A former sales executive wants to make everyone — including you — a philanthropist
“I have, quite literally, put everything into this,” Jason Hausske says as he leans in to emphasize his next thought. “But if an idea pulls you, you got to go.”
Jason is the founder, CEO and driving force behind One4All, a social network for charitable giving. The company’s goal is ambitious: to transform giving from an occasional, passive activity to a more regular — and sometimes spontaneous — everyday occurrence.
Whether you give through paycheck deductions, in response to natural disasters, or based on a call to action from a celebrity or your child’s school, One4All aims to reduce the friction, organize record keeping, and make the whole process a much more social experience.
“Giving is a core human need,” Jason says.
“We want to put you, the giver, at the center of the entire process, giving you more control over how and when you give, whether you want to give a dollar or five hundred dollars.”
For Jason, a successful enterprise-level sales manager, the leap from employee to entrepreneur was something he had considered for a long time, but kept pushing off in favor of the perceived stability and financial rewards of a steady paycheck.
That changed when his employer announced layoffs would be coming. Jason, who was serving as the company’s vice president of sales, decided it was time to jump.
“I grew up around entrepreneurs and I had this romantic vision of running my own business for a long time,” Jason explains. “But you get into this lifestyle of making six figures a year and there’s no forcing function to make you do it.”
So when the “forcing function” — an event that forces one to take action — of layoffs came around, Jason got serious about an idea he had been thinking about for nearly a decade.
“The idea [for One4All] had actually been percolating for eight years, but I couldn’t figure out a business model,” Jason explains. “It wasn’t until social media came along and I saw these companies trying a hyper-local approach to connecting with employees and customers that I really saw the opportunity.”
So Jason dove in with his full ambition. His goal was nothing short of transforming philanthropy — something he knew would not come quickly or easily.
“I knew I wanted to start something big,” he says. “It’s just in my DNA. If I started a car dealership, I’d want it to be the biggest on the West Coast. That’s just how I think.”
But he was starting a technology company, not a car dealership. That meant he needed to pull together a team to help him execute. His first instinct was to try to recruit a technical co-founder to lead the software development.
“I couldn’t find a CTO co-founder who wanted to take the risk,” Jason says. He charged forward, eventually connecting with a team of offshore developers to help him build the initial version of One4All.
Living off his savings, Jason continued to bootstrap One4All. He made good progress both in terms of product developers and adding users. Still, it became clear that to create his world-changing company it would require outside capital.
“At that point I decided I felt good enough about the model that I started raising capital,” he says. “I just put together a convertible note with the help of a good friend who was an attorney, and started pitching.”
A convertible note is a loan that converts to equity at a later date, often based on the company hitting certain milestones, like raising additional capital, or after a prescribed amount of time. Convertible notes have become the default way startups in Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurial hubs raise money. They’re quick, easy and generally considered founder friendly.
Unfortunately, according to Jason, he found Boise angel investors lukewarm on the idea.
“You get this mentality (of) ‘We don’t do convertible notes in Boise,’” he says.
“So many of our local investors want a big discount just because the company is based in Boise. It’s either a big opportunity or it’s not. We need our investors to value Boise entrepreneurs at the same level investors in other markets value their entrepreneurs. Otherwise, we send the wrong message.”
Jason continued on, raising from a few individuals and foundations locally and from his previous hometown of Seattle. All the while assembling a part-time team to build out and refine the product. It’s arduous, but also necessary.
“I’m used to rejection and a lot of education of a marketplace,” he says. “I’ve always worked a lot of hours. It’s just the way it is if you’re building something new.”
After four years and countless hours, Jason is confident the value One4All brings to donors, nonprofits and companies will be more than worth it.
One example: a handful of kids recently used the One4All platform to have their friends give to the Idaho Humane Society instead of purchasing traditional birthday gifts.
“That money was going to T.J. Maxx for those birthday gifts,” Jason says. “Instead it went to the humane society. I want kids to see their influence. I want kids to see they can help build their own community.”
Ultimately, Jason and One4All want to turn giving on its head, empowering individual donors to take more control of their giving, track their giving in a centralized location, and encourage others to do the same.
It’s a philosophy, according to Jason, that will have tremendous impact on the charities that need financial support.
“There is this over-reliance on altruism,” he says. “It’s definitely an inherent behavioral need [to be altruistic], but what behavioral economics shows is that there are a lot of other levers you can pull to unleash their good.”