GroupRaise is an online reservation platform with a philanthropic hook: The company catered to large groups of 20 or more who want to hold an event at a local restaurant, which, in exchange for the large reservation agreed to give away a percentage of the check to a nonprofit chosen by the group.

From the time the company launched in early 2011 to mid-2015, it had yawn-inducing growth, recruiting just 500 restaurants in about 30 cities.

In the 18 months from July 2015 to the end of 2016, the platform achieved 900% growth, rallying to 5,000 restaurants in over 150 cities.

Their product, it turns out, was in demand.

The real problem was their initial pitch, which generically promised to connect restaurants with nearby groups, and groups with nearby restaurants but never really explained who those groups were.

GroupRaise approached large college campus organizations, directly, and offered them a specific menu of choices: The names of the nearby places and best days to host a giveback meal. For restaurants, GroupRaise mapped out all of the nearby groups the restaurants could be bringing in if they joined the platform, and let those places designate specific deals on certain days to drive business on otherwise slow nights.

Read the full article on nonprofit value propositions at FastCompany