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Case study / Nonprofit

Simplifying expense management for nonprofits

The Brex Difference

20 minutes

Application Time

Immediate

Implementation Time

Access to credit, expense management

Pain Points

Marketing and travel expenses

Top Spend Categories

Company Info

2018

Founded

Boston, MA

Headquarters

1-5

Employee Count

Company

Propel America is an intermediary organization that connects employers, high schools, and post-secondary training providers in a scalable system of skill-building, job placement and support that engages young adults at the critical transition between high school and post-secondary life.

Propel America is a nonprofit that started a program in Louisiana and New Jersey last year and is getting ready to launch the program in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and will be working with 400 students this winter.

Challenge

Propel America, like many nonprofits, has a good amount of money in the bank—and shouldn’t have any issues getting a corporate card. But like many startups, Propel America didn’t have a credit score required by many traditional corporate card providers to get access to a credit card. Propel America Chief Operating Officer Debra Kurshan didn’t want any member of the team to have to provide a personal guarantee to get access to a card.

“As a startup, to get a credit card, it’s challenging if you don’t have a credit history,” Kurshan said. “We didn’t want to have anyone put their personal credit on the line. When we looked at Brex, it seemed like an excellent option for us, and we applied.”

Propel America has plenty of marketing costs—like printing out brochures and running conferences—and wanted to put those expenses on a credit card, but didn’t have one. The alternative was to have staff cover the expenses and get reimbursed or use a less-secure debit card. Even with a healthy cash balance and predictable expenses, Propel America faced an uphill battle to get a card.

Solution

Using modern underwriting technology, Brex was able to provide Propel America with a corporate credit card without a personal guarantee.

Brex bases its credit limits on a company’s cash balance, rather than a credit score, enabling many nonprofits like Propel America to move their expenses onto a corporate card. Brex’s advanced expense management tools and integrations with software like QuickBooksandExpensify help Propel America seamlessly monitor and report their spending.

“We had a lot of money in the bank, but that wasn’t going to help us get a traditional card.”
Outcome

Kurshan no longer has to worry about one of Propel America’s founders carrying a personal guarantee for a corporate card. Now two years old, Propel America can move its marketing spend—like promotional flyers, running conferences, and teacher trainings—over to a more secure corporate card that’s easier to manage.

Brex’s admin tools and controls also make it easier for Kurshan to monitor card usage and track expenses. Propel America can provide its team with multiple cards while making it easy for Kurshan to monitor spending in one central location. Nonprofits need to be able to appropriately and correctly categorize expenses, especially as they start receiving state and federal funding.

“It’s been a seamless process, and the payment statements and reporting tools are really easy to use,” Kurshan said.

“As the admin, I’m able to manage them all centrally and see what’s happening on spending. I find the website super easy to use, and the search functions simple and effective when I’m trying to manage expenses.”

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