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May 20, 2024
7 min to read

How Hope Always Foundation Found Fee-Free Fundraising with Zeffy

Amount raised
Amount Saved
Written by
Camille Duboz

Hope Always Foundation's Mission

It’s been decades since Becca Kesselman lost her battle with cancer, but her younger brother, Bobby Kesselman, still remembers her courage. To honor Becca’s legacy and spread her message of “hope always,” Bobby started the Hope Always Foundation. 

The Foundation gifts personalized tablets to kids facing long hospital stays, so that they can keep learning about the things they love.

But after donation fees on PayPal cut into the number of tablets the Hope Always Foundation was able to purchase, Bobby knew they had to find another way to fund the project. (The fees Hope Always Foundation saved were calculated with a 5% average fee—platform and credit card transaction fees combined.)

Kesselman was inspired by his sister’s insistence on hope throughout her 11-month battle with cancer, and he wants to cultivate that attitude in kids across the United States today. It’s hard to have hope when you feel cut off from the things you love. But with today’s technology, children don’t have to stop pursuing their passions just because they’re stuck in the hospital.   

Kesselman talks to the guardians of each child his team sponsors, learning about their interests and talents.

Do they like to draw? To study dinosaurs? To draw dinosaurs? Based on that conversation, Kesselman and his colleague Erin Feldman customize a tablet. They add age-appropriate apps and protections so kids can stay connected to the things they love, even from a hospital bed. Then they ensure the tablet is delivered within just a few days of each child’s admittance to the hospital.

"I can't change what happened to Becca, but I can put love, knowledge and hope into a child's hands who otherwise may not have it. Always."
Bobby Kesselman

The Hope Always Foundation is a small team that doesn’t have time or money to waste. Each “Warrior Bundle” comes with a tablet, wireless headphones and a customized backpack, costing the Hope Always Foundation $350 total.

Initially, Kesselman and Feldman collected donations through PayPal simply because their website host, GoDaddy, suggested they use it. But the high fees and mandatory minimum number of donations made it hard to acquire tablets efficiently. 

saved with Zeffy
2 sets of tablets

Challenges before switching to Zeffy

Although they raised $3500 through PayPal, the Hope Always Foundation only received $2800 of that money. That’s $700 lost to fees, or two sets of tablets that would have entertained and educated two kids suffering long term illnesses. When he started the foundation, Kesselman assumed there would be some cost to raising money. But only being able to purchase eight Warrior Bundles when he’d raised enough money to buy 10? That felt unreasonable. Kesselman couldn’t stop thinking about those two kids who had to start their hospital stays without the support he should have been able to offer.

On top of that, PayPal only releases donations in sets of 10 – meaning the small nonprofit couldn’t get to donations they’d already collected when they were just getting going. When Feldman tried to talk to someone at PayPal about their issues, she found it difficult to get substantial help. 

The 100% free solution

The Hope Always Foundation raised thousands to help kids in long-term hospital stays, but PayPal’s fees cut deep into their budget. Then they found Zeffy.

When PayPal charged this small nonprofit $700 in fees, founder Bobby Kesselman knew they needed a different donation platform.

Feldman knew there had to be a better process. She started asking around, but the banks weren’t able to accommodate online fundraising needs. Finally, someone at CitiBank pointed Feldman toward Zeffy. The Hope Always team was floored that a CitiBank employee would suggest using an outside service.

“If somebody from the bank is recommending a service outside of the bank that they have NO INTEREST in, the level of trust is UP TO THE ROOF.”
Bobby Kesselman

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On the strength of that recommendation, Feldman and Kesselman decided to give Zeffy a try. It couldn’t be any worse than sacrificing the equivalent of one warrior bundle per month to fees, could it?

Getting rid of fees was huge for The Hope Always Foundation, but Kesselman was delighted to find Zeffy had other perks. Not only did their new account come with everything they’d need to run an online fundraiser, Kesselman and Feldman were immediately connected to Zeffy’s fantastic customer support.

"What we received was 100 times better than what was expected."
Bobby Kesselman

Today, Hope Always is in the middle of a huge fundraising drive with Zeffy. They’re collecting $50,000 to purchase up to 150 warrior bundles. And now that they’re raising through Zeffy, every single cent is available to the Hope Always Foundation as soon as it’s donated. Kesselman can bring Becca’s legacy straight to children in long-term healthcare, without losing an entire tablet to fees every month. 

"I honestly shout about Zeffy from the rooftops to other nonprofits, because they’re literally losing money going anywhere else. I can’t express the pleasure it’s been to work with a financial platform that doesn’t view you as an 'account'."
Bobby Kesselman

If you want to inspire a child with a serious illness, you can support the Hope Always Foundation’s pilot program by donating today.

How Hope Always Foundation Found Fee-Free Fundraising with Zeffy

Case study

Discover how Hope Always Foundation saved on PayPal fees by switching to Zeffy, enabling more funds to help kids in long-term hospital stays.




saved on fees

Camille Duboz


May 20, 2024



min read

I honestly shout about Zeffy from the rooftops. I can’t express the pleasure it’s been to work with a financial platform that doesn’t view you as an “account.”

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