national community, for example. Suddenly these organizations will have access to information that will help them to make better organizational and community-service decisions based on the trends, activity, and information they’re seeing aggregated from many organizations, identifying trends, gaps, successes, and so on. Gigit is not just a management tool – it’s a true social platform that only gets better and more effective with ongoing and expanded community use – just like any other social platform.”
For Christopher McIntosh and the Gigit team, their vision is to see the Gigit icon right next to the other social icons on websites and digital communications.
“Aside from connecting communities, the Gigit icon will signify that organization’s social good and volunteering activities. It will be the icon people click when they want to see what that particular group, business, school, or non-profit is doing, what events or fundraisers or activities they’re hosting, what volunteer or paid gig work opportunities they might have, where they’ll go to make donations or fundraise on behalf of.”
With more than 60,000 non-profits in Ontario alone, Gigit has both an enormous opportunity and challenge ahead, but the response to this highly user-friendly and uber-functional platform has been nothing but positive so far.
“It’s been gratifying to see the response we’ve received to Gigit and to this launch of our new version,” finished Mr. McIntosh. “We knew there was a gap in the not-for-profit software space in particular, but to hear just how excited these organizations are about Gigit, its functionality, and the fact that it’s zero cost, zero risk, and it gives back to them, we know it’s a social platform that can really make a big difference to these organizations and to the communities they serve.”
If you are a student or individual looking for volunteer opportunities; a donor or fundraiser looking for ways to make a difference to the causes or charities that matter most to you; a non-profit organization looking for a FREE and better way to manage volunteers, donors, events, or fundraising; or a local business, group, event, or activity looking for a way to build a FREE online transactional storefront to support Shop Local initiatives, sell tickets, attract attendees or group members, hire short term paid gig workers, or rent space, you can get started on Gigit here.