April 6, 2019

Can I make a business out of this?



For about a year, I've been working on a side project: https://www.trail.care/
It's a service that makes it easy for trail users to donate to the organizations that maintain the trails they use.

Despite basically 0 marketing, the service as attracted 375 users that in total have donated $2715. Not bad for charity I think.

My question is, since it seems like this idea could get traction, would it be possible to turn it into a business? The premise of the product is that 100% of your donation goes to charity (minus stripe fees) so I can't just skim off the top.

I've thought about possible seeking sponsors. Maybe placing their ad in the email that the service sends out to users. Beyond that, I'm not sure.

Anyone have any ideas? Feedback?

Also, stoked to have joined what looks like a cool community 👋



  1. 3

    Hey that looks pretty cool. And the money results for the number of users seems really good too!

    Ideas off the top of my head:

    • sponsors for the emails
    • patreon type support
    • an annual optional/pro fee that provides extra stuff
    • is there a way to connect people? Do trails together?
    1. 2

      I like Rosie's idea of a community aspect. Is there a solid social network for trail riders? Something like Untappd (for beer drinkers) for trail riders. A way to share, message, etc and give back. Might be a ton more work though... Untappd's early monetization was sponsored badges so it wasn't obnoxious adverts...

      1. 1

        There is, yes. It's called Strava, and it's actually the service that powers Trail Care (users sign in to Trail Care with their Strava account).
        I've asked Strava if they'd be interesting in offering something similar to Trail Care themselves and they said while it's a great idea they don't have any plans currently.

        1. 1

          Interesting... do you think that there's a smaller niche in there for the "indie trailriders" or the like? Who knows? I love your idea and you've got traction so best of luck!

    2. 1

      Hi Rosie,
      Thanks for the positive feedback!

      • Sponsors in emails seems like an obvious direction, but with a small number of users I'm not sure who would be willing to make a deal with me. But it might be worth pursuing.

      • Since I already have user's payment info, I guess I could put a donation form up. Couldn't hurt, thanks!

      • The service doesn't really provide any features to begin with.

      • I haven't thought about the social aspect, good point. I can give this a think and see what comes up...


  2. 1

    Could you build a separate commercial product for this audience, and use the emails users get/the website to promote this?

  3. 1

    What comes to mind for me would be to help the government agencies that maintain trails and public spaces to more easily accept donations. I don't know their model, but I am sure they could be interested in a SaaS type way to collect donations. Would probably really increase the amount they get. And they could pay some base monthly/yearly subscription.

  4. 1

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