In this video, Sahil from RASA, a DC-based Indian fine fast casual restaurant, shares how they've raised nearly TWICE their fundraising goal with Givebutter. Sahil also dishes:

"I think something really unique about our Givebutter experience so far is that the platform plays well for Millennials in that it’s got the integrations with Venmo, PayPal, and all of that kind of stuff. And it also passes the test for foundations or elderly folks who are looking to give larger amounts and things of that nature. So we have people’s grandmothers giving as well as, you know, someone’s 10-year-old wanted to give in their name. So it’s been very cool to see that 10-90 age range that have all connected and worked with that platform."


Campaign at a glance

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Full video script

Rachel: How are you doing? You hangin’ in there?

Sahil: Yep, we’re doing well. So actually at the moment, we are preparing 500 meals to distribute to elderly communities, vulnerable populations, and those that need meals.

Rachel: That is amazing. You are more than hanging in there. So, I’ve heard a little bit about the incredible work that you’re doing, partially from you’ve been featured in Some Good News recently! I’ve heard, right? So, some of our listeners may have heard already what you’re doing. Can you tell them a little bit about your campaign, your goal, what you’ve been up to on Givebutter?

Sahil: Totally! So, right around the middle of March as all of this started to hit DC, we had begun providing free meals to medical workers as well as school children. And as we continued that program we had been providing those meals out of our own pockets just because we wanted to make sure that those on the frontlines as well as school children had access to food. As that program started to grow and take off we realized hat we needed to find some additional funding to help us sustain the program. So, one of our partners is an NFL athlete named Vernon Davis. So we partnered with Vernon and the Vernon Davis Foundation to actually launch a page on Givebutter. It was our first time using Givebutter and it was such an incredible experience… really, really like smooth, seamless, easy to work with, and integrates nicely with everything. So we launched our campaign and we had a goal of raising $12,500 so that we could meet our match to get a total of $25,000, and through the Givebutter page and the incredible community, we managed to reach our goal within 24-hours, almost on the nose.

Rachel: That’s incredible! And your goal was to give 5,000 meals, right?

Sahil: Exactly. So our goal was to use the money that we raised to provide 5,000 meals to medical workers and school kids.

Rachel: Incredible! So with what you’ve raised now - which is so much more than you set out to raise - how many meals are you guys able to provide?

Sahil: Yeah so this should allow us to feed upwards of 5,000 people and we’re now with these additional funds are thinking about how we might expand the program. So, how we might expand this to include other essential workers - whether that’s restaurant workers who are on the frontlines, or that’s delivery drivers, rather grocery store employees or retail workers who are really helping support all of us while we’re staying home. So we’re looking to use the additional funds to expand the impact and feed more people.

Rachel: That’s wonderful. So what made you turn to Givebutter? You said this was your first time fundraising with and partnering up in your business, right?

Sahil: 100 percent. Yeah, so this was the first time RASA has worked with Givebutter. We had heard their name locally in DC. We had heard from some friends who have had really good experiences either running their own campaign or having donated through the platform. And a lot of people are using platforms like GoFundMe, etc. but having heard the fact that Givebutter was local, and it seemed really easy from a UX standpoint and integrated with everything, we decided to give it a try. And from our experience we have already been recommending it to friends.

Rachel: Oh, that’s great! So you said it was super seamless to integrate everything into that you’re working on. Can you break that down for folks who maybe have no idea what you’re talking about. What did it mean that it was seamless? How long did it take you?

Sahil: Yeah, so the best part about this is we had - and have - like, still no time. We’re working constantly whether that’s coordinating with the foundation, coordinating delivery drops, to actually preparing the food or interacting with guests, and all those things. So, time was and is of the essence. And setting up the Givebutter page and making it look - putting it together in a way that we think looks pretty good - it took us like an hour. So quick! You know we got the images up, we were able to put our copy in there, and I think it was really like fun, in a lot of ways, too. Not just like for us but for people that are interacting with the page where you know you can put GIFs, like you can love people’s donations. Little things like that make it really simple and easy to use. And then on the Foundation’s end, for them to be able to connect their bank account, and all of their information - I was initially nervous about coordinating with them to make sure this all got set up properly, and within like 10-minutes it was done.

Rachel: Wow, that’s amazing. And you bring up a really good point that time is of the essence like never before. So it sounds like you were able to get yours up in no time. And how has it been managing it? Has it been just as easy? Has it taken a little amount of time as well to manage the campaign?

