Gifting Platform for the Disadvantaged

Gift-It-Forward

1. No Poverty 10. Reduced Inequalities 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Overview

Gift-It-Forward requires the host to create an event (birthday celebration, wedding, baby shower, new home, etc.) on the Gift-It-Forward platform, choose a customised electronic invitation cards and send invitations to their guests via the platform.

Once the invitations are sent, a personal gift fund will be automatically created where a portion will go towards a charity of the host’s choice and the remaining portion to a group gift that the host hopes to receive. Gift-It-Forward receives an administrative fee of 15% of the total contributions received after each event.

Authors

Hwee Leng Ng

Hwee Leng Ng

Ryan Chan

Ryan Chan

School

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Professor

Ron Fry

Ron Fry

Innovation

Gift-It-Forward aspires to change the way we organise celebratory events and focuses on things that matter: helping the disadvantaged community through donations and caring for the environment by sustainable living.

Through the Gift-It-Forward platform, the host gets to choose a dream gift that he or she wants to receive rather than a pile of unappreciated presents while helping to raise funds for his or her chosen charity organisation. For the guests attending the party, they make a donation to a charity chosen by the host while contributing to a pool of fund online for gift purchase.

Gift-It-Forward helps to connect the guests for the events, facilitates the pooling of contributions for purchase of one big meaningful gift and donating part of the contributions to a charitable cause. It also helps to reduce unnecessary consumption of paper invitation cards, gift wrappers, etc.

From inception till now, Gift-It-Forward has been focusing on family celebrations. With the success of this platform, Theresa is now planning to extend this platform to cater to the corporate sector, where corporate gifts can be transformed into more environmental friendly and sustainable giving from companies especially during local festive seasons like Christmas, Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival when corporations would purchase hampers or customised items for their clients. By using the Gift-It-Forward platform, corporations can also give the options to their clients to nominate their preferred voluntary welfare organisations to donate their hampers based on the estimated value of each corporate gift.

Gifting Platform for the Disadvantaged

Inspiration

In the past, Theresa spent a lot of time shopping for birthday gifts for her children’s and friends’ kids but realised that many of the gifts were either duplicates, tossed aside or simply not appreciated by the recipients. She felt that time and resources can be better used on things that truly matters. The money spent on gifts that ended up being kept in storage could be better spent, for example, on more meaningful and rewarding charitable causes.

The idea of an online platform for events and contributing to charitable cause was inspired by a friend’s son who donated part of his birthday money to his preferred charity organisation and then used the balance of the money for his desired gift.

Coming from a family where Theresa's parents have been contributing back to their community through generous donations and support for community work. she had always wanted to instill the spirit of giving and generosity in her children. Being very conscious of environmental sustainability, she also wanted to do her part by helping to reduce unnecessary wastage and the carbon footprints.

It was not an easy endeavor for Theresa when she decided to leave her stable job to venture into a start-up. She doesn’t have any prior knowledge of web design and e-commerce, nor established network. Her passion and believe that this platform will play a part in doing good is her main motivating force that help her along in this journey. In her own words: “the journey is hard and long, you have to be really passionate about it. If you don’t love it, there is no point as it is hard and lonely at times.”

Overall impact

Gift-It-Forward simplifies the party and gifting experience, while contributing to charities. Many of us spend our precious time and energy shopping for gifts and guessing what gift the host would like whenever we are invited to parties. This platform makes gifting a breeze for invited guests, enabling them to pool resources together for a bigger gift, empowering people who wants to share their joy by giving back to the local community, and reducing wastage at the same time.

Business benefit

Gift-It-Forward offers all the invited guests a platform to pull their contributions together to get a more meaningful gift of choice for the host, while also doing good by donating to the charity chosen by the host. This helps to save time and resources for the guests while enabling meaningful gifting. The profitable platform created two years ago also enables Theresa to make plans for expansion from the personal level into the corporate sector, to benefit more charitable organisations when choosing customised corporate gifts for their clients and to touch more lives amongst the underprivileged.

Social and environmental benefit

Gift-It-Forward aims to promote responsible and sustainable consumption by reducing wastage as the funds contributed will be spent on something truly desired and appreciated by the host. It also helps the environment by saving disposable waste from paper invitations, wrapping papers and gift boxes, plastics, etc. It helps to share and instil the spirit of giving with children, family and friends. For Theresa, there is a sense of fulfilment to be into a business that enables her to give back to the community and contribute towards a more sustainable way of celebrating any event.

Interview

Theresa Evanoff, Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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Gift-It-Forward

Gift-It-Forward

SG

Business Website: http://www.gift-it-forward.com/

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Gift-It-Forward is an online event platform founded in Singapore in 2016 by a busy mom named Theresa who has 3 young children. She created an online space to promote a culture of giving to charities through catalysing philanthropy by encouraging invited guests to celebratory events to donate generously to the less fortunate.