You probably already know Trooper from our many posts on Facebook, but do you also know the face behind this great platform? Oye LENA had the chance to meet Elisabet Lamote this week. We interviewed her via Skype (yes, that’s how it goes these days!) and asked her several questions about herself and the start of Trooper. Wondering how that went? Then read on!
Besides being a co-founder of Trooper, Elisabet is also the mother of two beautiful children. Together with her husband Klaas, who is the creator of the platform, she lives in Grimbergen. The couple works together with Jan Dejonghe, creative director at BBDO, and functions as the golden team behind Trooper. “My husband Klaas is the salesman with the big ideas, I am more the doer and take care of the practical side of the story, and Jan gets this into a beautiful story. The three of us are very complementary and this ensures that we keep pushing each other forward”, says Elisabet.
With Trooper they support associations such as youth movements, sports clubs but also charities such as Oye LENA. Because they believe that it is important for a society that people feel connected to each other, they offer those organizations the opportunity to earn a penny without having to do anything for it. “We also believe that these associations and organizations need financial means to realize all their dreams. This is how we came up with the idea of creating an income stream through sponsorship with major brands and affiliate marketing to give associations a boost”.
The start of Trooper
“When a few years ago the building of the chiro boys of Humbeek burned down, we saw the whole village looking for creative ways to raise money for reconstruction. From torchlight tours to food festivities, you name it. It was at this point that Klaas came up with the idea to start up a sponsorship system”. Their first partner was Bol.com and it soon became clear that this could bring in a lot of money in the short term. As a reaction to the success, they decided to expand and put other associations and shops on their platform as well. One thing led to another… in the meantime, more than 6000 associations are working at Trooper today!
“Although Trooper today has a very large reach, the way to get there has not always been easy,” says Elisabet. “After my job at Dauwe Egberts, I felt like I wanted to do something completely different and started teaching at college. At that time, I had more flexibility and I could still combine my work as a teacher with Trooper. Still, this meant that I often had to work very long days. We also put a lot of savings into creating a website but soon, we discovered that you still need more resources than it seems. It was especially during this period that I occasionally thought ‘damn, what have we gotten us into…’.
Not much later, they met Hans Bourlon who believes very hard in the voluntary sector and the story of Trooper. It didn’t take long before he put his back into the concept. This was the opportunity for the Trooper team to grow. Their partnership with KBC, which started in 2019, also allows them to expand even further.
That Elisabet is an enormously powerful woman with a passion for what she does, soon became clear to us during the conversation. Now that she has been working fulltime for Trooper for four years, she feels the difference that her work makes at the clubs. “I’ve always said I wanted to do something good at work somehow. I want to work hard and I want to make a difference. And with Trooper, you have the perfect mix between the two.”
“It’s a path of trial and error. If something fails, get up and move on to the next one”. According to Elisabet, what she likes so much about her job is that you go home every day with a sense of satisfaction. When she crossed the one million euro mark a while ago, she realized twice as much how significant the work is that Trooper does. “When you hear those different stories from those associations, you feel that it’s enormously valuable. Sometimes, we talk about such small sums of money that can make a world of difference.”
The arrival of COVID-19 certainly influenced Trooper and its associations. Now that the various organizations can no longer come together, they are losing an enormous amount of income here. Unfortunately, organizing dinner parties or school parties is not yet possible. Also the booking of trips through Trooper is not often done anymore, while this often brings in large amounts of money for the associations.
On the other hand, it is also an opportunity for Trooper. Many more people are starting to buy online and are becoming more and more used to it. In this way, it will be compensated and the corona crisis will have a positive impact on Trooper in the long run.
“Today we are connected to about 6500 associations but in Flanders, there are more than 90,000. Our goal is to be able to make a difference on the annual budget of almost all Flemish and Belgian associations, making it easier for them to realize more dreams,” says Elisabet.
For Oye LENA, Trooper has also been able to mean a lot already. At the moment, our counter stands at more than 1200 euro and all of that thanks to those who make their purchases through Trooper! So with just one click extra, you can give your favorite club a financial boost without having to pay anything extra yourself. What are we waiting for?! Follow the link to our Trooper page or scan the QR-code and start shopping!
Curious about which online shops are connected to Trooper?
Here you’ll find a sneak peek!