Josh Rowley worked for years in the film and television industry before pivoting into technology. He consulted startups by leading their product development, marketing and overall business strategies. His guest lectures at USC, startup accelerators and keynote presentations at tech conferences led him around the world, but his love for philanthropy led him to the South Bay. He then realized that his expertise could best be utilized providing fundraising and banking technology for nonprofits. In 2015 he created Givebox.com as a free platform for nonprofit organizations, offering payment processing, banking technology and high-level fundraising tools.
What inspired you to choose your profession?
“Technology advancement remains the key to our society’s progression. The lack of basic technology in the philanthropic industry keeps me awake at night. My quest is to change the world of those working to change the world for good.”
What are some of the problems facing the nonprofit industry?
“The accelerated increase in credit card and debit card donations has led to the creation of overpriced fundraising platforms that only a small percentage of larger nonprofits can afford. Smaller nonprofits, which account for the vast majority of the philanthropic community, do not have access to basic fundraising tools, which leads to program closures and organizational shutdowns.”
What is Givebox doing for nonprofits?
“We determined that the most effective way to help nonprofits is by drastically lowering their technology and banking costs. So we did what nobody else has done: We combined banking, payment processing and fundraising technology into one seamless platform and built it free for nonprofits. There are no contracts or onboarding expenses.
The Givebox automated system enables nonprofits to acquire their own merchant processing and banking account in seconds as opposed to weeks. They can then launch custom fundraisers, events and more on their own website or create a new giving page for the world to see. The platform supports any size nonprofit from large nonprofits with enterprise needs to grassroots nonprofits hoping to grow.”
Besides free technology, what is the #1 way that Givebox supports nonprofits?
“We listen. Over the past five years I have spoken with hundreds of nonprofits. My goal in each conversation is to understand what obstacles they are facing and what ideas they have for solutions. My team and I then simply render their real-world problems into technology solutions. I always tell nonprofits, ‘We did not build Givebox; you did.’”
What is the secret of your company’s success?
“I believe success in business is achieved by passionate observation, then practical application. Companies fail when a solution is conceived before truly understanding the problem from a client’s perspective. But simply knowing this formula is not enough. You need to care enough about that client to embrace their pain. Givebox is a company that identifies the ongoing challenges that nonprofits face, then translates those issues into ground- breaking technologies. Our secret to success is that we care.”
What is the best piece of career advice you can give?
“You have to wake up in the morning and say, ‘There is no tomorrow’ and go to bed at night and say, ‘There is always tomorrow.’”
Why work and live in the South Bay?
“I was born and raised in Southern California. The stretch of beach and ocean here in the South Bay is one of the most hypnotic and healing entities I have ever felt. In addition, the community’s commitment to philanthropy is truly inspirational. This town is supportive and passionate about its local nonprofits.
The philanthropic energy here is what set me on my path toward Givebox. Whether I am working or playing, more than any other time in my life I feel that I am helping better the world. The South Bay is a special place where philanthropy can subtly touch so many parts of your life.”
In what ways do you give back?
“We founded the Givebox Technology Foundation to help raise money and awareness for nonprofits and individuals in need. Our most recent effort was to raise money for a local nonprofit here in the South Bay. Hundreds of people came to support the cause by participating in a charitable casino night at Shade Hotel. It was a huge success. This is the first of many upcoming events where we will spotlight South Bay nonprofits.”
What does the future hold for Givebox?
“Many nonprofits that we support are looking to Givebox to introduce them to new donors. We are currently developing ways that South Bay nonprofits and donors can strengthen their community through online technology and offline events. Stay tuned.”
What book are you currently reading?
“America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock. In short, this book takes us a step further toward understanding our ancestors. I believe that understanding how things were helps give us foresight into what will be.”