A celebrity endorsement can have huge financial benefits for a non-profit — but most Causes find it hard to turn that potential into significant financial leverage. In the past, celebrities too have found it frustrating that the tools weren’t available to help them spread the message and get their fans more involved. That’s the challenge actor Edward Norton faced when trying to raise money to help fund projects he was working on in Africa. Instead of complaining about it, he developed a solution: a new fundraising tool Crowdrise.
While there are other tools (Firstgiving, Kickstarter, Facebook Causes, DonorsChoose, ChipIn and StayClassy) that allow individuals to coordinate donations for specific projects, Crowdrise is different. First, it encourages you to form teams with others raising money for the same cause. You can join with your favorite celebrity to raise money for a national cancer non-profit, or you can join with your neighbor down the street to support a local animal shelter. Teams raising the most money are highlighted on a leaderboard, which encourages competition and more fund raising. Additionally, friends and family who might not be able to make a financial donation can pledge to volunteer for the organization, which also earns a team points. The Crowdrise team also recognizes the power of fun, using self deprecating humor throughout the site to build rapport with visitors.
A competitive, game playing backend builds on the popularity of Foursquare and other social games. Leaderboards are posted on individual events and also on Crowdrise’s home page. Participants are encouraged to become the “hero” of the Cause they are raising money for and to push their favorite celebrity’s cause to the top.
Crowdrise has only been live for a couple of months but has already had several successes.
- Crowdrise members running the NYC Marathon have raised over $5 million as of early October. Their goal is to have $26 million raised by race day on November 7, 2010.
- Several celebrities have joined the site to coordinate fundraising for their favorite cause – actress Sophia Bush is raising funds for the Run for the Gulf and Global Green USA, Mary McCormack is helping build a hospice for the Closer to Home Capital Campaign, and Jonah Hill is encouraging his fans to donate $10 each to buy nets to combat malaria in the developing world.
Anyone can join the site and start a fundraising campaign or join a campaign that has already been created. For large athletic events, you can join with the crowd.
“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”… so go checkout Crowdrise.
Photo credit: Thanks to jurvetson via Flickr