Dayton brothers Alex and Derek Van Der Sluijs are coffee connoisseurs, and they’re using the beverage to disrupt the fundraising space. Their new platform, Foffee Fundraising, is a tool that lets organizations and schools blend and brand a line of coffee to go with their organization’s logo or mascot.
Rather than sending elementary school students out into their neighborhoods to sell candy bars, students and their families can share a link to purchase the coffee. Foffee ships the final product — roasted fresh when the fundraising campaign ends — right to the supporter’s doorstep.
The Van Der Sluijses recently pitched the platform at the June 2019 edition of Dayton Tech Guide’s Early Risers.
“We tried to create the easiest fundraiser people can do,” Alex Van Der Sluijs said.
The cofounders are particularly interested in reaching elementary and high schools, pointing to statistics that show 94% of elementary schools rely on fundraising for supplemental income.
Alex Van Der Sluijs said challenges with current fundraising models start with the products sold. Items ranging from candy bars to oranges and mulch to merchandise aren’t often something people really want, he said. The door-to-door sales method can be dangerous for students, and out-of-town family can’t always support the fundraiser if they have to purchase in person, he added.
“We’re fundraising through the most consumed drink in America,” Alex Van Der Sluijs said.
The idea for Foffee was born in a Hawaiian brewery after Alex found himself chatting with a gentleman who branded salsa for schools and organizations.
“My brother owned a coffee truck in Columbus,” he recalled. “This lightbulb just went off.”
The brothers are seeking connections to school administrators, nonprofit leaders and software developers. They’re interested in upgrading the platform to include leaderboards for participating organizations. Another idea is a “drip” campaign where supporters can reorder coffee throughout the year and continue donating to the organization, even after the fundraising campaign ends.
“Just being in a position to help people is cool,” Alex Van Der Sluijs said. “I’m a coach as well, and anytime you have a platform to help, whether that be raising money, mentoring, helping with a nonprofit, helping a school raise money for something they need, anytime you’re in a position to do that, life is good.”