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The best source for news and information about crowdfunding for good.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

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Worries About Fraud Top List Of Crowdfunding Concerns

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

In an informal survey of 192 people, only 20% agreed with the statement, “The ‘crowd’ does an effective job of preventing fraud and abuse on crowdfunding sites.” More, 23.9%, disagreed with the statement while a majority, 56.1% were neutral.

The responses were among those received to an unscientific survey I conducted for the purposes of this article in hopes of helping entrepreneurs and others better understand the thinking of the general public, or in the other words, the crowd.

The first question of the survey was to ask respondents, “What is the first word that comes to mind when you see or hear the word crowdfunding?” Kickstarter (including slight variations) was the most common word (17). Money was the second most common response (16). Fundraising was third. No other word came up ten or more times. The following word cloud includes all the responses.

The first word you think of when you hear the word crowdfunding.

Responses to the question, “How do you feel about crowdfunding?” were all over the map. Many responses were strongly positive, highlighting the benefits to entrepreneurs and investors or backers. Some interesting negative responses that can help crowdfunders understand their audience included:

“Mixed. Some seem worthy causes; others are lame and too self-serving.”

“I have good and bad feelings on crowdfunding. I’m afraid of it being too much like pan-handling on the corner, but I see how it can benefit those in need.”

“Indifferent – more likely to give to crowdfunding for someone in need than for a business.”

“I feel inundated with crowdfunding campaigns. Maybe every now and then one will cross my path that I feel is worthwhile, but I could easily miss it due to my initial instinct to ignore them.”

“Like the idea of many being able to support a good cause. Concerned about being scammed by a fraudulent request.”

“I think it’s deceiving.”

“Don’t know yet.”

“A great idea, but requires big social and profession networks. A bit discouraged.”

“OK, but exposes me to more opportunities than I have capacity to fulfill.”

“50/50. It is a good way for people to have needs met that they don’t have the ability to meet – scammers.”

“Skeptical.” (This came up several times.)

“I think it has gotten too pervasive. I have seen people crowdfunding for personal expenditures rather than for investment in a business/idea.”

“Great way to get support. But there is so much of it, it can become annoying.”

“Meh. Unsure if it works.”

“Love the idea, execution is daunting.”

“It seems gratuitous when people ask for money for themselves.”

“I would like to understand it better.”

“Good, but we need insurance for most things and can’t rely on crowdfunding for disasters.”

“It is hard to know that funds will be used the way they are intended. No follow up.”

“I like it, but feel it has already become slick, difficult.”

“I’m interested but not sure how to begin.”

“Intimidated.”

“Crowdfunding works well for issues or products that have gone viral or that already have a large following, but typically isn’t the best option.”

“Envious.”

“Concerned about the quality of opportunities.”

“Only good for companies that sell physical products, not services.”

“To be frank, like an obligation. I have had to contribute to so many friends’ crowdfunding projects that don’t amount to anything.”

“Not interested.”

“Meh.”

“Mixed feelings. I’ve seen a lot of campaigns recently that seem like people trying to escape their irresponsible choices.”

“Mixed. As a donor, giving days like Love Utah Give Utah feel frenzied to me, and too resource intensive vs. the rewards for most nonprofits I know. By contrast, I’ve supported crowdfunding campaigns joyfully when I feel like I’m funding artists, innovators, & grassroots activists & scholarships, where my early donation can jumpstart them toward their filmmaking, invention, conference or professional development, which typically are underfunded.”

“Lots of good but also abused and big opportunity for fraud.”

“Not really sure what it really is.”

“Bad.”

The survey asked respondents to indicate whether they agree, are neutral or disagree with each of ten statements. The statements and the responses are summarized in the following table.

Statement Agree %Neutral %Disagree %Average Score*
Crowdfunding is a legitimate way for entrepreneurs and other creatives to finance their work.84.413.03.21.18
Crowdfunding is a legitimate way for people in need to get help, especially when they lack insurance.61.728.610.41.44
Crowdfunding is a legitimate way for nonprofits to acquire new donors and raise more money.85.111.73.91.18
Crowdfunding is fun for the person raising money.24.756.519.51.95
Crowdfunding is fun for the backer or donor.39.648.712.31.75
Crowdfunding is hard work.69.522.1 9.11.36
Crowdfunding usually works.14.958.427.32.16
People raising money via crowdfunding sites really need the money.23.465.611.71.90
People raising money via crowdfunding sites are usually honest people.27.960.4 12.31.82
The "crowd" does an effective job of preventing fraud and abuse on crowdfunding sites.20.156.524.0 1.98

*The average score is a simple average of the agree, neutral and disagree responses assigning the values 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Note that acceptance of personal or peer-to-peer crowdfunding statistically lags acceptance of entrepreneurial and nonprofit crowdfunding. Survey results also indicate that only 24.7% of people think crowdfunding is fun, at least for the one raising money. That is consistent with the proportion, 69.5% who says crowdfunding is hard work.

