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Help your schools with fundraising network app

Posted: December 3, 2010 11:15 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Tania Mulry, of Stevenson Ranch, demonstrates how to use edRover at the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall. EdRover is a smart-phone fundraising application she created to help local businesses network with schools and users.

 

A mobile-marketing strategist and busy mom of three boys thought there had to be a better way to help schools than hosting fundraisers and selling wrapping paper or magazines.


Local resident Tania Mulry, of Stevenson Ranch, said the reality of school fundraising hit her after enrolling her first son in day care.

“I picked up my 6-month-old after work,” Mulry said, “and I was handed a fundraising packet for my child to sell products for the school.”

Perplexed, Mulry noted to the staff that her son was still an infant. She was met with knowing stares as replies. That’s when Mulry got the concept — the parents sell the products for schools on behalf of their children.

With a background in mobile marketing and economics, Mulry founded edRover Inc., a free smart-phone application designed to increase traffic to participating businesses, raise funds for schools and ease the endless fundraising cycles for weary parents.

Whenever families sell products for school fundraisers, on average only 30 cents of every dollar actually reaches the school’s bank accounts. Mulry said that anytime you give money to a school, it’s better than spending the same amount of money buying products.

“EdRover is a creative and cost-efficient way for business to attract and create loyal customers while doing good in the local community,” Mulry said.

Consumer ease
Consumers can download the edRover application on iPhone, iPod and iPad. EdRover expects to roll out the application to other mobile platforms in 2011 so that consumers without a smart phone can participate as well.

The application is integrated with GPS technology to pinpoint a user’s location when shopping or dining. When a consumer is near a sponsoring business, the edRover extends an invitation to visit the local business.

Once a parent or consumer is within 100 feet of the business, they can “check in” via their phone to record their visit.

Upon check-in, funds are automatically transferred from the participating company’s donation to the school or charity of the consumer’s choice. Supporting the local business that is helping schools by making a purchase would be nice, but it is not required.

Targeted marketing
For a business accustomed to donating individual amounts to various schools and nonprofits, edRover simplifies the process.

A company merely signs up for the program and makes a lump-sum donation to edRover, a nonprofit organization. EdRover distributes the tax-deductible contribution to various schools based on the preferences directed by the user.

The company presets donations ranging from 5 cents to $1 per “check-in” by a customer. The program easily adapts to the size of a company and donation budget of businesses small or large.

Participating businesses have an opportunity for brand marketing by alerting parents and shoppers that they are near the store or restaurant. And the companies can even market their businesses by extending an invitation to nearby shoppers to come in for a free product or discount.

At the end of each month, the business receives a statement from edRover showing how much money was distributed from the company’s lump-sum donation and to which school funds the money went to.

Each business also receives general demographic information on the edRover shoppers patronizing local businesses as well as which schools or nonprofits they prefer to support.

Aside from the amount of the donation a business chooses to make, there is no added expense to participate in the program. And edRover even saves the businesses the time and cost of tracking down tax-deductible information and accounting for multiple smaller donations to several entities.

SCV transplant
Mulry left MasterCard in 2007 and moved from Connecticut to the Santa Clarita Valley in 2007. Mulry, 36, managed the information and mobile-data products for the company, and she developed mobile strategies.

In California, Mulry worked with the ipsh! agency, acquired by the Omnicon Group. The ipsh! agency worked with companies to build wireless promotions with text messages and mobile applications. The agency worked with major brands like British Airways, Disney, J.C. Penney and GameStop.

After Mulry formed her company, Ben Hope, of Stevenson Ranch, joined the  board of directors. Hope is the senior vice president and chief information officer for Fox Networks Group and an active community volunteer, Mulry said.

As a nonprofit, edRover collects an administrative fee to run the program. The fee, which can range between 10 to 20 percent, allowing for a larger contribution to each school or nonprofit program than traditional product-sale programs.

Pain-free fundraising
The company has already been approved by the state of California as a nonprofit corporation and  is awaiting final approval from the IRS. The company plans to formally launch in January.

Mulry said there are great schools out here that deserve the community’s support, and she would love for local businesses and residents to help get out the word on edRover.

“How many rolls of wrapping paper, magnets, mugs, spirit wear, globs of cookie dough and magazines can one kid sell?” Mulry asked. “Or better question, how many can one mom buy?”

The application edRover is a painless way for businesses, schools and parents to connect in a meaningful way, Mulry said.

More information on edRover can be found at http://edrover.com/ or by calling (800) 838-5648.

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