Most frequent questions and answers
Troop is not a charity. We are a social enterprise. We believe that an organization can achieve financial success and create a positive social impact, these goals are not mutually exclusive. Don’t believe us? Give us a bit of time to prove it.
This will evolve as our service and product offering takes form based on what our users what to see. For our free service, we try to make money from affiliate commissions offered by the retailer where we purchase the products, such as Amazon. Affiliate commissions range from 2-10% depending on the item purchased. These are fees paid by the retailer to Troop, so our members know that 100% of their contribution is going towards fulfilling the need. You can read more on Amazon’s affiliate program here.
We also launched our Troop Plan service, were you can automate your weekly contribution and receive updates on the impact you’re having in your local neighbourhood. The fee for this service is 5% of the contribution value, 2.9% of that will go towards the payment processing fee.
Full disclosure, we will likely experiment with different revenue models in the future. But first, our focus is on building a service that allows users to fulfill local needs.
Right now we have a database of local needs in the Roncy / High Park / Junction area. The plan is to test the service in this area first before we expand into other neighbourhoods. We want to make sure we build a process that allows neighbours to easily meet local needs. This means working with local charities and social workers to identify the needs, finding the caring neighbours interested in helping, and then connecting the two through technology that uses simple text messaging and product fulfillment to meet the needs. Simple right? (Ummm, don’t mention that to our developers :))
Let’s ignore our curiosity (and envy) of how you’re managing your life without the convenience of Amazon. We use Amazon to process all product fulfillment, so you will be asked to sign up for an Amazon account in order to fulfill the need. There are a few reasons we do it this way. First, this means we’re not saving your personal credit card details, this is something you share with the Amazon Gods only. Second, this means you select the delivery address where the item is sent, so you know exactly where your generosity in a box is going.
We do this the old fashioned way: people, eyeballs and common sense. We look for the most cost effective product (but we steer clear of poor quality – no kid wants a backpack that’s already falling apart). We also look at the supplier and opt for local goods with the shortest distance to travel and quickest delivery date. We also take into consideration specific requests, so if you see a link for Dora bed sheets, they’re likely going to a serious Explorer fan.
We vet each charity and social worker before adding their local needs to our database. When you fulfill a need through the text message link we send you, you get to select the delivery address of the local charity so you can be sure it’s going where we say it is. When Troop collects pooled funds to fulfill the need, we will send out images and receipts of the items purchased. PS. We don’t like dodgy people either.
We aim for a 5km radius. Pssst, we are building out a feature where you can select your own radius. So if you only want to give within a few blocks of your house, pretty soon we can choose to do that.
The first Sunday after you sign up.
Great question! That’s one of those tech challenges that we’re working on solving. As for now, we’re picking products that are in need in higher quantities and only sending text messages to smaller groups of caring neighbours for the one off products. One thing’s for sure, any product you purchase will go directly to the charity or social worker to be put to use in your local neighbourhood.
Right now we’re focused on fulfilling the product needs, but down the road we will start to accept donations on behalf of the local charities and social workers we support.