Skepticism is evident in the data. Only 23.4% of respondents said people raising money really need the money. Only 27.9% said crowdfunders are “usually honest people.” As noted above, only 20.1% think the crowd is effectively preventing fraud.

Given only a blank (not a choice from a list), the survey also asked respondents to name the crowdfunding site they most trust. Up to that point in the survey, no question had included the name of a crowdfunding site and no prompts were offered. Still, 53 people identified Kickstarter. Similarly, 41 people identified GoFundMe as the site they most trusted. Four people named both Kickstarter and GoFundMe despite the invitation to choose one.

The survey asked which sites they had used to back a project, invest or donate and provided the following list in this order: GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Crowdrise, Razoo, Fundly, Classy, Fundrazr, CaringCrowd, StartSomeGood, WeFunder, Crowdfunder, None or other. The top three responses were GoFundMe (142), Kickstarter (121) and Indiegogo (64). No other sites came close. The next most common response was none.

The survey also asked which sites the respondent had used to raise money. Respondents were presented with the same list. The top response by far was none (112). The top four sites were GoFundMe (21), Indiegogo (15), Kickstarter (13) and Razoo (10).

Finally, the survey asked, “What else would you like to say about crowdfunding?” Many people expressed enthusiasm for crowdfunding. Some of the responses will help crowdfunders respond to doubts and concerns in their campaigns. Here is a sampling:

I find it confusing that charities use crowd funding for good causes, but entrepreneurs use crowd funding for profit and individuals seem to be to set up crowdfunding without checks for all sorts of things.”

“I am puzzled why I think of it as innovative when startups and companies use it but uneasy when people, even friends, use it to try to cover their excessive medical expenses.”

“It needs to definitely be a self-regulated industry or scams and lack of disclosure will run rampant.”

“I often feel like it’s the modern equivalent of Tupperware parties or multi-level marketing. A lot of pressure to donate, especially for medical expense fundraisers, even if I barely know the person.”

“[I] think it can be a good idea, but it also has potential for abuse.”

“I’m worried it’s becoming the nation’s largest insurance provider.”

“There is a lot of distraction and noise with no great way to sort the good from the awful, it is a lot like ebooks.”

“How much revenue does the crowdfunding site earn on average when raising funds for things like disaster relief, fighting hunger, or other humanitarian projects?”

“My answer for accident finding may seem callous but I want to see the underlying problem and issue solved through single payer. I feel if I give that the issue will not be as strongly felt.”

“I feel jaded due to recent experiences seeing people trying to crowdfund trips, vacations, bills they forgot about, etc. I feel like those campaigns have pushed crowdfunding into the realm of avoiding consequences, which I’m not a fan of.”

“Transparency for the donor! If I have to tell another person that 100% of their donation is NOT going to the cause (basically telling them Santa isn’t real) I’m going to scream!”

“You are at risk that the funds you donate will be misused regardless of the website/platform used. Crowdfund donations should be considered a gift that hopefully the entrepreneurs will use appropriately.”

“There needs to be easier ways to receive equity”

“It seems to be very popular but often lacks the level of scrutiny / details that I would prefer to see before investing in a product/project/company.”

“It frustrates me that people feel that others should fund their ideas. Many don’t seem to want to put in the work or use their own resources.”

“I tend to back projects of entrepreneurs rather than donate to charitable causes; with an actual business project, you can see and learn more about the idea and the progress so far and there is less opportunity for fraud. I only donate to causes through a crowdfunding site when I know the people involved personally.”

“I’d like to run a crowdfunding campaign. I’m finding though that it seems very difficult to come up with the funds to run a successful campaign in the first place.”

“I think it is getting saturated. Everyone does it. It’s lost its appeal.”

