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Case study / Nonprofit

Getting a card for nonprofit marketing and travel needs

The Brex Difference

Less than 1 day

Application Time

Immediate

Implementation Time

Access to credit, visibility, controls

Pain Points

Marketing and travel expenses

Top Spend Categories

Company Info

Matt Hill

Founders

2014

Founded

Shelburne, VT

Headquarters

15-20

Employee Count

Company

One Tree Planted is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees. Their projects are global, and their funding model is very straightforward. Every one dollar donated plants one tree. The aim is to make it easy and enjoyable to take action for sustainability, which is also why they emphasize positive stories over gloomy climate news in their communications.

Challenge

Like many international entrepreneurs, Matt Hill wanted to get a corporate credit card for this unique nonprofit but didn’t have a credit score in the U.S. One Tree Planted has lots of expenses to carry out the important work they do, including things like marketing and advertising, traveling around the world to document newly-planted trees, and using various online tools. All of this helps them tell stories and update donors on the impact their trees are having in the real world.

For a long time, Hill and his employees had to put all of this spending on personal cards and debit cards. That meant he wasn’t accruing rewards for spending, and he was incurring personal risk for every purchase, like renting a car for business travel.

“I managed to build a business based on a cash flow, and it fortunately worked out,” Hill said. “But that’s a big risk, and an even bigger inconvenience for most business owners.”

Solution

Brex was able to provide One Tree Planted with a corporate card by using its modern underwriting technology to provide a credit limit based on a cash balance in the bank. Hill was able to quickly set up an account after applying online and talking to a Brex account executive. He was approved within a day and could start issuing virtual corporate cards right away.

Hill no longer had to put all those expenses on debit cards and personal cards—and he no longer had to deal with reimbursing employees, either. “Even as a successful nonprofit, it was a challenge to get approved for a card and earn reward points,” he said. “But now it’s much smoother with Brex.

We can spend on our travel and marketing as needed, and the points and monitoring features are great.”

“I kept applying to the bank to get a company credit card, but was always denied because I’m Canadian. I knew there had to be a solution out there.”
Outcome

Hill no longer has to worry about leaving money on the table when he’s using a debit card or a personal card instead of a corporate card with rewards. In addition, Brex’s interface makes it easier to monitor employee spending and ensure that donors’ money is being put to good use.

“You have to be conscious and spend it wisely and prudently,” Hill said. “Now we can rest assured knowing the accounting is organized and transparent.”

Hill can also now easily issue cards to the employees who need it most—the ones traveling around the world documenting those stories, and the ones handling marketing. Marketing, too, is an important use of donors’ funds as it helps drive interest and get more people excited about supporting the environment. And at the end of the day, it’s most important that people feel great about the journey of their tree.

One Tree Planted’s project managers have to travel to potential planting sites all around the world and vet them, as well as follow up later to ensure their planting projects are successful. And Brex’s instant receipt capture helps ensure that Hill and his team are able to document every expense as part of that travel, regardless of where they are in the world.

“I know the way I manage things has to be done properly and efficiently because I have to report this. You have to disclose your financials so everyone can see how you use the money.”

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