A mobile-friendly app created by two Omaha marketing pros has made giving to local charities easy for shoppers around town.
When folks download and use the Together A Greater Good app, they can scan their purchases from local participating businesses—including Big Mama’s Kitchen, The Bookworm, and Greenstreet Cycles—and donate a portion of the receipt amount to charities like American Cancer Society, the Open Door Mission, or a local school.
TAGG, founded in 2012, is the brainchild of Holly Baker and Leslie Fischer. Baker and Fischer studied marketing and business (Baker at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Fischer at the University of Nebraska-Omaha). The two met in 2007 while working at another startup, GiftCertificates.com. Although the two worked together for less than a year, the hectic, frenzied work environment helped forge a future partnership.
“You kind of bond through chaos,” Fischer says.
After leaving GiftCertificates.com, Fischer worked for the construction company EAD. While at EAD, Fischer juggled administrative, human resources, and marketing duties.
Coincidentally, both Baker and Fischer were pregnant around the same time while employed in their respective former jobs (Fischer at EAD, Baker at Qualia Clinical Services). Their gestations corresponded to the genesis of TAGG. When Baker was pregnant with her first child, she heard that Qualia was shuttering its Omaha operations. Around that time, Fischer asked Baker to help with some projects at EAD. And while Fischer was on maternity leave, she began brainstorming business ideas. One idea came from constantly being barraged by “cute kids wanting to sell stuff” for fundraising.
“I remember standing in my office, holding my resignation letter, thinking, ‘This is real. We’re doing this…”
– Leslie Fischer
Fischer says she remembers Baker saying, “Doesn’t there have to be a better way than this poor kid schlepping through all the neighborhoods?”
For Fischer and Baker, the Groupon business model kept coming up. The popular web coupon site Groupon offers different deals for products, services, and events. Specifically, Fischer and Baker were interested in taking Groupon’s voucher system for deals and applying it to fundraising. From early 2011 until May 2012, Baker and Fischer kept bouncing ideas around.
In May 2012, Baker and Fischer quit their jobs to devote all of their resources into launching TAGG.
“I remember standing in my office, holding my resignation letter, thinking, ‘This is real. We’re doing this,’” Fischer says.
Baker was pregnant at the time.
“I thought I was going to have a miscarriage from stress,” Baker says.
For most businesses, the first year of operation comes with a few horror stories. For Baker and Fischer, theirs revolved around the key component of TAGG—its website. After quitting in May 2012, Baker and Fischer planned to launch TAGG around the Fourth of July of that year. Unfortunately, the website developer, who was working in Colorado, hadn’t completed the back-end work for the website.
“I ended up spending the Fourth of July on the phone with our lawyer to get our code from this guy,” Fischer says.
Fischer and Baker agreed it was best to scrap the design and start fresh. They relaunched that fall.
Since launching, TAGG has gained 175 businesses committed to donating 5 percent of customers’ scanned receipts to local charities. Twenty thousand people have downloaded the TAGG app. And TAGG now operates out of a West Omaha office, a far cry from kitchen table conversations that created TAGG.
“It feels like forever ago, and yesterday at the same time,” Fischer says.
Visit togetheragreatergood.com for more information.