Charity Preneur: Catherine Dionne
LOCATION: Montreal, Canada
MISSION: Our mission is to make donating easy, transparent and human.
HERSTORY: I was born and raised in Canada. I’m currently based in Montreal. I’ve just recently completed my undergraduate degree at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. Although I had a Masters scheduled for this September, I’ve decided to put it on hold to pursue a mission I’ve always been passionate about—that of helping others!
“Surround yourself with people who, by their sheer presence, force you to do and be better. Find mentors for guidance, friends for support, and trust that you can work through any problem.”
When did you launch Welfact and how difficult was it to develop from concept to launch?
Welfact is still in the preliminary stages. We’ve completed a small-scale launch for family and friends this month, but plan to release the donation platform to the public in early September.
The development phase has been quite quick. My co-founder and I started working on Welfact full time in May and have since developed the complete product, gained traction from early investors and charities, and started building a community of change-makers.
There have been some technical roadblocks, but we’ve managed to work through them. The final stages before our public launch entail working out some of the platform kinks and finalizing administrative details.
How did you come up with the name?
The idea behind the name comes from the saying that kindness is a choice. That doing the right thing should always be the default…doing good should be a fact—a certainty. After iterating on this concept, the name Welfact came up.
What motivated you to create Welfact?
Welfact was conceived out of a desire to improve the current state of donating. It was initially conceived by my co-founder Rob Hang last year when, as a first-time donor, he tried supporting a cause that moved him—the development of women in tech.
He found that a small portion of well-funded charities engulfed smaller, lesser-known, organizations working on similar causes. Moreover, the outdated giving procedures, coupled with the lack of transparency, convinced him that the standard giving model could be improved. Thus, Welfact was born.
We have since iterated on some conceptual features, but have developed a service that solves his initial problem. A service where new and well-seasoned donors can give to the causes they care about and diversify their donations among a handful of high performing charities, regardless of their size.
To improve transparency and modernize the giving process, we’ve instilled a personalized dashboard. The dashboard gives users the tools to monitor how much they’ve spent, identify which charities they’ve reached and organize their tax receipts in one place.
Our motivation to quit our jobs and work on this project full time has been further propelled by the notion that our efforts could make the world a better place. Welfact is a donation platform, but it also represents a community of change-makers and do-gooders destined to improve the state of the world by supporting the causes that moves them.
Currently what is your strategy for promoting your business?
For the initial phases we’re relying on social media and grassroots approaches to promote Welfact. Once we’re confident we’ve developed a lovable product, we’ll then move on to scaling our user base with paid marketing alternatives.
What sets your business apart from similar platforms that connect customers with charities?
What sets Welfact apart from other charity platforms in Canada are two key features: The unique ability to donate to more than one charity with a single donation; and the concept of organizing your philanthropy with a dashboard.