“Most small grassroots Nonprofits I have donated to on Giving days have never followed up with me after that auto-thank you to keep me informed/engaged in their work. Also, I tune out of social media on that day, because my social media is flooded with leader board tallies and hype. I’ve often wondered if giving days cannibalize or divert the donors’ regular giving, to play the leader-board games. After 3 years of LUGU, I sat out this year. Razoo was too cumbersome to make multiple donations in one sitting, and if I made donations in honor of someone I couldn’t have the NP thanks and emails go to them.”

“The rates some crowdfunding sites charge are outrageous.”

“When crowdfunding, entrepreneurs need to follow through on the promises they make to donors no matter how small their contributions might be.”

“There should be some cert of authenticity or verifiable integrity around these sites. Some campaigns are sheer fraud and hard to discern.”

“I have mixed feeling on these. I know people need help but some of the things I see are pretty crazy. I sometimes want to tell people to go fund themselves. LOL. ”

“I would like to learn more but right now I’m cautious about engaging.”

While crowdfunders may be tempted to dismiss most if not all these concerns, addressing them satisfactorily could have a significant positive impact on crowdfunding results.

Hundreds of nonprofits learned to successfully use online fundraising to reach–or surpass–their goals with my crowdfunding training. Get my free guide to attracting media attention.


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Classy Introduces Classy PassportTM: The First Cross-Currency Fundraising Solution for Nonprofits

Starting today, U.S.-based nonprofits can instantly take their fundraising efforts global with Classy Passport.

Press Release – SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017 // On the heels of a record-setting #GivingTuesday, Classy, creator of world-class online fundraising solutions, is launching Classy Passport—the only international fundraising solution that offers “cross-currency” capability—allowing for multi-currency donations, multi-currency peer-to-peer fundraising, and international currency processing, all under one platform.

Classy Passport enables nonprofit organizations to instantly take their fundraising global, while providing worldwide supporters with a seamless giving experience for the causes they care about.

“The problems our nonprofit partners are solving are global in nature, so it’s no surprise that individuals around the world are looking to rally around these important causes,” said Scot Chisholm, Classy CEO and Co-Founder. “Nonprofits have been using disparate systems to manage their international fundraising efforts, hindering them from fully tapping into the potential of their global supporters. With Classy Passport, we’re excited to help them transcend those borders and engage supporters to raise funds seamlessly around the world.”

Classy Passport was created in collaboration with Room to Read, an organization focused on improving literacy and gender equality in education across 14 countries. Unable to identify a product on the market that could meet their international online fundraising needs, Room to Read saw a unique opportunity to work closely with Classy on creating the ideal solution.

“With Classy Passport, Room to Read now has the dynamic ability to harness our global investor base and provide a seamless and integrated experience all on one platform,” said Dr. Geetha Murali, Chief Development and Communications Officer, Room to Read. “We can now create a global fundraising campaign that accepts gifts in all of our major fundraising currencies, with the additional benefit of providing donation receipts in the currency the gift was made in.”

Classy Passport is designed to help any nonprofit go global, whether or not they have an existing international supporter base. For organizations like Room to Read that are already receiving international donations and/or operating in other countries, Classy Passport can streamline operations and overhead costs, consolidating their international giving efforts into a single platform, while allowing for international receipting and global brand consistency.

Conversely, organizations that have not yet tapped into an international supporter base can use Classy Passport to grow their movement globally—without the costs or risks often associated with global expansion.

Classy Passport also improves the global giving experience for supporters worldwide who are responding to global issues. By leveraging donors’ browser language settings to automatically convert the donate button into their native currency, as well as display their native currency and address fields during checkout, Classy Passport offers donors a more familiar giving experience.

International supporters are also able to create individual and team fundraising pages in over 130 currencies to encourage donations from their friends, families, and colleagues anywhere in the world, truly tapping into the global-scale networks people are fostering in today’s social and digital-first landscape.

“For example, a Room to Read supporter can commit to raising funds from Australia; set up a fundraising page to ask family and friends in London, San Diego, and France to make a donation; and each individual donor will be able to automatically interact with the page in their native currency, then receive a tax donation receipt in pounds, dollars, and euros, respectively,” Murali noted. “There’s no other platform for nonprofits that offers this in one place and under a single campaign.”

As part of the launch, Classy is waiving Classy Passport’s associated transaction fees until January 31, 2018, to empower clients to explore international growth opportunities and reach a broader network of supporters during the crucial year-end giving season.

To learn more about Classy Passport, visit https://www.classy.org/passport-international-fundraising.


