The ehco app is a revolutionary – fast, simple – way of giving to your favorite causes, of making an impact and tracing the impact you’re making. Scott McElroy, founder of ehco (‘Everyone Helping Co.’), tells us the story behind the app.

If you are in the Austin, Texas area right now you can download ehco, a new app that changes the experience of giving money to charities and causes you care about.

Ehco is currently in beta – and founder Scott McElroy has big plans.

Our focus is on giving the next generation of donors the best charitable giving experience ever, right at the tips of their fingers, he explains.

We started ehco because we recognized how difficult it was for a mobile-first audience to make an impact the way they want to. For all of the advancements in mobile payments tech, the nonprofit industry is pretty far behind. The sector is genuinely understood as 5-10 years behind the current technological curve – at least that’s my opinion. For example – what app(s) do you use to give to your cause?

If you don’t have an app (like most people), then that’s why we’re here – to help you change the world the way you want to.

We’re building tools to help users give monthly to their favorite causes in two taps; to track and measure their impact with data-driven updates, and to build actual relationships with the people they’re supporting with direct messaging from nonprofit to donor.

Ultimately, the aim is simplicity: "We’re replacing annoying spam in your inbox with the data, transparency, convenience, and relationships modern donors actually want."

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Challenges

Building an ‘app for giving’ naturally comes with different challenges than creating a purely commercial app.

Apple Guidelines to start. Purely commercial apps allow for all payment transactions to occur natively in iOS apps. This is completely different for charitable donations, which are required to take place in Safari or by SMS (now we have Apple Pay, though!).

Additionally, giving money away, in general, is just a different mindset. What you receive when you give versus what you receive when you purchase a physical good or service is very different, so recognizing those intangibles (so to speak) and making them feel tangible is another unique aspect for us.

This is where the facility to ‘track and trace’ the impact of your giving comes in – one of the most brilliant aspects of the app. There is also a highly social element – users can share their giving with friends – which is crucial for many of today’s donors.

Much talk in today’s startups is about iterating MVPs to reach a launch-capable product, and thus being able to scale your business. Scott laughs when asked to describe his experience of going from original idea to MVP – because his original idea was so different.

We actually started as a music-tech product, focused on giving the music and entertainment industries a better giving experience, and from there we realized that everybody needed a better giving experience.

We started iterating MVPs and honestly, we’re still very much in an early stage.

The original idea may have evolved and changed – but Scott & Co. are very confident in the app they’ve produced, and are working away on making the future brighter and better.

We see a massive opportunity commercially, especially in B2B sectors like sports and entertainment. Giving corporate brands better tools to engage their audiences with the causes they support is extremely valuable, especially given the rise of cause marketing – so once we nail down the consumer experience that’s where we’ll begin spending more time.

Our next steps include a web app for nonprofits, which will include a suite of messaging and analytics features, and several new features for our iOS app, including more nonprofits, Goals, Cause Categories, Impact Updates, and Direct Messages.

From there, we’ll simply continue iterating until we’re confident our users love what we’ve given them.

In my experience, that’s really it: learn, build, update, and repeat.

Learn more about Ehco here.

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