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New Platform Makes It Easier to Donate to Colleges

GiveCampus, a website that allows academic institutions to raise funds digitally, has announced that donations can now be made through Apple Pay, allowing the platform to become more accessible to potential school donors.

When Kestrel Linder, co-founder of GiveCampus, graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, he found that he was receiving a lot of mail and phone calls from his alma mater about giving back.

Kestrel LinderKestrel Linder

“Letters in the mail and phone calls were not the right way to reach me in the same way they are not the right way to reach most people in their 20’s, 30’s and maybe beyond,” Linder said. “I found their messages to be impersonal and it was all very transactional. It felt very much like paying a utility bill.”

Linder grew frustrated because he wanted to financially support his alma mater but did not like the methods being used. Thus, he and his college friend, Michael Kong, created GiveCampus three and a half years ago.

“I recognized that the reason I wasn’t giving back wasn’t because I didn’t want to and wasn’t because I couldn’t give back,” Linder said. “It was about the method through which I was being asked and the channels through which I was being given the opportunity. Those weren’t the right methods and those weren’t the right channels. So the reason we started the company was to make it easier and more fun for people to give back to their schools.”

More than 450 schools that are GiveCampus partners now accept Apple Pay donations at no additional cost to them. This includes one in 10 United States colleges and hundreds of K-12 schools, according to GiveCampus officials.

Over the course of the company’s founding, Linder and Kong focused on making philanthropic school donations feel less transactional. After becoming avid Apple Pay users in their personal lives, they decided to see if they could use it for their own company. They worked with Apple and figured out a way to give schools access to it.

Introducing Apple Pay “was all about one more way to make it even easier to make a charitable donation to a school,” said Linder. “Just in the first couple of days, we were seeing quite a few people get the option to use Apple Pay, and they are unsurprisingly choosing to use Apple Pay.

Before the introduction of Apple Pay, GiveCampus offered a “one-click giving” system which was a secure way for donors to store their payment information on the platform. Unlike GiveCampus’ single-click system, Apple Pay does not save the person’s credit or debit card information. Rather, a Device Account Number is assigned to the account. It is encrypted and then securely stored while each transaction is authorized with a security code, according to Apple’s website.

Since GiveCampus collaborated with Apple, schools immediately will be able to offer Apple Pay as an option to donors when they join the GiveCampus platform.

On average, GiveCampus handles around $10 million of school donations on a monthly basis. All of the funds donated via GiveCampus go directly to the partnered school.

In the future, GiveCampus is looking to incorporate other digital wallet options onto the platform in order to include Samsung or Android users.

“There’s a family of digital wallets, and Apple Pay was the first,” Linder said. “We are going to add every single one that we can to GiveCampus because we don’t want to discriminate against non-Apple users. Now, it’s finally as easy as it should be to make a gift.”

Sarah Wood can be reached at [email protected]


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