Crowdrise: Fundraising Finally Done Right

By Jenna Lebel World, meet Crowdrise. Presented at the Mashable Media Summit last week by Edward Norton, Crowdrise is a social good community centered on volunteering, raising money for charity and having fun while doing it. Crowdrise provides individuals and organizations all the tools needed to promote, organize and raise funds for their causes.

The basic formula for starting your charitable life on Crowdrise is to create, share, raise and impact.

  • Create a Profile: Setting up a profile on Crowdrise is the equivalent of creating a profile on Facebook. Your profile gives more info about you and the causes you care most about. You can upload photos of you and your work, add your projects, write an about me and a paragraph explaining why people should vote for you. You can also tweet directly from your profile, easily invite/find friends and see a live feed of who has donated to your causes.
  • Make Friends: Like other social networks, Crowdrise allows you to make new friends and connect with old ones. You can also connect with charities and causes that you support or may be interested in one day supporting. Stay up-to-date on your favorite charities and stay in touch with them by commenting on their profile page (think Facebook wall).
  • Start Projects: Running a marathon? Volunteering abroad? Have a cause that you are passionate about? Start a Fundraising Page on Crowdrise and raise money for your cause in just minutes. In fact Crowdrise promises, “If it takes more than a minute to create your Page, you’re probably just a really slow typist.”
  • Get Supporters and Sponsors: Showcase all of your volunteer projects on your profile and show the world that you’re making a difference. Once you post your projects, get everyone you know to support and/or sponsor you (just like someone would sponsor you if you were running a road race!). With features allowing you to easily share your page on Facebook, Twitter and via email, notifying your friends of your project is the easy part!
  • Give: Don’t have a charity or cause that you’re currently working on? No problem, Crowdrise provides users with several opportunities to give back. You can give to a project as a whole, support an individual volunteer or join a project team as a volunteer or fundraiser.  You can also search for your favorite charity and donate directly to it.

If it sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Other social good websites like Change.org have existed for a while with similar functionality. But Crowdrise is different and in my opinion, better. Crowdrise differentiates itself from other fundraising and social good websites in a number of ways. Some unique features include:

  • Points , Votes and Prizes: Crowdrise is the first of its kind to incentivize users to participate and give. Operating on a point system, users get points for donating, raising money, answering trivia questions and for interacting with Crowdrise on Facebook and Twitter. You also earn points for every vote you receive. The Crowdrise community is encouraged to vote for their favorite charitable friends. Every vote garners 500 points. The purpose of the points and votes is to identify the best volunteers and fundraisers! Top point and vote earners not only receive recognition and a spot on the website’s homepage, but they also receive amazing prizes!
  • Promotions: Crowdrise calls the Promotions section of their website “probably the most awesome page.” To add a little passion and create a sense of urgency, Crowdrise offers several prizes to get people to donate. For example, one current promotion asks users to donate $29 before September 30th for a chance to win an iPad. As a result, Crowdrise is essentially creating a new concept: impulse giving!
  • Celebrities: Several celebrities are heavily involved in promoting Crowdrise (i.e. Edward Norton) and many have created profiles tied to their charities and causes. The A-list crowd includes: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell, Russell Brand and Paul Rudd. The celebrities help add to the fun on Crowdrise. For example, Will Ferrell promotes his cause Scholarships for Cancer Survivors with a little catch. If you donate just $17 dollars to the cause Will Ferrell will send you a bottle of his “sexy sunscreen just in time for summer.”
  • Language and Humor: What instantly draws people (or at least what drew me) to Crowdrise is the use of fun, witty language and humor. When arriving at the Crowdrise website you’ll immediately notice their tagline, “If you don’t give back no one will like you.” The how it works section is introduced with a preface stating, “Please only read all this if you’re super bored or you’re writing a paper on ways to give back and you’re looking for something to plagiarize…” They take a very serious subject matter and make it a little less serious, sometimes even silly.

Earlier this week, I created a profile on Crowdrise.  The Crowdrise community quickly welcomed me with tweets and emails filled with sarcastic humor, witty quips, and even a movie trivia question that earned me 500 points!  While I don't currently have a project or charity, I'm using Crowdrise to explore, scan projects/charities and donate, but it's still been such an experience.  I've earned points, got votes, made friends, won things, and even gained a little fame ALL IN A WEEK! Crowdrise had definitely created a unique community complete with the fun of a social network and the functionality of a charitable organization. After my very eventful week I can say that Crowdrise is fundraising done right (actually, I knew after the first day!). What are your thoughts?  Will Crowdrise survive and become a leading fundraising website?