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Evite Invites Party Planners, Hosts and Guests to Give Back This Holiday Season

“Make More Merry” campaign launches Nov 28 on #GivingTuesday, making it easy for hosts and guests to make charitable giving part of their holiday party plans.

Press Release – LOS ANGELES (November 20, 2017) – On #GivingTuesday, November 28, Evite, the leading digital service for bringing people together, is launching its “Make More Merry” campaign to inspire people to make charitable giving part of their holiday party plans.

Evite Donations, powered by Pledgeling, enables event planners and user hosts to offer guests charitable donations as part of their event options. This service is free, and unlike many online donation-processing services, Evite does not take a fee.

To view Evite’s Make More Merry page, visit http://bit.ly/MakeMoreMerry

During the campaign, Evite will highlight six non-profits over a period of six weeks to inspire event hosts to pledge their events to causes.

The featured non-profits are:

  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • Feeding America
  • Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
  • Pratham USA
  • Water.org

On Evite’s Make More Merry page, users can see the impact of contributions made to-date, and learn how to use the Evite Donations™ feature. Evite has also included suggested donation amounts based on the impact those donations will have.

“Especially during this time of year, people want to give back,” said Victor Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Evite. “Evite Donations makes it easier than ever to spread generosity and joy in the world. With Evite’s new text feature, hosts can even text invitations and their guests can donate right from their phones. Even the smallest donations can make an impact.”

Evite expects to hit the $5 million mark in total dollars raised for charity through Evite Donations by the end of 2017.

About Evite

Evite is the world’s leading digital platform for bringing people together. With free, easy-to-use invitation designs, inspirational video content, and a private sharing feed for photos and conversations, Evite makes coming together face-to-face effortless and more memorable for its 100+ million annual users. The company currently handles hundreds of millions of RSVPs every year. One in four people in the United States receives at least one Evite invitation each year, and the company has sent over 2 billion event invitations in its history. Launched in 1998, Evite is headquartered in Los Angeles and is a subsidiary of Liberty Interactive Corporation, attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group (NASDAQ: LVNTA, LVNTB).

About Pledgeling

Pledgeling (www.pledgeling.com) is the world’s first platform to power purpose and impact for brands. To date, Pledgeling has powered more than $7M in donations for thousands of nonprofit organizations and causes around the world. Pledgeling’s mobile-first, end-to-end platform allows businesses of all sizes to easily discover & align with a cause, engage their audiences, and make a meaningful impact in the world. Notable partnerships include Evite, Discovery and Tinder. Pledgeling is headquartered in Venice, California.


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Indiegogo Partners with Ingram Micro Commerce

Shipping & Logistics Provider Offers Indiegogo Entrepreneurs New Services to Quickly and More Reliably Deliver their Campaign Perks to Backers

Press Release – SAN FRANCISCO, November 15, 2017Indiegogo, the platform for entrepreneurs to launch innovative and groundbreaking products, and Ingram Micro Commerce, a strategic business unit of Ingram Micro, the world’s largest wholesale technology distributor, today announced a new partnership to help entrepreneurs on Indiegogo deliver their products to backers quickly and reliably.

Through the partnership program, which will be fully integrated on Indiegogo’s platform, campaign owners can take advantage of special bulk shipping discounts, world-class supply chain capabilities, kitting and packaging and a first of its kind service that allows all Indiegogo products manufactured in China to be aggregated in a centralized warehouse, pre-kitted, then batched together for overseas freight shipping, offering entrepreneurs significant savings over retail pricing.

Ingram Micro Commerce will offer preferred pricing discounts on order fulfillment, shipping services, packaging and warehousing solutions, as well as a suite of commerce enablement and growth services for qualified entrepreneurs on Indiegogo. Access to Ingram Micro’s expansive global network of warehouses and distribution centers will support Indiegogo entrepreneurs in shipping products to their backers around the world.

Throughout the fulfillment process, Ingram Micro’s Shipwire Platform, the company’s cloud-based order management technology, allows campaigners to connect to warehouses, integrate with online sales channels via robust APIs, review order and inventory data in real-time and more.

“This new partnership is another step toward Indiegogo empowering entrepreneurs to fulfill and deliver their products to backers with ease, whether they’ve just launched their first product or are scaling their business,” said David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo.

“Backers of the innovative products from the entrepreneurs in this program will now be able to receive their items more quickly and more reliably thanks to the myriad of resources offered to entrepreneurs from Ingram Micro.”

