Shot Callers: Scott Shirley, CEO and Co-Founder, Pledge It

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(Pledge It is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Since its inception, Pledge It has supported campaigns for over 500 professional athletes. Moreover, their platform features thousands of everyday competitors, from runners to workout warriors, launching campaigns centered on metrics such as miles run or reps completed. 

FOS CEO Adam White sat down with Scott Shirley of Pledge It to discuss the company’s unique approach to fundraising and how it is being embraced in the United States.

Edited highlights appear below:

On the beginnings of Pledge It (0:18)

Shirley: “The story really begins a couple of years ago whenever Devon Still was playing with the Bengals…He called me to tell me his daughter Leah had been diagnosed with cancer and I’ve long had the belief that obviously athletes have a platform, right?… They all want to do good, but oftentimes they don’t know how to take action. I have the tools and I have the direction. So I pitched the idea to Devon and run a Sack Cancer campaign where Bengals fans can pledge for every sack. We created Pledge It for him to, to do that and engage and mobilize the Bengals fans. It was a tremendous success and really just took off from there.”

SEE MORE: Pledge It Helps Brands Drive Engagement Through Cause Marketing

On how Pledge It evolved from being just a platform for athletes to something brands and athletes now can collaborate on (2:57)

Shirley: “I think New Balance is a great example of that. Again, with it being athlete driven, there’s an authenticity that comes with that. And in that case, New Balance, as a good partner, wanted to provide the tool to their athletes, to their community, to take action towards something that they were passionate about and not just Cookie [Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco] and his fight with cancer, but in the teammates and the friends that Cookie had around the league that wanted to join his fight and do it in a way that was engaging of the fans…The cool thing about it for us is that it’s core to who we are and it works so well for what they want to do as a brand. It’s just such a natural progression.

On examples of good projects for brands that work on Pledge It (6:02)

Shirley: “The dream for us is that every athlete, whether you’re a pro, high school, or youth, we’re putting the product in their hands to change the world in the way that they’re most passionate about doing so. Then with that the brands have their ambassadors and they might have an idea or there might be an urgent response call like when Klay Thompson or James Harden did the hurricane relief last year in the NBA and he did that alongside Adidas. With every assist that he had, it was to assist Houston. So really cool brand ideas and brand activations like that.”

SEE MORE: Shot Callers: Dennis Page, CEO, SLAM Media

On the company’s future (7:23)
Shirley: “I have big dreams and big visions and that’s been something that I’ve always been chasing, but I never know what it’s going to look like at any given point, but I’m excited about where we are and I’m excited about where we’re going.”

Pledge It is the leading sports crowdfunding platform empowering professional athletes, high school teams and fitness enthusiasts to earn donations for a cause based on their athletic performance.