With traditional fundraising by nonprofits facing more challenges than ever, Michele Favoretto, founder and CEO of Terrayebo Inc. in Madison Heights, believes she has the answer to helping them increase donors. And all it takes is an inch.
“Many nonprofits don’t have a physical product to sell, so there’s no recurring revenue,” says Favoretto, an expert in supply chain management. “I started working with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and saw that every decimal point represented an inch, so I thought why not treat each inch as a product that a person could claim, build awareness for, and raise money for their favorite nonprofit?”
Since its formal launch in April, Terrayebo (terra is earth in Latin, while yebo means yes in Zulu) has sold more than 4,000 inches
to individuals and organizations, which together support 15 nonprofits. Participants pay $1 a month to claim their exclusive inch, and are encouraged to invite family, friends, and the general public to donate funds to their designated charity.
“An inch could be where someone got married, where a child hit their first home run, or where a couple was engaged,” Favoretto says. “If a school claimed its football field, everyone from
the school — including alums — could buy an inch to support new equipment, an upgraded locker room, or an electronic scoreboard.” Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, for example, represents some nine million inches.
Through Terrayebo, someone could support the national park system, feed children through UNICEF, build a hospital wing, or help protect the ocean.
The value beyond donations is a better understanding of a charity’s donor base, since so much of the fundraising and social awareness is done online. “We provide the technology platform to the nonprofit, we process all of the transactions, and we charge a monthly service fee so it can be a turnkey system,” Favoretto says. “It’s very much like crowd sourcing. You can even have a donor pay for the charity’s expenses, which some people have done.” db