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CardFunder Offers Innovative Way to Raise Funds for Schools, Churches, and Nonprofits

The founders aim to channel unused gift card dollars into worthy causes.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, UNITED STATES, March 30, 2022 / — CardFunder, a new sustainable giving platform, offers a revolutionary way to raise funds for a school, church, or other community groups. Founder and CEO Russ Howard ascribes to a simple concept: Billions of dollars in unused gift cards go to waste each year. Why not channel those funds to a good cause?

“CardFunder is an innovative giving platform that converts new or partially used gift cards into cash,” says Howard. “There are billions of dollars of waste out there, and our revolutionary program aims to change that.” Over $3 billion in unused gift card funds go wasted each year, totaling $40 billion over the past decade. In fact, 51% of U.S. adults have at least one unused gift card, BankRate has found. The average person has $116 in these unspent funds, and 73% have had their gift card for a year or more. Nearly half of all U.S. adults have lost access to a gift card because they let it expire, the business closed before they used it, or misplaced it.

CardFunder is an innovative giving platform that converts new or partially used gift cards into cash. There are billions of dollars of waste out there, & our revolutionary program aims to change that.”

— Russ Howard

Groups can quickly plug into the CardFunder platform, which delivers a high yield for little or no investment. In contrast, traditional fundraisers often require a group to pay for a product they must sell—and setup can involve a lot of legwork. But with CardFunder, groups pay no money upfront, which means zero risk. “We provide every partner with a toolkit on how to have a successful event,” says Howard. “It’s a simple process; there’s no additional spending.”

“We’re a purpose-driven company that aims to innovate and accelerate giving,” says Howard. “It’s fast, it’s easy, and it makes a meaningful impact without interrupting their other events.”

This is more than a great idea to Howard—it’s a mission and a calling. “I’m being led to do this,” he says. For 30 years, he’s built a career working with innovative, high-growth companies and has been a pioneer in the secondary, repurposed market. He architected the original GameStop buy-sell-trade model almost 25 years ago, focusing on ways to drive value to consumers. And his work has centered on alternative currencies and spending mechanisms. “So, this was a natural step for me,” he asserts. “I have a lot of experience finding the untapped—the forgotten commodity or item that can monetize on a scale.”

“Now, being able to take what’s arguably been $40-plus billion of waste in gift cards over the last ten years, which is growing at a rate of $3 billion-plus a year—to be able to take that waste off the sidelines, find that untapped item, and monetize it for good—speaks to my background,” he emphasizes.

How does the concept work? CardFunder essentially offers an event-in-a-box, with social media assets and other content that groups can print to share with people or add to a newsletter. Groups choose a specific purpose that funds will go toward and a timeframe. Examples would include church missions, school trips, or purchasing new sports uniforms or equipment. Then, they begin promoting the event to their network with the materials shared by CardFunder. The platform’s social media support makes promotion extremely easy.

“These cards are collected, we process them, and then they’re turned into cash that we send back to the organizations,” says Howard.

This card drive can be one of the most lucrative events a school or church holds each year. It doesn’t replace current fundraising efforts; instead, it accentuates them. Organizations can easily add a gift card drive to their existing calendar of events.

Currently, CardFunder is focusing on schools and churches, but they’re planning to branch out to supporting nonprofits, youth sports teams, and other community causes.

“We’re just a vehicle to support their mission and purpose,” says Howard. “There’s no risk; there’s no money upfront—it’s just a seamless, easy, fun process.”

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BankRate, 2021, “U.S. Adults Total $15 Billion in Unused Gift Cards, Vouchers, Store Credits”, “Top Gift Card Statistics”

Russ Howard
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