There are some things in business that we just take for granted. Nowadays, the idea of not using a credit or debit card for financial transactions seems unthinkable—it’s just the way things are now.
However, as a business committed to making a positive difference, our aim has consistently been to generate a sustainable impact that maximizes the good we can do. This might involve developing a product that supports marginalized communities or establishing a company that prioritizes its people over profits.
For Shizuka Buckley, the decision was made to transform the everyday act of paying for something into a sustainable force for impact.
Your Money, Your Mission: Shizuka’s CEO Journey
Shizuka Buckley has always been driven by a desire to make a positive impact on others. In her own words, “I always knew since I was young, my passion was helping others.” As an adult, she took on the role of a business mentor in the Mid-Atlantic region, guiding women to recognize their skills and turn their dreams into reality.
The Muddiness of Payment Processing
Through her experiences, Shizuka discovered that the most impactful nonprofit organizations are often the smallest ones—the ones lacking widespread advertising or large billboards.
These overlooked nonprofits are everywhere: in your local community, just beyond your backyard, or actively working in your town. They’re the ones that need assistance the most, in contrast to larger nonprofits with more extensive reach.
During a conversation with her husband, who worked in finance, Shizuka had an illuminating moment. Payment processing, a crucial service for every business, emerged as an issue.
Many people struggle to comprehend this essential service, and payment processing companies can take advantage of small businesses, especially those without Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), burdening them with hidden fees.
These fees eat into the profits of businesses, and few individuals are aware of where their money is actually going. This is precisely where Shizuka and Giv Local step in.
What Sets Giv Local Apart
According to Shizuka, at Giv Local, we approach things differently. “When we collect statements, we break it down with you: here’s your realized rate, here’s what you’re really paying, because they’ll tell us what they think they’re paying. We’ll break it down for them.”
Shiz made a crucial decision for her company – 100% transparency about all the fees they charge. Unlike other payment processing companies whose primary focus is profit, Giv Local provides the companies they serve with a clear breakdown of everything they’re paying for to eliminate any hidden fees.
Understanding payment processing can be tricky due to the obscure language used to describe it. In Shizuka’s words, “It’s such a hard industry to understand. You’re talking these percentages. No one understands this financial jargon, unless you’re in banking.”
Giv Local aims to simplify it. They want you to know where your money goes—and beyond that, they ensure that 20% of the fees you pay goes directly to a nonprofit of your choosing.
Working with Giv Local
Giv Local collaborates with businesses of all sizes. They’re also competitive— if there’s a particular aspect a company prefers in payment processing, such as a flat rate, Giv Local can accommodate that.
Their machines offer the same functionality as other payment processing machines. Companies working with them won’t need to change their pricing or alter anything about their business—except now, they have full transparency while also contributing to social impact.
The Challenges of Doing Things Differently
For some businesses, it might seem too good to be true. As Shizuka explains, “Honestly, the hardest part was getting people to believe that this was actually for real. That quite literally was our biggest hurdle. We got a lot of people just looking at us like, ‘Okay, so what’s the catch?’” But the crucial thing to remember is that Shizuka and Giv Local aren’t in it for the money. It’s not about the profit; it’s about the mission. And Shizuka has integrated that into their business model.
Keep in mind: even with the best intentions, a business can’t give 100% of its revenue to its mission. It has to sustain itself to maintain its impact and keep doing good. That’s where Giv Local’s decision to donate 20% to a nonprofit comes from: “We wanted to have the biggest impact as possible, but still remain in business. But we want to have a big impact. That, to me, was the most important thing. It has to be impactful.”
Shizuka admits it: their business grows a little slower than a more profit-focused business model. Their profits aren’t as high. But that’s okay—they’re led by the mission first, profit second.
How Giv Local Works
When Giv Local teams up with a business, they hand over complete control to that business, allowing them to decide where the donations go. As long as the money lands with a nonprofit of any kind, Giv Local is on board with the choice.
While they do stay away from politics and similar ventures, Giv Local emphasizes that the nonprofits they support don’t have to be 501c-3 or large organizations. They can collaborate with smaller groups too, like local school booster clubs or kids’ sports teams. The real value lies in building these communities and offering them the chance to thrive.
And the contributions to these organizations aren’t insignificant. Even though it’s just 20% of a processing fee—not even of the partner company’s total revenue—it’s still a substantial amount, especially when you consider the scale of smaller nonprofits:“A couple hundred bucks isn’t going to be worth it — nothing to the nonprofit, but to a local food shelter or local school booster club, that’s a lot. It’s worth a hell of a lot more.”
Growing Giv Local
Giv Local started small, but its commitment to creating a lasting impact led to the introduction of additional services. Today, they offer various platforms and even extend their reach to ATM services. Their entire infrastructure, including the backend, is a product of their own creation.
But as they grew, Shizuka was always wondering what more they could do. Looking ahead, Giv Local delved into exploring additional services and new areas. Whenever someone approached them with a request to cover a specific financial service, their response was never a simple no.
Giv Local would thoroughly investigate, dedicate effort to it, and innovate—because, above all else, the mission takes precedence — because the mission comes first, before anything else.
Learn More About Shizuka and Give Local
Shizuka Buckley is the founder of Giv Local, a financial processing company with a mission to create sustainable impact through its financial services. As a benefit corporation, their mission and promise is to donate 20% or all their processing revenue to nonprofit organizations and charities chosen by their clients.
Profit is a tool every business needs to succeed. No matter how noble your mission, managing your finances is crucial to ensuring that your company thrives and grows in the face of financial adversity. At The Profit Reimagined™, we do more than just provide generic virtual CFO services. We aim to understand your mission and vision so that we can devise financial strategies that suit your company’s goals. What kind of impact do you want to make? Who are you aiming to help?
If you want to grow your team to ensure that your company serves its purpose beyond profit, a CFO can help you figure out your next best move. Schedule a discovery call with Profit Reimagined™ to help you cover your foundations and deepen your understanding of these concepts.