“As a company that values innovation, it is a priority for us to invest in entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses. We are delighted to partner with Indiegogo and support their innovative approach to successfully shipping new and exciting products around the world,” said Ken Beyer, executive vice president at Ingram Micro. “We look forward to making enterprise-class shipping and logistics more accessible to these fast growing brands.”

In addition to enabling faster shipping and valuable discounts to Indiegogo campaigners, the partnership with Ingram Micro also provides qualified entrepreneurs with consultation opportunities to help them scale their businesses, from fulfillment through distribution.

This new partnership is a continuation of Indiegogo’s efforts to support product entrepreneurs throughout the lifecycle of their projects. As a one-stop destination for startups bringing their projects from concept to market, Indiegogo works with entrepreneurs beyond the crowdfunding stage of their businesses. With offerings like a new marketplace, a storefront for business owners to sell products that are shipping now, and exclusive collaborations with Arrow Electronics, IBM, and Brookstone, Indiegogo helps entrepreneurs get their products to broad markets faster and easier than ever before.

Learn more at: https://enterprise.indiegogo.com/ingrammicro

About Indiegogo

Indiegogo is the place to discover clever and unique innovations in tech and design before they go mainstream, including hundreds of products shipping right away. Indiegogo’s crowdfunding campaigns are where new and groundbreaking ideas take flight. With thousands of campaigns launching every week, there’s ingenious tech, creative design, and much more around every corner — often with special pricing for early backers as well as equity opportunities. Indiegogo’s marketplace is loaded with clever and surprising innovations in tech, design, and more — all with guaranteed shipping – with many products sourced from successful crowdfunding campaigns. The company was launched in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit Indiegogo.com and follow us at Twitter.com/indiegogo and Facebook.com/indiegogo.

About Ingram Micro

Ingram Micro works with brands and retailers to provide on-demand and custom fulfillment solutions that meet their needs today and into the future. With 154 distribution centers across 45 countries, Ingram Micro has the stability and scale to help its customers reach new markets around the world, and its cloud-based order management platform, Shipwire, enables customers to connect with warehouses, integrate new sales channels and access real-time visibility into their orders and inventory.


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Solar Finance Pioneer CleanCapital Closes 3.7M Investment Round to Help Investors Tap Solar Market

Funding round led by leading equity crowdfunding platform, SeedInvest, will be used to accelerate technology roadmap and scale operations

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY- [Nov 14, 2017]CleanCapital, an innovative online marketplace for clean energy investing, announced today that it closed its Series A with a total investment of $3.7 million. This investment came through 50 investors to include FinTech and cleantech leaders as well as SeedInvest’s Selections Fund in this latest round.

Over the past five years, the solar market grew an average rate of 72% per year, fueled by regulatory stability and reduced install costs. CleanCapital allows investors to capitalize on that explosive growth by connecting them with investment-ready solar portfolios of projects across the United States. To date, the team has financed over $50M of solar projects and more than 20 MW in operating solar assets. CleanCapital reduces barriers for institutional investors to access projects, and allows project owners to seamlessly exit their current portfolios. The typical timeline for new entrants to source, evaluate, underwrite, and close clean energy projects can take up to a year. CleanCapital is bringing efficiency to this process by significantly reducing the timeline on transactions.

“There is a sizeable opportunity to provide investors with access to new types of alternative investments and we were impressed with CleanCapital’s solar platform,” stated Ryan Feit, SeedInvest CEO and Co-Founder. “Our Selections Fund invests alongside our broader investor base in some of the most promising companies on our platform and we were excited to back CleanCapital,” he continued.

CleanCapital competed to be featured on leading startup fundraising platform SeedInvest which historically has accepted just 1% of startup applicants. In addition to SeedInvest, cleantech leaders including Jeff Phillips, Treasurer and Co-Founder of the Corporate Climate Alliance and Barney Schauble, Managing Partner of Nephila Advisors join FinTech pioneers Ron Suber, President of Prosper Marketplace, Jon Barlow, Founder of Eaglewood Capital Management, and Bradley Pattelli, Former Chief Investment Officer of LendingClub with investments in CleanCapital.

The new investment will allow CleanCapital to accelerate its technology roadmap and scale operations, growing its team with leading industry experts. Recent hires include seasoned finance expert, Matt Eastwick as Head of Capital Markets and award winning Creative Director, Jurgen Altziebler as Head of Design.

