Your Name: Renee Zau

Business Name: DonationMatch, a service that connects product donations with qualified events

Type of Business: Social Enterprise

Business Location: San Diego, California, United States


Reason for starting
Since 2002, I’ve volunteered regularly with charitable events and silent auctions at many nonprofit organizations. Witnessing the excitement and marketing exposure surrounding auction prizes, yet being frustrated by the inefficient process of getting items to events, compelled me to start DonationMatch as a win-win solution for in-kind (non-cash) donation matchmaking between companies and event organizers.

Biggest Success
In our first 1.5 years we streamlined over $1.2 million in goods to 200 nonprofits, saving hundreds of hours of valuable volunteer and staff time and providing inexpensive, cause-driven visibility for generous donor companies.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
There are so many companies that would give more if the process were easier, and there are a million events each year in the U.S. looking for them. Our biggest challenge is finding people open to new technology and “going paperless” to save money and get better results than traditional, manual methods of marketing and fundraising. Without money to advertise, we rely on social media and referrals to spread the word about DonationMatch to tech-savvy friends who want the same results.

Who is your most important role model?
Jessica Herrin, founder of and Stella & Dot, is someone I look up to, not just for her accomplishments, but that she has admitted to overworking in the past and learned from it to create more balance in both her own life and the lives of everyone involved with Stella & Dot. I also admire her honesty, authenticity, and ability to build and keep an innovative, loyal team around her.