The crowd funding site Kickstarter has provided millions of dollars in angel funding for passion projects and independent business plans and it seems the nonprofit world is starting to take notice.
Prizeo.com, a charity-fundraising digital platform, announced its launch on Thursday with a roster of celebrities who will run campaigns on the site this summer. Among them: Muhammad Ali, Alicia Keys, Michael Phelps, Kristen Bell and Khloe Kardashian.
The organization democratizes fundraising through its unique micro-donation model, which lets fans buy chances to win exclusive experiences and rewards. The Y Combinator-backed startup is the preferred digital platform for William Morris Endeavor client charitable initiatives, in addition to collaborating with Lady Gaga’s management agency, Atom Factory, according to a release.
Among the prizes offered: entry in a grand prize of a trip for two to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; an exclusive campaign t-shirt ($40 or more); an autographed photo of Keys ($100); an autographed Keys songbook ($200); and a handwritten card from Keys herself.
Already on board: celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who raised $184,000 on behalf of his food-education foundations, and Samuel L. Jackson, whose recent Reddit contest drove record traffic to Prizeo along with donations to his chosen charity, Alzheimer’s Association, which surpassed $160,000. Said Jackson: “I’m in this to make a real difference … and Prizeo's micro-donation model makes it possible for almost anyone to participate."
Muhammad Ali’s campaign benefits the Muhammad Ali Center; Phelps the Michael Phelps Foundation; Bell is representing Invisible Children; and Khloe Kardashian the World Wildlife Fund.
Prizeo was founded in 2012 by Bryan Baum, Leo Seigal and Andrej Pancik and its key investors include Edgar Bronfman Jr., former CEO of Warner Music Group, Ajaz Ahmed, founder and chairman AKQA, and advisor Michael Lynch, the former head of global sponsorship at Visa.
Although less than a year old, it's hardly the only organization looking at a crowd-sourcing model for philanthropic efforts. This week also brought the announcement of Feedthearts.com, which has introduced a "time funding" model offering virtual rewards to those willing to donate time instead of money. That "virtual currency" helps artists of all kinds -- music, visual and literary among them -- reach their creative goals.