Most frequent questions and answers
Troop is not a charity. We are a social enterprise, which means we exist for profit and purpose. We believe we can build a sustainable business model that will allow us to achieve our social goal – a world where basic needs don’t go unmet in our neighbourhoods and communities.
Businesses should profit to the extent in which they add value for their users. So the question becomes, is there value in discovering local needs? Is there value in a tool that can help you achieve your personal goal of living a more compassionate and generous life? Is there value in a service that fosters kindness and social impact for small businesses and their employees?
We think so, but you’ll be the judge.
This will change as our service and product offering evolves based on what our users want to see.
In general, there are a few ways that we make money:
1) Tips! Little pats on the back from awesome neighbours who fulfill needs through our platform. When you fulfill a need, 100% of your contribution goes towards purchasing the product in need (we even cover the payment processing fee). So if you like what we do and how we do it, you can leave us a tip at the checkout.
2) Troop Plans. If you want to contribute a small amount every week to local needs, you can automate your generosity and sign up for a Troop Plan. We help you fulfill the need every week for a standard 5% tip, that is deducted from your plan value (2.9% of that will go towards the payment processing fee).
3) Affiliate commissions. Payments of 2-10% from retail partners. This is a fee that a retailer will pay to Troop for purchasing products through them. It’s pretty rare on the site, but something we might get into a bit more as we expand.
4) Our Troop Local Impact Plans for small businesses. This is the main way we plan to grow the Troop service. We make is easier than ever for businesses and their employees to make a difference in their community. We help companies support their neighbours in need and meet the social responsibility demands of their customers and employees.
Full disclosure, we will likely experiment with different revenue models in the future. But first, our focus is on building a service that allows members to unleash their good into their local community.
It’s simple. Sign up with your name, email, phone number and address. We’ll send you one text message a week about a featured local need in your area. You can also get this message by email. If you feel like helping out a neighbour that week, just click on the link in the message. This will send you to a page with more details about the local need and info on how you can fulfill the need.
Needs can be fulfilled in a few ways:
- Pool funds – we typically do this when the item in need is more than $50.
- Wish lists – you can pick a specific item from a wish list and purchase that, so you know exactly where your money is going.
- Used goods – yup, we pick up old stuff. We agree that there’s far too much stuff in the world and if a need can be fulfilled with a slightly used item from a neighbours basement or closet, we’re all over that.
All of the needs on Troop come from registered charities or nonprofits and fall into one of two categories:
1) a need for the charity/nonprofit (items that will benefit the organization or a large number of people the organization serves) e.g a dishwasher for a crisis centre, a stockpile of personal hygiene products for a youth home, etc.
2) a specific need for a person or family supported by the charity/nonprofit, e.g a refugee mom in need of a baby stroller, a low income family in need of a used bike for transportation, etc.
(P.S. These are all examples of needs we’ve crushed!)
We work directly with representatives from the charity/nonprofit to confirm the need, write up the story, post it on the site and then share it with the Troopers. That’s when the magic happens!
Funny that you ask! We launched our Troop Local Impact Plan For Businesses to help organizations make a difference in their community. Most companies want to give back to the community that supports them, but time and resources are often a challenge. We offer a hassle-free way for businesses to do good, and let’s be honest, that’s just what your customers and employees are looking for. Check out how Troop helps businesses here.
We started off with needs in the Roncy / High Park / Parkdale/ King West neighbourhoods, but we’re expanding fast and needs are coming in from all over Toronto.
We started off by only purchasing the need items through Amazon. We’ve since expanded on this to ensure that we’re fulfilling the need in the most cost effective way, be it Amazon, Walmart, a local shop or a bulk distributor.
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 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 tangible need, the items either get delivered to the Troop office or directly to the registered charity address so we can take pics/videos of the products and share the moment with you. P.S. We don’t like dodgy people either.
The first Sunday after you sign up.