I worked with two Babson students to develop operational recommendations for the startup Womentum, a "pay-it-forward crowdfunding platform" aimed at kickstarting rural Indian entrepreneurs' efforts. Womentum, founded in May 2016, sought to improve on two fronts: donor acquisition and partner acquisition.
I was the lone engineer enrolled in Babson's Operations for Entrepreneurs. The course material was challenging because it was an upper division course, and I had not taken the prerequisite. Nonetheless, the experience was incredibly rewarding. If engineering gave me the tools to develop solutions to challenges, operations and my brief taste of b-school gave me the ability to realize those solutions.
Womentum works as follows: Donors visit the Womentum site and choose an entrepreneur to give to. Once an entrepreneur is fully funded, Womentum wires the money to an NGO (aka growth partner) in India. The NGO passes the money along to the entrepreneur.
"Pay-it-forward" comes into play when the entrepreneur's business has successfully launched. When a previously-funded entrepreneur donates back to another entrepreneur via Womentum, she is then eligible for more crowdfunding.
I spearheaded donor acquisition. I proposed changing the temporary, pop-up thank-you note to a static webpage. A dedicated webpage reinforces the impact of the donation, which in turn makes the donor feel good about themselves. By introducing a social media “share” button, Womentum can capitalize on this donor satisfaction. Sharing the fact that they donated* with their social network accomplishes several things:
1) Publicizes the Entrepreneur’s compelling story, which increases the number of people aware of the Entrepreneur and her journey.
2) Increases the donor’s standing in their social network. By sharing the fact that they have “done good,” the donor’s esteem rises. Others in their network will also be compelled to “do good,” increasing the conversion rate of impressions to donors.
3) Is effortless marketing for Womentum. Womentum currently advertises through Facebook advertisements and tabling at women founder events. A simple “share” costs nothing for Womentum, yet is a powerful way of spreading organizational awareness.