Crowdfunding is a great way to fund a project, but begging for cash on Kickstarter doesn't always get people's attention (everyone seems to be doing it). Wizeo, an online social-media platform, breaks the mold with a new way to crowdfund charities: bring on a celeb. But that doesn't quite mean Jay-Z is making calls for the Boys & Girls Club.
Wizeo attracts thinkers and influencers with a niche, such as upcoming speakers like novelist Ayelet Waldman and former Chelsea Club manager Avram Grant, to give a talk. This talk is live-streamed to donors who make a secure donation on Wizeo's site to the celeb's charity of choice.
"Inspiring people, influencers and experts have a story to tell and an audience that would love to hear it directly from them," says Wizeo co-founder and CEO Guy Bauman. "We wanted to create this environment that’s as close as you can get to a live interaction with this person, through video, and in doing that, rallying a community around the cause."
One such cause is the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation, named for the 8-year-old boy taken in the Boston Marathon bombing, which benefits education and athletics. Dave McGillivray, who runs the Boston Marathon, is supporting the cause with his talk that's scheduled for April 4.
Christy Canterbury, wine connoisseur and journalist, is giving a talk April 10 to assist the Boomer Esiason Foundation that benefits cystic fibrosis research. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and co-founder of iRobot, is scheduled for April 18 to benefit BUILD, a program to keep kids in school.
"Typical social-media platforms that are out there are more about following and getting input, but not being able to provide or elaborate," says Bauman. "I felt like there was a need for people to have meaningful engagement and meaningful experiences."
Donors will be able to interact with the speaker via video chat, asking questions, and one lucky fan gets a one-on-one. The idea sprang from an experience Bauman had at a book reading: The author was overwhelmed with questions and people who wanted to connect, but the experience was limited to people who were physically present at the reading. He wanted to give people across the country the experience of connecting with an influencer.
"There are so many amazing people out there with a story to tell," says Bauman, "and so many people who want access. One of the things about our platform is that it’s interactive—it’s live, it could be a book reading, but then there’s this Q&A driven by the community. You can chat and submit questions, and the experts can answer. We’re basically democratizing and creating the hope of movement of people who want to leverage their clout in a meaningful way and people who want to get involved, but don’t know how to do that."
Learn more and donate today at wizeo.org.