Fundraising is a necessity for many organizations, but an idea by a Noblesville man could change how it’s done.
Dereck Stinson is the co-founder of Daily Ding, a smartphone app that lets users receive discounts at local restaurants, retail stores and other local businesses.
“Starting in preschool, my kids were bringing home all these fundraisers it seemed like every other day – the pizza kits, the wrapping paper, laundry detergent,” Stinson said. “A lot of people support those, but I began wondering, why do we have to do so many? When I dug down into it, a lot of times the schools just weren’t making very much money on each fundraiser. They could sell a candle and make three bucks off of it.”
Locally, Noblesville Schools’ North Elementary has embraced Daily Ding, setting a fundraising goal of $20,000. The fundraiser involves students selling traditional fundraising discount cards. However, the cards link buyers to the Daily Ding app, where offers from local businesses are added and change during the course of one year.
The app’s name is derived from a notification alerting users of new and different deals each day.
Stinson’s background is in finance. At the time of his research into fundraising, he was managing the Ameriana Bank branch in Noblesville, which was at what is now Federal Hill Commons in downtown Noblesville. When Ameriana Bank sold to First Merchants Bank, Stinson began working at Star Bank doing small-business lending.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur wannabe, so it was great getting to work with small business owners,” Stinson said. “So, it was great to learn from them about what their struggles were. Eventually, I got tired of the banking industry and wanted to do something different.”
From there, Stinson met Daily Ding co-founder J.R. Gayman, who previously manufactured Kuno tablets, an competitor and alternative to the Apple iPad for school districts.
“We partnered up and came up with a whole business plan,” Stinson said. “We knew everyone was selling these cards, and a lot of times the schools or organizations were only making about 40 or 50 percent of their proceeds. We kind of flipped it.”
Launched in November 2017, Daily Ding gives the selling organization nearly double that amount at an 80 percent profit. North Elementary, however, will receive 100 percent of its proceeds.
“We started off with North Elementary as a special, and I wanted Noblesville to take off with it really well since I live here and my kids go to school here,” Stinson said.
Both East and West middle schools are in talks with Stinson to begin selling cards in September to fund their annual trips to Washington, D.C. Ohio also is part of Daily Ding’s market. In Indiana, Stinson also is working with Anderson University and schools in Mishawaka and Fort Wayne.
“We really wanted to start by owning our own backyard,” Stinson said. “We have another school we’re going to be starting soon in Pennsylvania, so we’re starting to expand out. In the next couple of years we’ll be taking it nationwide as we get more users and street cred.”
On the flip side, businesses are using the app as a way to advertise digitally without the cost typically associated with online advertising. A mix of local and chain restaurants make up the inventory of discounts and coupons on the app.
“We’re just trying to disrupt the market. It’s different, and I think you can really flip the model,” Stinson said. “We’re not taking the money away from the school and students when businesses could use some of their advertising money to help support the school and get their message out.”
Moving forward, Stinson said his primary focus will be on school sports teams and clubs and nonprofits.
To learn more, visit daily-ding.com.
MEET CO-FOUNDER DERECK STINSON
A native of Wauseon, Ohio, near Toledo, Daily Ding co-founder Dereck Stinson moved to Indiana after finishing school at Indiana University, where he studied finance.
“We loved it here and put our roots down here,” he said. He has lived in Noblesville for nine years.
Stinson is married to Jenny. They have three children, Henry, 5, Owen, 4, and June, 2.
He launched Daily Ding in November 2017 and is the company’s national director of fundraising.