Andrew Stanley moved back to his hometown of Kansas City in 2010 with altruistic ambitions. After spending too much time and effort locating and coordinating with a non-profit organization he was passionate about, he arrived on site for his volunteer experience only to be sent home and told he was no longer needed. This experience was the spark that led to the creation of VolunteerMark.
VolunteerMark was a member of our first SparkLabKC Class in 2013. Andrew and his co-founder Venkat Dulipalli came in with a unique business idea and a passion for making a deep impact in the community.
I recently caught up with founder Andrew Stanley to discuss his experience with SparkLabKC, what VolunteerMark is up to now, and to hear about his exciting plans for future growth.
Creating Volunteer Solutions
Stanley found that many volunteers have had similar frustrating experiences to his own. Despite the desperate need for volunteers in every community, there is too much disconnect in coordination and communication between non-profit organizations and volunteers.
He and Dulipali decided that the solution was to create a mobile-friendly online software application that matches volunteers with the non-profit organizations that best fit their personal interests and skill sets. VolunteerMark is a volunteer management solution that makes the process of finding, scheduling, and managing volunteers easier on both sides of the spectrum. Users span from non-profits, schools, civic groups, and churches, to anyone else looking to get involved in their community.
Will Schmidt, writing in Kansas City’s Tech Cocktail, notes that VolunteerMark’s easy-to-use process creates an incentive for people to volunteer, which in turn gets them more involved in improving their communities.
The SparkLabKC Difference
VolunteerMark came into SparkLabKC with a vision of a software program that would really make a difference. Throughout their time in our accelerator, their vision became reality, and they transformed into the scalable, thriving company they are today.
When asked about VolunteerMark’s experience with SparkLabKC, Stanley said that one of his favorite parts of the accelerator was getting the opportunity to work with peers and mentors across all industries who brought in a wide array of perspectives to improve his business.
Through being a part of this progressive learning environment, they were able to identify the early “holes” in VolunteerMark’s business model. He encourages any future accelerator participants to ask as many questions as they can to mentors during their experience and to turn advice into meaningful action.
One of Stanley’s most memorable moments from his experience with SparkLabKC happened on Demo Day. He was all geared up and prepared for his pitch, and naturally, the clicker battery died right in the middle of his presentation. He said everyone was laughing with him. Since then, VolunteerMark has been moving onward and upward in the entrepreneurial community.
There are big things ahead for VolunteerMark. They are now working with 20 nonprofit organizations in Kansas City, including the Ronald McDonald House and Habitat for Humanity, and are looking to expand further. There are currently 2,000 users on the app and that number is rapidly growing each day.
In the next year, VolunteerMark plans to expand to the global stage. As there is a growing need for this type of resource, Stanley has received countless inquiries about VolunteerMark around the world. Dulipalli and a team of developers are making constant improvements to the software, as well as developing new products for VolunteerMark.
Stanley remarked, “It is exciting to see our vision for VolunteerMark come to life and make a difference for non-profit organizations and volunteers.” Our team at SparkLabKC is excited to see what’s in store for VolunteerMark, and we look forward to witnessing the impact they make in our community and beyond.