• Entrepreneurship at UBC

e@UBC x e@UBCO Venture Spotlight: Trellis

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Empowering global collective impact through modern fundraising

Trellis Social Enterprise Inc. enables charities and their supporters to make beautiful fundraising pages while raising more funds. Founded by Justin Goodhew, the venture was inspired by conversations he had with those in the charity sector, noting the common challenges charities had in raising money and creating champions.

How Trellis did it

As a serial entrepreneur, Justin was ready to use his passion for technology to help charities further their impact. After travelling the country speaking with charitable organizations and learning their pain points, Trellis began in 2018 with the goal of helping charities, nonprofits and impact organizations find smarter and more strategic ways to meet their fundraising goals.

Trellis is an all-in-one platform for virtual, in person and everything in between, designed to help their customers increase their ticket sales and donations by featuring engaging content, additional donation prompts, and up-sell options throughout their event and campaign. The platform allows for complete transparency, collecting and offering their clients back all the data in order to analyze their campaigns and grow their organizations by creating a loyal base of supporters. This May, Trellis passed $1,000,000 in donated funds on their platform across charities in Canada and the United States.

The team joined entrepreneurship@UBCO to gain access to the Kelowna tech sector, which became instrumental to their growth in their early stages. Being able to collaborate, connect

and learn from other tech companies allowed the team to grow faster and avoid mistakes as they started out, avoiding the potential pitfalls of early stage company building. In addition, they were able to connect with potential customers through e@UBCO relationships that helped validate their initial product and help shape it into what it is today.

When COVID hit in March, the team quickly pivoted their services to benefit an online model in order to help charities continue fundraising amidst the world’s shift indoors. Typically, charities would use Trellis to fundraise and host events in person (a key aspect in raising money), but with social distancing measures, they had to re-strategize. The Trellis team levelled up their services to help in this transition, sharpening their expertise by hosting webinars and creating resources for clients to adapt and thrive in a new online environment. One example was Trellis’ initiative, the Stay at Home Gala, where, with virtual keynotes, musicians and bartenders, they helped raise a staggering $560,000 for front line organizations. Most recently, they worked with Jillian Harris and national organization, Mamas for Mamas, to help them expand their fundraising capabilities through their tech platform which helped raise over $233,000.

The pandemic was an opportunity to shift how Trellis operated as an impact business and the charity space at large, leading the sector into the digital sphere which has resulted in a massive spike in clients on their platform. To date, Trellis has helped over 100 organizations fundraise and increase their reach, empowering global collective impact through modern fundraising.

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