Celebrating 25 years: A conversation with 4aGoodCause founder Ronald Pruitt
Two and a half decades ago, after a few years of working in corporate web design, Ronald Pruitt was ready to make the leap into business ownership. What started as website consulting grew into a full-blown platform to support nonprofits’ fundraising efforts. This year, 4aGoodCause celebrates 25 years in business. Fellow business owner and CEO of Allee Creative, Melissa Harrison, recently spoke with Ronald about this milestone and key learnings along the way. Here is that interview.
What gave you the idea to start 4aGoodCause?
I’ve always had the desire to work in technology while also contributing to something large than myself—the greater good. After completing my MBA, I got a job with a web design company in Atlanta. I learned a lot while in that position and later at a larger company. I loved working in the space, but I felt there was still something more I could be doing to make a difference. I took a leap of faith and went out on my own as a consultant.
4aGoodCause was an e-commerce service that was born out of that consulting work. In the beginning, I was helping nonprofits build websites. These clients also wanted to collect payments online for donations and registrations. So, I started building and hosting donation and other e-commerce forms for them. One of the first forms I built was a conference registration form for the NC Center for Nonprofits. 4aGoodCause became the name brand for this service.
This happened shortly after 9/11 during a time when to the future of nonprofits. I’ve been able to build on the continued need for online access to registration, donations and even recurring gift options as 4aGoodCause has grown.
What do you love most about your job?
I get to meet and work with many creative and inspiring people trying to change the world. I often start a sales call by asking about the nonprofit, what it does, how it got started, how they got involved, etc. I love hearing these stories and love when we get an opportunity to be a partner with them in their mission. We have clients like the Concordia University of Chicago and Catawba College that have been raising money through our pages for almost 20 years. The relationships we’ve built up over the years are the best part of my job.
Do you have a favorite campaign or project? What has stood out over the years?
There are many timely fundraising campaigns run by our clients that stand out like the Community Foundation of NJ raising money after Hurricane Sandy or Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma collecting donations to rebuild after a destructive tornado, but my favorite campaigns tend to be annual campaigns run by smaller charities working hard every day to grow their revenue like some of our Big Brothers Big Sisters clients enrolling monthly donors as “Matchmakers”.
What motivates your work?
I want our good causes to succeed, my team to be happy in their work, and for my family to be proud of what I do.
What have you seen change significantly with nonprofit giving in the past 25 years?
Technologies have certainly changed in the last 25 years. We’ve seen the rise of mobile devices, responsive web design, a social media explosion, and new payment methods. Each time we’ve adapted 4aGoodCause to meet the needs of donors and nonprofits. I give much thanks and credit to Brad, Steve, and the team we have here that has helped us turn 4aGoodCause into one of the easiest and most effective fundraising platforms for small nonprofits.
What similarities are there now even when compared to 25 years ago in nonprofit giving?
What hasn’t changed is why donors give. They respond to stories of how their donations will help. Crafting a great story about your cause on our pages will convince donors to give and make your campaign a success.
Twenty-five years is quite an accomplishment. Over the years, how has 4aGoodCause evolved in its service offerings? What do you attribute to your success?
While in the beginning we were focused solely on web design and then onto building custom e-commerce systems, in 2015 we moved away from that to focus on creating the true software company we are today. Now, we are a fundraising CRM that helps our clients easily build unlimited fundraising campaigns for donations, event registration, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer giving. We have a strong focus on recurring giving and are looking forward to helping our nonprofit clients increase dollars raised by putting emphasis on monthly giving and recurring donations.
Over the course of business, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars raised for our clients; our longevity is attributed to the personal support and service we give to our customers. I’m proud that we’re still here helping the nonprofit community after 25 years.
Without our clients, friends and family none of this would be possible. We thank them with all our hearts!