Sahil: Uh, you know, it’s almost been like a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of system where we’ve created the campaign and then every-every, you know when we first launched every couple of hours, now every couple of days we’re able to check back in, see who has donated, what our total amount is. And as part of that, we also get emails letting us know that people have donated. So that allows us to not only send the stock message that comes back but to also provide a personalized thank-you to all the people that are really generously contributing.

Rachel: Yeah, so thank you for sharing that because it does seem like it’s been totally seamless for you guys, which I know is really important to Givebutter. And like you said, too, making the experience fun! I noticed that you got on your right-hand side, SO many heartfelt messages: “Stay safe,” um, use of the emojis, all the things - so it seems like you have a really incredible support system around you guys.

Sahil: Right. I think something really unique about our Givebutter experience so far is that the platform plays well for both Millennials and younger folks in that it’s got the integrations with Venmo, PayPal, and all of that kind of stuff. And it also passes the test for foundations or elderly folks who are looking to give larger amounts and things of that nature. So we have people - we have people’s grandmothers giving as well as like, you know, someone’s 10-year-old wanted to give in their name. So it’s been very cool to see that like, literally like 10-90 age range that have all connected and worked with that platform.

Rachel: Right, yeah, it’s fun for everyone not just fun for Millennials who maybe are more familiar with like the live feeds that are similar to a social media-like experience. So, obviously you knocked your goal out of the park within 24-hours, you’ve had incredible success, and you already mentioned that you’ve been recommending Givebutter to other people. So, I’m curious what are you saying to friends about Givebutter? How would you describe the platform?

Sahil: Yeah, I mean so there’s a lot of people, particularly today - I work in the restaurant industry, so who are looking to raise money for food like we are, who are looking to raise funds to support their employees. And, I think, right now, the simplest message that we’re sharing with people is, “If you’re looking for something that’s simple, that’s fun, and works…” Which are, I mean, “it’s simple and it works” are the two most important, and it has this bonus of being fun and like working well with a variety of donors. That-that’s really been our primary. And you can get set up in an hour and get your campaign going. And in addition to all that, the support we’ve gotten from the Givebutter support team has been incredible. You know, if we have a question, we’ll reach out and almost immediately we’ll get the answer we’re looking for. So that’s what we’ve been telling people - or that’s why we’ve been telling people, really, “Take a look at Givebutter.”

Rachel: That’s wonderful. I’m curious, what is the future of RASA? And - you talked about this in the beginning - what do you think is the future with raising funds, delivering meals - what do you think is next?

Sahil: Ooph, yeah, you know, those are big questions and I think there are a couple of different directions. So, right the world is kind of nervously watching what’s happening in Georgia. You know, I think it’s pretty irresponsible for them to open so early, but it does provide a picture into what the future of restaurants might look like. I think we’re going to see a lot of social distancing required, a lot of people wearing masks, hand sanitizer everywhere… and yeah, I mean, I think we will see a lot of people transitioning into digital tools, like apps for online ordering so that they can minimize some of that interaction. There will probably be more spacing in-between tables as well. But the honest answer is that we’re all - we’re all waiting to see. This virus has turned our industry and so many upside down. And there’s so many unanswered questions about what lies ahead, that, I think the best thing-the best thing we can - other restaurants and small businesses - do is stay nimble and adapt as things evolve. And then on the fundraising front, Givebutter is a good example of what that might look like in the future in that you all have also pivoted your model quite a bit. You’ve continued the traditional fundraisers but you’ve also started virtual fundraisers and you’ve found ways to meet people where they are. So, I think that causes that people are able to connect with, causes where they can see a direct impact, and engage with the work that they’re contributing towards, will be ones that are really successful moving forward.

Rachel: Mhm, absolutely. I think it’s just so incredible that as you're adapting, you’re adapting with generosity. I think that’s what’s so inspiring to me about what you all are doing is that you’re giving back in a huge way - in a way that I think in a way that people who are listening to this or reading this are going to be really inspired to adapt generously. So thank you so much for sharing your story, inspiring all of us. Stay safe, keep up the amazing work. Appreciate your time on this call today.

Sahil: Totally, and thank you and the entire Givebutter team for making this happen!

Rachel: Absolutely. Take care.

View campaign: RASA's Feed the Distract campaign benefitting the Vernon Davis Foundation, Inc.

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Rachel Mills

Rachel Mills

Givebutter Marketing & Contributing Writer

Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.

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