Interview with iBakeSale.com

October 17, 2007

Good morning! I’m bringing you another interview exclusive to CompareRewards — today I’m talking with Jonathan Trieber, the founder of a relatively new rewards program called iBakeSale, launched in June. Jonathan, can you tell me a little about your background and why you decided to start a rewards program?
Charitable giving has always been a big part of my life. I used to volunteer frequently at local charities in both high school and college. After graduating from Cornell University , I took a job working at Citigroup in their investment banking division. Given my limited hours of free time, I continued to support important causes through financial donations. I left Citigroup about 16 months ago with my co-founder to create a rewards program that aimed to make charitable giving easy and free, even for those people who claim to be too busy to donate (time or money) to charity. We didn’t think about it as a rewards program at first but really as a conduit to support causes that were important to consumers. We knew we wanted it to be an online shopping mall of sorts with a specific focus on helping others. I guess only after we built the program did we begin referring to it as a fundraising rewards program so people could easily understand what we were doing.
Now, for the people out there who haven’t tried iBakeSale yet, please tell us how it works.
iBakeSale is quite similar to existing programs out there like iGive and Fundraising Rewards for those of you already familiar with online rewards programs. For those of you not so familiar, the gist of our program is that we are an online mall that offers consumers the ability to earn cash-back savings when they shop at our 400 online stores and donate that money to any type of cause. The biggest difference is that our program was designed to cater to small community fundraisers like sports teams, religious groups, school clubs etc. We allow anybody to register a fundraising group with iBakeSale and invite others to join, shop, and support that cause. Overall, our platform is incredibly flexible and caters to small and medium size charities and any type of community organization.
How long does it take after a purchase is made before the rebate shows up in my account? How long do I have to wait to cash out, and how long does it take after I request a payment before I can expect to receive it?
It takes approximately 1-3 days for us to receive notification from our merchant partners that a purchase was made. Once we are notified of a purchase by one of our members, it takes approximately 30 days, and sometimes longer, for us to receive the funds from our merchants. Once we receive the funds, we immediately make them available to you and distribute the funds either via check or on your credit card.
How many merchants do you have for shoppers to choose from? Do you have plans to add more in the near future?
We currently have approximately 350 retailers in the program. Over the next 6 months, we plan on adding an additional 100 merchants, including various opportunities for members to earn merchant rewards when they shop in-store as well.
The idea of receiving your rebate earnings in the form of credit to your credit card is pretty unique. Why did you decide on that form of payment, and what reassurances do you give members who might feel a little uncomfortable with providing their credit card number to a relatively new rewards program? And is it okay to provide a debit card number so the payment will go straight to my checking account?
Our philosophy here was to make it as easy as possible for members to receive their rewards. The fastest and easiest way to make this happen is to credit a member’s credit card for the value of those rewards. Our data is encrypted and store securely on our servers. For those members who are uncomfortable providing this sensitive information, we completely understand. We allow members to receive their rewards in the form of check if that is their preference. We are also working on new ways to pay-out rewards via direct deposit into members’ bank accounts. We’ll keep you posted on those developments.
What makes iBakeSale different from other charity rewards programs like iGive and FundraiserRewards?
Great question. As mentioned earlier, the biggest difference is that our program was designed to cater to small community fundraisers like sports teams, religious groups, school clubs etc. We allow anybody to register a fundraising group with iBakeSale and invite others to join, shop, and support that cause. Also, users tend to like our user interface better than the other programs. Plus the overall flexibility of our platform is incredibly appealing since it caters to small and medium size charities and any type of community organization.
Can a person add their own fundraising group to the site? Do they have to be a tax-exempt organization to qualify?
Absolutely, part of what makes iBakeSale unique is that we allow anybody to register their own fundraising group. The group does not have to be tax-exempt to utilize or free program. In fact, the program was designed for these types of groups and only morphed into a wider fundraising platform for small and medium-sized charities. For security reasons, we do not allow members to register tax-exempt or 501C3 organizations with our site. We have already acquired the correct information from the IRS to ensure that the fundraising checks end up in the right hands for our charity partners.
And just to clarify, is it totally alright to shop and keep 100% of my earnings for myself rather than sharing it with a charity?
Definitely. We obviously encourage members to share some of their savings with a cause that is special to them. But under no circumstance to we force members to donate. The choice is completely up to them, and we have a significant minority of users who choose to keep 100% of their savings.
Those are all the questions I have for you today! Do you have any final comments, or anything you’d like to say to people considering joining iBakeSale?
I don’t think so. I think that covers all the major points about our program. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my story and company with you and your readers. All the best.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me — I wish you and iBakeSale great success!
Interested in giving iBakeSale a try? Please join here!

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