“To accelerate clean energy growth we need to create a marketplace that provides all investors with simpler, understandable ways to invest in this asset class. We are thrilled that SeedInvest recognizes the value CleanCapital brings to the clean energy marketplace,” said Thomas Byrne, Co-founder and CEO of CleanCapital. “CleanCapital is committed to attracting more investors to the space by creating a new marketplace for clean energy, one that is driven by transparency, efficiency and accessibility.”

“As clean energy market grows as an asset class, mitigating risk will be a key component in attracting new investors,” said Barney Schauble, a Managing Partner at Nephila. “I believe CleanCapital can grow substantially by leveraging technology to address market inefficiencies and increasing the flow of capital throughout the clean energy marketplace.”

About CleanCapital:

CleanCapital is a financial technology company that makes it easy to invest in clean energy. CleanCapital allows accredited investors—including institutional investors, family offices, and investment funds—to invest in secure and diversified clean energy projects. Investors can monitor investments in real-time using our seamless online platform. We were founded in 2015 and are headquartered in New York, NY. Stay up to date on the evolving market of clean energy finance by signing up on our website, following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting via LinkedIn. Learn more at http://www.cleancapital.com.

About SeedInvest:

SeedInvest is a leading equity crowdfunding platform that provides individual investors with access to pre-vetted startup investment opportunities. SeedInvest has funded over 160 startups and boasts a rapidly growing network of over 200,000 investors. SeedInvest has had over 20,000 startups apply to raise capital since inception and has only accepted 1% of those companies to feature on the platform. For more information about SeedInvest, visit www.seedinvest.com.


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Support National Parks and A Student’s Education

Crowdfunder: Brigham Cheshire of Atlas Learning Academy  

Campaign type: We’re looking for donations to support a cause

Campaign link: https://www.gofundme.com/atlaslearningacadamy

Twitter: @ATLAS_Learning

Goal: $3,500

Progress: $165

Project: I am raising money for my independent study/ outdoor education school, and to raise awareness of overcrowding in National Parks. This project is helping me earn high school graduation credits and real life skills. The money going to my school will help supply us with the gear and means to get students outdoors and into nature.

Use of funds: I will use the money I am raising to hold a photo gallery to support my school and national parks. Most of the money will be donated directly to my school and national parks.

Anecdote: I have personally been helped by this project. It has allowed me to complete my high school in a non traditional way and has really opened up my eyes to new ways of learning as well as other students. The trips we go on as a school range from 5 day backpacking trips in Yosemite to simple snowshoe walks in the winter. Going on these trips give students more freedom and can give people new opportunities.


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RE-volv Wins Prestigious Green Power Leadership Award

Innovative program recognized for making significant advances in training America’s youth to spearhead local solar energy projects

Press Release – San Francisco, CA (November 2, 2017)RE-volv – an organization that manages crowdfunding campaigns to help nonprofits switch to solar energy – has won the 17th annual Leadership in Green Power Education Award for its innovative and effective Solar Ambassador Program. The award, given by the Center for Resource Solutions, was presented at the Renewable Energy Markets 2017 conference in New York on October 23rd.

“RE-volv has created an exciting new model of solar education and implementation, focusing on students as a catalyst to expand solar in their communities,” said CRS Executive Director Jennifer Martin. “We are pleased to be able to present them with a Green Power Leadership Award this year for their commitment to giving young people a leadership role and solid foundation in the transition to clean energy.”

RE-volv’s Solar Ambassador Program has been in action for three years and has engaged over 100 students representing 12 universities in eight states. The year-long fellowship trains college students to spearhead a solar project in their community. Students attend a leadership summit, receive training on how to manage a successful crowdfunding campaign, and engage their communities to bring clean, affordable solar energy to a local nonprofit.

“We are thrilled to receive an award shining light on our Solar Ambassador Program,“ Executive Director of RE-volv Andreas Karelas said. “Now more than ever, it is vital to engage, empower and train the next generation of clean energy leaders.”

Founded in 2011, RE-volv is the first and only U.S. nonprofit to employ a revolving fund to finance solar energy installations for community-serving nonprofit organizations. Through RE-volv’s web platform, users can donate to specific nonprofit solar projects that pay RE-volv back over time through a solar lease agreement. Each month, donors who gave to a particular project receive their share of the lease payment in their portfolio, through which they can continually reinvest in new solar projects on the RE-volv platform. This pay-it-forward model helps to accelerate solar energy deployment in local communities around the country.

