Harry Stevens is a freelance reporter covering climate change, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and sustainable finance. Harry has contributed to several media outlets, including Justmeans, GreenBiz, SocialEarth, and Sustainablog. You can follow Harry on Twitter: @Harry_Stevens...
Crowdfunding Startup Razoo Makes Philanthropy Easy
Half of American adults plan on giving to charity this holiday season, according to a recently published survey by Razoo, an online crowdfunding platform for causes. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Razoo, also found that 47% of the unemployed plan to give to charity during the holidays.
"Despite these tough economic times, it's encouraging to see half of America has plans in the works to give back to their favorite nonprofit - and Thanksgiving and the holiday season are the perfect time to do so," said Razoo's CEO Lesley Mansford.
Razoo, based in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., makes it easy for people to raise money online for around 1 million different nonprofit organizations. Razoo has helped raise $125 million to date, over half of which was raised in the last 10 months.
One such campaign is Sarah's Steps for Success, a giving campaign to raise money to help educate medical and school professionals on the effects of amplified pain on children and their families. The campaign was organized by teenager Sarah Wilen, who suffers from amplified pain syndrome. Sarah created a short video on Sept. 30, uploaded it to Razoo, and has already raised almost $11,000.
As consumers access the web more and more through the mobile web, Razoo has embraced mobile giving as a way to raise even more money for charity.
"We believe that both fundraisers and donors should be able to access Razoo anywhere, anytime," Mansford told Justmeans in an email. Over 15% of Razoo's traffic comes from users on mobile devices.
"Our focus has been the development of the best mobile optimized web experience that makes it easy to discover and donate to causes without having to download an app," she continued. "For fundraisers we have an iphone app that allows them to manage their fundraising activity and the ability to use QR codes for events and marketing materials."
Razoo also offers "Giving Cards," which the company hopes will be especially popular this holiday season. Giving Cards let costumers select a donation amount, and the recipient of the card can choose the nonprofit that the money will go to.
"There is nothing better than to be able to give the gift of giving. Giving Cards allow you to empower the recipient to pick the charity that is most important to them," added Mansford. "Plus they make the perfect gift for anyone, especially for someone who wants a one-stop charitable choice for everyone on their gift list."
Razoo is also a partner of Giving Tuesday, a national day to give back to counter the unbridled consumerism characteristic of Black Friday. "Sometimes the real meaning of the holidays gets lost amongst all the holiday shopping craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday," wrote Christian Brink, Razoo's Communications Coordinator, in a recent blog post.
"Enter #GivingTuesday, the antithesis to Black Friday and Cyber Monday," wrote Brink. "#GivingTuesday is a movement that aims to put charitable giving back on the calendar for November." Giving Tuesday will be held this year on Nov. 27.
Founded in 2006, Razoo has received seed funding from the Dubai-based investment firm Legatum. Razoo uses a business model whereby it takes a small percentage (less than 3%) of every donation raised through its platform.
Image credit: Howard Lake, Flickr