Students organize fundraiser for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

For every download of their app, a UBC startup will donate to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation on your behalf.

VendChat, founded by UBC students, is a platform through which local buyers and sellers can connect online in a secure manner. To promote the recent launch of their app, VendChat will make a donation to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation for every free download between March 22 and April 8.

“We know people are willing to support BC Children’s Hospital, but some people don’t like giving money,” said Pamela Melo, fourth-year commerce student and VendChat’s director of marketing. “So this time, we are giving them the opportunity to not donate with money, but to donate through a download of a free app that is actually created for their benefit.”

Having received $30,000 in advertising credit from Facebook’s FbStart, a program designed to support startup initiatives, VendChat is looking to use their own marketing budget to give back to the community.

“Because we are supported by Facebook, we don’t need to spend most of our money in marketing. We wanted to donate all of the money we got from [our] investors,” said Saba Mohebpour, fourth-year international health student and CEO of VendChat.

The team started discussions with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in January and was drawn to helping contribute to the construction of a new hospital building to better support patients and staff. Since then, the campaign to raise money for a second hospital building has ended and VendChat’s funds will be directed toward the hospital’s Excellence in Child Health Fund.

“[The fund] supports the most urgent needs of the hospital,” said Cherie Spence, coordinator of independent community events and sponsorship at the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This could be anything from purchasing equipment, to research as well as improving the hospital.”

“Since we are from Vancouver, we really wanted to support the community, keep the money going around and help the society that we live in,” said Mohebpour.

The idea for a philanthropic marketing model came from a smaller business project the team was involved in earlier. This time, as the first of multiple marketing campaigns for VendChat, the plan is to donate between 20 cents to $1 per download on iTunes with the value of each individual donation increasing with the total number of app downloads before April 8. By the end of the campaign, the team is hoping to be able to donate most of their marketing budget of $20,000.

“There's nothing [people] have to lose,” said Melo. “They download it. If they find it useful, they use it. If they don’t, they can delete it — but they have donated.”