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GroupRaise empowers student organizations

GroupRaise started an idea between two college undergraduates who wanted to make the process of human outreach and fundraising seamless for student leaders on college campuses, along with bringing money into the local economy — not bad for a couple of millennial college students. Sean Park, a co-founder of the for-profit organization GroupRaise, wants FGCU students to get involved in this quick fundraising gig.

GroupRaise allows anyone to create a partnership with a local restaurant in their community to organize a fundraiser event that allocates a patron’s restaurant bill toward an organization’s cause. GroupRaise, originally based in Houston, Texas, started at one restaurant and one college campus.

The whole idea came from the appeal of taking human outreach and joining it with something most people love to do.

“It’s a way to partner with local businesses to get members all together to do something you do regularly, eating, and give to something you care about,” Park said. “Over the last four years, we’ve grown into 300 different campuses throughout the nation. We made it really easy for student leaders or organizations to host fundraisers at local restaurants.”

In order to grow from one campus to more than 300, the group had to think of a way to make the process easy for many to use.

“We had to organize the operation by automating everything,” Park said. “We were able to take care of many organizations and many different restaurants. Our tech isn’t rocket science, but it’s about the interaction that goes along with it.”

The process for organizing an event through group raise begins with entering a city and an area code. From there, one can pick from restaurants that are already listed, pick an available calendar date, and you are almost ready to host your fundraiser at a local restaurant.

GroupRaise is a for-profit organization. It makes money through the events it helps to curate.

Restaurants that get involved are charged for each individual fundraiser it gets involved in. The event fee begins at $39, Park said.

“There are different kinds of responses,” Park said. “It’s a very initiative kind of logic for certain restaurants, because why not have maybe 200 customers at a time?”

There may not be a local restaurant that is aware of the partnership opportunity, so GroupRaise created an ambassador program that empowers student leaders to knock on business doors and promote the idea.

“We provide this ambassador program to some colleges,” Park said. “They can go out to some local businesses and pass out a flier we give to them to encourage these local restaurants to participate, so students can use the platform to get the fundraising going.”

The company likes to reach out directly to campuses and organizations looking to get involved.

For more information about GroupRaise, whether you are an individual looking to start an event or a restaurant owner wanting to be an event partner, visit groupraise.com.

To connect and get involved, contact info@groupraise.com. GroupRaise has both a Facebook and Twitter page for additional info and news.

“College is obviously a big part of our business and the people we help, but in the future, we want to be able to help different types of national and international charities,” Park said.

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