16 Mar Online aid group taps former Wisconsin governor McCallum
Aidmatrix, a non-profit in Texas that helps match charitable corporate donations with organizations that need them, has named former Wisconsin governor Scott McCallum its president and CEO.
The non-profit was begun in 2000 through a software donation from I2 Technologies, a supply-chain software provider. Since then it has crafted Internet-based methods of getting donations and excess supplies to humanitarian groups. In 2001 Aidmatrix worked with an international alliance of non-governmental organizations called Civicus to create a portal networking them together.
McCallum brings experience he gained first as lieutenant governor with Tommy Thompson and then as governor, as well as a desire to expand into new applications. He will remain at his Wisconsin home while working for the Texan non-profit.
“I’d like to see entire Wisconsin communities go online, where all the businesses in a community can donate to charities, cash-wise and with any surplus goods they have, so that any charity in the community would be able to see what’s available and apply to receive it,” he said.
Aidmatrix works with more than 1,000 charities worldwide, with food distributors such as Kraft and charitable group Second Harvest, and with online commerce sites.
Each of its many alliances in some way works toward linking supply with demand. People who buy from Amazon and 1-800-Flowers online, for example, can donate part of their payment to charities though Aidmatrix. The organization’s own Web site also includes Virtual Aid drives, which provide a simple way to make donations to any charity. “People can donate without the paperwork,” McCallum said.
Virtual Aid rests on its simplicity, which Aidmatrix hopes will lead more companies to encourage employees to make donations through the system.
The organization also provides online services for larger corporate donations, including disaster alerts that help companies give what is needed, rather than donating possibly unusable goods, and a calculator that shows companies the exact monetary value of prospective donations, calculating in the saved costs of disposing of excess materials and the amount of the company’s tax write-off from the donation.
“The value calculator shows the impact [a donation] has for the bottom line and what the effect will be for those who will be helped,” said Margaret Gardner, vice president of marketing for Aidmatrix. “It’s calculated down into a dollar value. When companies see these positives, they’re more likely to donate.”
With these features in place Aidmatrix sees itself ready for the next big step. Gardner said McCallum’s experience, including the oversight of disaster relief, an economic background and international contacts, made him the man for the job.
The organization has plans on the table to create new food distribution programs in Argentina, Germany, and Canada, and to expand its programs to include distribution of surplus health, education, and disaster-aid goods to nonprofit organizations worldwide.
On Wednesday McCallum and other representatives from Aidmatrix met with several free medical clinics in an effort to expand their program of transporting surplus health supplies to where they’re needed.
“The important aspect now is that charities and corporations realize that they don’t have to throw things out,” McCallum said. “They can make them available to charities. Matching those two creates tremendous efficiencies within society.”
“In rural Argentina, they’ve got telephones, they’ve got Internet, but they don’t have the computers,” he said. “So I match peoples’ surplus computers with the needy there.”