The five-person team that created Better Finds talk amongst themselves. Submitted photo.

The five-person team that created Better Finds talk amongst themselves. Submitted photo.

Maple Valley man creates app to help sell items and donate to charity

A Maple Valley man is changing the way people sell their unwanted stuff, while donating to charities at the same time.

A Maple Valley man is changing the way people sell their unwanted stuff, while donating to charities at the same time.

David White started a nonprofit called Better Finds, which is an app that lets people sell their unwanted items, but for a good cause. He said the money that is collected once an item is sold goes to a charity of the sellers choice.

The idea for Better Finds came from White’s background in digital marketing for a large church, he said.

“So the idea was born probably just over a year ago, and it was while I was cleaning out my garage. My wife and I are originally from Germany, and we moved here to Seattle, 10 years ago, and just (realized) how much stuff we had,” he said. “When we moved out here we had 12 boxes and now we have a house that is completely full with stuff. And that’s when it dawned on me that there are a bunch of apps out there that do the same thing, allow people to sell items, and then pocket the money themselves, I thought ‘You know what, hey this could actually be a revenue opportunity for other charities.’”

Once the idea was in full swing, the next step was to make his idea come to life.

To do this, White contacted two developers in Denmark.

“I know from my experience, developing a really well functioning iPhone app and Android app, it could easily cost you a couple hundred thousand dollars to do it well. And so I did a little bit of research and found out there were two developers in Denmark, in Europe, who had actually already built a very similar app and they already went to market in Denmark with it and long story short, I reached out them and asked them if they would be interested in partnering up and bringing this to the United States,” he said. “They flew out here in March last year for take-off and since then they have become co-founders of Better Finds. They really helped with the technology.”

It took five people to make this idea work, White said.

The other two people are in charge of community development and ensuring it is easy for donors, users of the Better Finds app, to be able to use the app with ease.

He said the most helpful aspect of this whole process is that everyone White has talked to has had a background in helping charities.

White said the charities they have contacted to be involved with Better Finds have had no issues being on board with it. He said he thinks they see it as a huge opportunity for them to get more revenue for their charity.

With success in starting a company, also come challenges.

“I think that if anything, one of the challenges that we had, but we wanted to nail, was ensuring that we were able to issue receipts for sellers, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to do that ourselves, so we’re partnering with a donor advise fund that makes it possible for us,” White said.

Once a seller sells an item, they get a full receipt detailing what they sold and how much money they got for their charity of choice.

Currently, Better Finds is doing its best to help out a charity called Olive Crest which has a campaign called “Give it Up for Foster Kids,” that supports foster families and foster kids in Washington.

“Within just the first few days of the ‘Give it up for Foster Kids’ campaign, we’ve raised over $2,000 with the items that have been posted and what’s exciting for us is that businesses are getting behind us as well,” White said.

So, when a seller posts an item onto Better Finds, of the listed charities, Olive Crest is on the top, almost as a default,.

There are two other options to donate to as well. To add a charity you want, you must contact that charity to see if they would like to join the list of eligible charities for donations, according to the Better Finds website.

White said there have even been businesses in the area that have decided to post items they sell onto Better Finds to support Olive Crest.

For example, a local company that sells cheesecake pops has offered to sell their products on Better Finds and all of the money will go to Olive Crest.

One of the best parts of all of this, according to White, is to see the how many people are willing to download Better Finds and use it.

“The most rewarding part for me as one of the co-founders is just the level of excitement it creates for everyone who is involved,” he said.

With that in mind, White said the long-term goal for Better Finds is to get even more people involved to experience the “joy of giving.”

“One thing that I’ve learned over time is that it’s equally as rewarding for those that give, time and time again, I hear from donors the joy that it brings them,” he explained.

Looking back at the year he and the co-founders spent working on making Better Finds come to life, White said the one thing he would do differently is look at the “legal aspect” of it sooner. He said he thinks they underestimated the amount of work involved with this.

For their short-term goal, White said he is looking to go above and beyond for Olive Crest.

“We’re always looking at what we can do the next day. Over the next month our goal is to knock it over the park for Olive Crest.”

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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