RE-volv, a two-time U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative awardee, has received its largest grant to date from the personal foundation of Academy Award winning actor and outspoken climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio. Of the $120,000 grant, $60,000 will be used to support RE-volv’s operations and the remaining $60,000 will be used to match RE-volv’s upcoming solar energy crowdfunding campaigns dollar for dollar.

About RE-volv

RE-volv empowers people to take direct action on climate change by crowdfunding solar energy projects for nonprofit organizations. Donations made to RE-volv’s crowdfunding campaigns grow a revolving fund that provides solar financing for nonprofits across the nation. RE-volv raises awareness about solar energy through its flagship Solar Ambassador Program, which trains college students to solarize nonprofits they care about. RE-volv is an inaugural member of the White House National Community Solar Partnership and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. Learn more at RE-volv.org.

About the Green Power Leadership Awards

The annual Green Power Leadership Awards (GPLAs) are competitive awards that recognize outstanding commitments and achievements in the green power marketplace. By choosing green power instead of conventional electricity, consumers, businesses, and organizations can support increased deployment of renewable energy technologies that will reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation and increase energy security. The GPLAs are presented by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the annual Renewable Energy Markets conference. Learn more at www.greenpowerleadershipawards.com.

About Center for Resource Solutions

Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) is a national nonprofit with global impact. CRS brings forth expert responses to climate change issues with the speed and effectiveness necessary to provide real-time solutions. Its leadership through collaboration and environmental innovation builds policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and energy efficiency that foster healthy and sustained growth in national and international markets. For more information about its programs, visit www.resource-solutions.org


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Help AIDS Orphans Become Self-Reliant

Crowdfunder: Tanya Weaver of American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Campaign type: We’re looking for donations to support a cause

Campaign link: https://www.caringcrowd.org/empower-these-risk-hiv-orphaned-girls

Twitter: @AFCAids

Goal: $10,000

Progress: $2,100

Project: This will support girls orphaned by HIV/AIDS and who are wanting to learn how to become self-sufficient.

Use of funds: We will purchase and set up a greenhouse in a girls’ home in Zimbabwe. This will be a training ground for girls to learn how to prepare land, set up drip irrigation systems, grow and transplant seedlings, grow and harvest vegetables, mulch, etc.

Anecdote: Our greenhouse project is growing! What started as a dream to educate girls in farming, marketing, selling, and budgeting is growing from one greenhouse to, hopefully, 10. Fourteen young ladies, who lost parents to AIDS and also sustained abuse in the hands of their guardians, did the huge job of moving manure and dirt into our first greenhouse, making it ready for planting. After their seedlings grew and were planted, they expectantly waited for their yellow and orange peppers to grow. And, grow, they did! While providing their home with food, they sold extra veggies in the open market, earning some money for their savings accounts while saving money for the next crop. Each girl was tired at the end of their work days, but they were excited to learn and to know that once it is their time to leave the home, they are able to farm and to start small businesses, due to the training received.


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New Giving Day Platform Launches for Community Foundations

Contributary says its enhanced user experience and gamification leads to raising more money during online fundraisers

Press Release – STATE COLLEGE, PA — A new tech startup has launched a platform for community foundations to host online Giving Day fundraisers.

Nearly 200 community foundations host a Giving Day raising hundreds of millions of dollars for local nonprofits each year. Contributary officially launched its product this month after hosting Centre Gives, its first successful event earlier this year.

“Contributary completely changed our Giving Day. We raised 20 percent more than last year and our community was more engaged than ever,” said Molly Kunkel, Executive Director of Centre Foundation, which hosts Centre Gives.

The sixth annual Giving Day in Central Pennsylvania raised $1.4 million for 147 nonprofits in 36 hours last May. In addition, total number of donations were up 41 percent.

“Giving Days have tremendous power to rally a community. People want to support their favorite local nonprofit causes, and they’re proud of where they live. As such, our Giving Day platform is strong, secure and is designed to engage and inspire people,” Scott Woods, President of Contributary, said.

For example, Giving Days typically host prizes to see which nonprofit can solicit the most number of people to give in an hour. With Contributary, nonprofits can see—for the first time—who is in first, second and third place and how close they are to winning. At one point during Centre Gives, dozens gathered around a TV and cheered as donations put their nonprofit at the top of the leaderboard.

