Kevin Nemetz, CEO of tix4cause.com, developed the site to help charities raise money by selling unused event tickets -- and he's loving every minute of it. We got him to tell us why.
Weigel: What is it about this job that excites you?
Nemetz: I read somewhere that we are suppose to work the first 10 years with our hands, the second 10 years with our brain and the last 10 years it was supposed to be your money that was going to work for you. In this economy and in my mantra, it is the heart! There is nothing more rewarding than creating a business that delivers meaningful results for people in need, while also being able to become a substantial and successful business. It certainly is not a job. It's a fulfillment of a career passion.
Weigel: So are you a ticket broker?
Nemetz: No, what we do is take tickets that people can't use -- often season tickets, or if someone is unable to make an event -- and they donate them to our site. The person making the donation chooses a charity that will receive the funds, and there are 120 to choose from on our site at the moment. Ticket donors might even qualify for a tax deduction, and charities receive 100 percent of the ticket proceeds. To me, everybody wins.
Weigel: What gave you the idea for this concept?
Nemetz: Over the years I'd help charities try to fund-raise and I always wondered if there could be a way to do this with very little overhead, so a greater percentage of the money went to the charity. We are raising smaller amounts, but it can go on all year long and not just for big annual fund-raisers. $500 might not seem like a lot to some but in this economy, every little bit helps and this really adds up. We can get that for a pair of Blackhawks tickets on our site in no time, and a charity benefits immediately.
Weigel: If you give 100 percent of the proceeds to the charity, then how do you stay in business?
Nemetz: We charge an annual fee to be registered on our site of $349, and with that membership, we help the charity to bridge the gap with useful social media tools. We give them a landing page, logo, get their presence on Facebook and Twitter. Many charities can make that $349 back in a day. We went live on Feb. 24hand the YMCA in Naperville got four tickets for a Hawks game and James Taylor tickets, so they made $670 in the same day. So many not-for-profits don't utilize the Internet tools that can help get their name out to the world, and we help them get ahead of the curve.
Weigel: Will people be able to get seats to some of the holiday shows this season on your site?
Nemetz: It depends on what comes to us. This summer somebody donated U.S. Open passes to Pebble Beach, so one of our interns said, "Let's call the concierges in the hotels nearby," and they sold them in a couple of days. People donate all kinds of things to us and they come and go quickly. Many are on the same day, especially with sporting events. Season ticket holders on average only attend 40 to 45 percent of their events, and 10 to 15 percent of the time they may do nothing and those tickets get wasted. We're trying to change that.
Weigel: What would you recommend to someone else thinking of starting their dream business?
Nemetz: The first step in starting a business is not to create an idea that is going to make millions -- rather create something that is meaningful to others. If we are successful the financial reward will come to all who participate including our company. What truly makes me love my job is receiving the news that we made a difference for others.
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