Why Keela joined Social purpose Innovators: Developing a Social Purpose that Guides Our Approach to Business
In early November, Social Purpose Institute (SPI) launched it’s third cohort of Social Purpose Innovators. Keela, a software company that builds technology for nonprofits, raised their hand to be part of the program and help them develop their company’s enduring reason for being.
Tasi Gottschlag, Keela’s COO and Hanna Dandanell, Keela’s Director of Sales Operations, are playing a key role in their company’s efforts to define and articulate a clear social purpose. We asked them to shed some light on why Keela decided to join the Social Purpose Innovators.
By Hanna Dandanell and Tasi Gottschlag of Keela
Keela’s Ideas around Social Purpose
It is a shared belief at Keela that we should exist to do more than just turn a profit. Central to everything we do here — to our philosophy — is our value of social responsibility. It is key that we don’t just prescribe a solution for nonprofits. We want to build a tool that responds to the variety of problems that challenge the sector.
On Keela’s team, you will find former executive directors, communications staff, volunteer managers, fundraisers, and canvassers… And that doesn’t even include all the current roles our team members hold on various nonprofit boards. It has always been important to us that we get real insight from the people on the ground as to what they really need in a tool they use every day.
Additionally, we want to:
- Empower nonprofits with technology and knowledge.
- Help them take the next step with smart tools and guided decision-making.
- Take a proactive approach to address the critical issues facing society.
- Be a business that will have a lasting impact on people and the planet.
We are committed to positively changing our community through the work we do. That’s why the Social Purpose Innovators program intrigued us.
Why Keela joined the Social Purpose Innovators
Through the process of rebranding, we felt uniquely prepared in our vision and desire for Keela to fundamentally be about social good. We had a vision, mission statement, company’s values, and a BHG (big hairy goal). It seemed to us that we were set.
However, through conversations with Coro Strandberg and Mary Ellen Schaafsma, social purpose experts at United Way, we came to understand what ‘social purpose’ actually means: It’s not branding, a tagline, or a slogan. It’s not a set of initiatives, or something to wrap-around Keela’s current efforts to help nonprofits.
Social purpose is something that will become core to our business. It will be the driving force for our team, and explain not what we do — but why we do it. Our social purpose will be the cornerstone of who Keela is, truly transforming us into an engine for good.
We loved the idea. We also recognized that, nowadays, social purpose is an important and necessary part of business. As a B-Corp and social enterprise, it made sense. We decided to ask a few of our colleagues why they joined Keela, to get a feel for where we stood in terms of social purpose, and these were their responses:
- “To work with more nonprofits”
- “To expand my impact”
- “To use my powers for good”
- “To create a bigger chain reaction of positive impact”
- “To get back to doing work that has a meaning”
We thought to ourselves, “our team gets it — to the core”. So, we clearly know what drives us and why we come to work every day.
What we need is a way to truly define that passion – that why. We need a way to ensure social purpose is incorporated into everything we do; every decision we make. That is why we chose to work with the Social Purpose Institute, to formalize this driving force that ignites Keela. We want to set in stone this shared dream.
SPI offered us the framework and process we needed to use our ideas and inspirations to define exactly what our social purpose was, and how to communicate this to everyone who cares. Our customers and shareholders also want to understand this part of Keela and we needed a way to really define the entirety of this concept.
We are excited to work with SPI, to identify and develop our social purpose, and use it to create the framework to grow our business for good. Going through this program, working with SPI, and defining our purpose means we stay true to our word, and more importantly, staying true to what we stand for.
What Drives Us
At Keela we don’t just make software. We believe in positively impacting those around us. We don’t create accessible tools just to boost profit. We create accessible tools because nonprofits are changing the world every day, and they, and the communities they serve, deserve the best.
Needless to say, nonprofit organizations make an incredible contribution to the social, political, and economic dimensions of society. At Keela, we figured that by combining technology and social causes, we can empower communities to reach sustainable and scalable solutions. That was and is the driving force behind our company.
As our CEO and Founder, Nejeed Kassam puts it,
“North American nonprofits contribute over 1.2 trillion dollars annually to various causes supporting those in need. Civil society is a precondition to democracy; nonprofits are central to the fabric of civil society and are thus foundational to our democracy, our freedom. We can support nonprofits and in connection, our freedom by investing in the tools that elevate their ability to create impact. At Keela “technology for good” really means something powerful.”
Hanna Dandanell is the Director of Sales Operations at Keela. She holds a BA from the University of British Columbia. Hanna previously worked at Fitplan, a start-up that designs and develops mobile applications for fitness, as their Success and Community Manager. With 2 years of experience in SaaS and 6 years in the nonprofit sector, she learned that by merging technology and social causes we are able to empower people to reach sustainable solutions.
Tasi Gottschlag joined Keela in July 2019 as COO. She has an MBA from Simon Fraser University and an extensive background running SaaS organizations. Tasi was previously “employee number one” at Voxter, which works in the VoIP technology and services space. Tasi led Voxter as its operational CFO and focused on its competitive advantage, agile team, and operational excellence to grow organically. Tasi was an EIR at the nonprofit League of Innovators, where she served as a mentor for over 12 youth startup teams working through stages from ideation through commercialization. Tasi is also currently an advisor to Victory Square Technologies.