“We knew prizes and tracking the results were something that people really enjoyed,” Kunkel said. “Contributary has done a great job in creating a spotlight for the prizes—the results are more visual, the prizes are front and center, and the ‘power hours’ have unique pages that allow competing organizations to home in on their goal.”

The live updates are carried through the rest of the platform. In fact, its live leaderboard was such a draw that some donors kept the website open throughout the event so they could watch the donations being made in real time.

“We’re confident we built a strong product that will ensure Giving Days have the security donors deserve, the results the community depend on and the gamification that makes these online events such a fun experience for everyone involved,” Woods said.

ABOUT CONTRIBUTARY

Contributary is a secure, stable and easy to use Giving Day platform that engages donors, inspires community philanthropy and ultimately supports nonprofits across the nation. Based in State College, PA, Contributary is a Certified B Corporation and commits 1% of all sales to 1% for the Planet.

For more information, visit contributary.com.


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Newman’s Own Foundation Teams Up With CrowdRise For Holiday Challenge Announcing Half A Million In Grant Giveaways To Charities

CrowdRise’s 6th Annual Holiday Challenge will offer new platform upgrades and $500,000 in prizes and matching funds

Press Release – DETROIT, MI – CrowdRise announced that its annual holiday giving campaign will be sponsored by Newman’s Own Foundation, with $500,000 in funding and matching donations for participating charities. The Challenge, which launches November 21, is now accepting charity applications at crowdrise.com/NewmansHolidayChallenge.

To provide charities an even greater holiday campaign experience, CrowdRise is offering new tools that turn traditional fundraising efforts into amplified social fundraising campaigns. The optimized features include:

  • Donation pages to convert more supporters
  • Social flows to increase shares and reach new donors
  • Page branding to allow nonprofits to better tell their story
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising to help charities raise even more

This year’s sponsor, Newman’s Own Foundation, is celebrating 35 years of giving back to charities. Since Newman’s Own was founded, close to $500 million has been donated to charitable organizations. To celebrate, the Foundation has committed another half a million dollars to help charities in the Holiday Challenge supersize their holiday campaigns. The Challenge, which will kick off just before #GivingTuesday on November 21, will offer special prizes and promotions on #GivingTuesday, November 28.

“Newman’s Own Foundation is pleased to support the CrowdRise Holiday Challenge, which will help so many charities in their efforts to increase donations through crowdfunding,” said Kelly Giordano, Managing Director of Newman’s Own Foundation. “This is our fifth year working with CrowdRise, and we’ve seen many of our grantees benefit through these campaigns.”

“We’re thrilled to work with Newman’s Own Foundation to give charities all the tools they need to make their #GivingTuesday and holiday giving campaigns a success,” said Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, CrowdRise’s parent company. “Through CrowdRise, charities can reach new people, spread their message, and deepen their engagement with donors like never before.”

The application is now open, and charities will be accepted to the Challenge on a rolling basis through Tuesday, December 5. All 501C3s are invited to fill out the short application, and accepted charities will have their custom branded, optimized webpages built for them. CrowdRise allows provides a challenge toolkit with, tips, assets and templates to create professional and customized fundraising campaigns for competing in the Challenge. The Newman’s Own Foundation Holiday Challenge launches on Tuesday, November 21 at 12:00pm ET and runs through Wednesday, January 3 at 1:59pm ET.

For more information or to donate visit crowdrise.com/NewmansHolidayChallenge

About CrowdRise

CrowdRise is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to charitable fundraising. Used by millions of individuals, tens of thousands of charities, hundreds of companies and many of the most famous artists and athletes in the world, CrowdRise enables people to creatively leverage their resources and networks to unlock the power of the crowd to support positive social missions and create massive impact.

Founded by actor Edward Norton, film producer Shauna Robertson and Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe, CrowdRise has conceived, implemented and powered campaigns that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to date. For more information visit www.CrowdRise.com. In January 2017, CrowdRise merged with GoFundMe to offer both people and organizations the best fundraising tools for any cause they care passionately about.

About Newman’s Own Foundation

Newman’s Own Foundation was founded by the late actor Paul Newman to continue his philanthropic legacy and help make the world a better place. Newman’s Own Foundation turns all net profits and royalties from the sale of Newman’s Own products into charitable donations. Since 1982, Paul Newman and Newman’s Own Foundation have donated close to $500 million to thousands of charities around the world. For more information, visit www.newmansownfoundation.org.


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