Welcome to issue #11 of our recently launched Q&A series, Startup Spotlight.

This series is all about diving into the world-class technological innovation conducted by exciting UK startups. Getting to grips with the technology, the mission, and even the stories behind them.

In each edition, we sit down with a different startup founder, leader, or operator in an easily digestible conversational style Q&A format.

Today we had a chat with Johnny Pitt, entrepreneur, and founder of ThinkDonate


  • 📱How ThinkDonate use technology to increase ‘in the moment’ donations
  • 👀 Seeing hashtags in a whole new light and use case
  • 🏅 The ‘number 1 social media fundraising platform’ of the future

Think back to a time when you’ve been scrolling through a social media feed. A cause close to your heart has been posted by a charity or someone you know, and you instantly connect with it.

Next... you get the urge to make a spontaneous donation.

So, you click donate, get taken to an external website (where you have to spend an age registering or resetting your password), fill in your payment details, experience a few errors, lose where you were to begin with, then in sheer frustration, abandon the mission – the moment’s gone!

It feels exhausting describing it, let alone actually doing it. Imagine how many charities have lost donations purely because of this clunky user experience!

So, what if you could make a donation on social media without even having to leave the page? 

ThinkDonate have made this happen.

ThinkDonate are all about being in the moment. The now. The right there and then. For them, the hashtag is the little icon with big fundraising appeal. Their fundraising platform sets up hashtag campaigns that allow people to donate to their favourite causes instantly – without being directed elsewhere.

There’s even an opportunity for the fundraiser to double their impact by inviting corporate partners and influencer supporters to join in with the social feed fun, too.

Clever stuff, right?

ThinkDonate have transformed the hashtag from a marketing symbol to a genius fundraising tool, but what makes them unique? 

How are they scaling their business?

And finally, what’s next?

We interviewed Johnny to find out. Here we go.👇

What is the mission of your company?

To help charities fundraise on social media. 

How are you using technology to help solve that problem? 

Our technology helps charities own 'in the moment giving' across social media. #Donate, ThinkLink, DonatePage and QR Codes all make it super simple for charities to fundraise on social.  They then can manage it all from one intuitive and central dashboard. 

What's your unique selling point?

Helping charities own in-the-moment giving on social media with neat tools like # fundraising. No need to leave social feeds to donate – just do it there and then. 

What have been the greatest challenges to date?

Fundraising aside (ask any entrepreneur - and if you’re interested in investing, please get in touch!), it's really been about simplifying the problem, proposition and delivery.  

Sounds fascinating - could you take us through your journey of "simplifying the problem, proposition and delivery"?

Charities know the potential of fundraising on social media is HUGE. Yet, by no means straightforward. 

It’s fragmented, with so many different providers, using different technology – and across so many platforms. So, we’ve had to be really simple in our problem language, to truly articulate the issue – and the potential.  The proposition then needs to reflect that (cue; difference and simplicity!) and the delivery in the early days requires a lot of constant fine-tuning.

It’s a needy but awesome product!

How does your technology 'work', in terms of using a hashtag to make a donation without leaving social media?

With #Donate and Twitter, a charity registers their campaign fundraising hashtag on the ThinkDonate platform. Our tech then monitors their Twitter feed for the hashtag and when found, it triggers an automated donation flow – and an instant reply from the charity with a link to donate.

Removing donation friction sounds like a win-win for everybody.

Do you have an idea of what kind of 'donation uplift' that generates for charities?

Our very early data is showing some impressive figures against things like marketing opt-in, Gift Aid declaration and donors covering platform and processing fees – so the charity gets 100% of the donation. 

It’s still early days but we are giving charities a new way to fundraise on social media which will be game-changing. We reckon everyone should give more of a #!

What major milestones have you achieved - and what's next!?

Significant fundraise, test and learn, launch. For us, it's now about rapid innovation and scaling fast. We've big ambition to be the no.1 social media fundraising platform. I've been involved in product launches all my working life. And this is, by far, the most technologically-led brand I've led.

Thanks, Johnny!

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