Meet the company that took the Kickstarter model crowdfunding and applied it to the nonprofit world of fundraising: Wizeo
Crowd funding is not a new concept. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and Israeli site Headstart allow anyone who has an idea to make it real with the help of a crowd looking for some first dibs purchases or other awards.
Seeing the success of this model, nonprofits have began to look to it as a means of meeting their own much needed fundraising needs. Recognizing this trend and looking to cater to the nonprofit community in a more direct fashion is Wizeo, an Israeli startup crowd fundraising platform that helps these kinds of organizations in their funding procurement process in a way that’s simple, accessible and fast.
Contrary to the current fundraising model employed today, where donors are often left with less money and no immediate tangible return on their donation (donation = charity), Wizeo Donors gain tangible and immediate benefits that translate into incentive; such as access to events in the form of real-time video broadcasts on the site. These events are usually headlined by well-known figures and leaders granting donors a unique opportunity to access these individuals. Questions for the speakers (Wizeo calls them Wizzim) can be forwarded in advance and a raffle offers the chance of winning a one-on-one conversation.
TED meets crowd fundraising
The Company’s Launch Event of their website takes place today, Wednesday -27.11 and features a video call with prominent high-tech personality Professor Dan Ariely. Ariely is raising money for the ‘Education for All’ initiative, which focuses on nurturing children with potential for excellence who hail from the peripheral cities of Israel. As part of the video call to be held at 5PM Jerusalem time, Ariely will discuss “What gamers know about motivation that we don’t”. Donors are invited to offer questions on the dedicated call page.
Later on the site will host former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who will be raising money for the Association board, which helps special needs populations. Other lecturers who will aid in fundraising include Chris and Peyton Lambton – Hosts of HGTV’s “Going Yard”, and former “Bachelor” stars, Ari Maisel, author of the blog LessTalking, More Doing, Tom Standage – editor for the Economist, Alan Dershowitz – author of ‘The Case for Israel’, and many others.
Israelis with American base
Wizeo was founded in 2013 by Guy Bauman and Avishai Steiner. They have offices in the United States and in Israel’s Ministry of Development. After spending much time with nonprofit organizations in the Boston area Bauman and Steiner realized there was a real need for a solution to the challenge of being able to make micro-donations in a cost effective manner. This is not to mention the fact that organizations already have to hustle just to get any kind of funding from donors.
Bauman and Steiner decided to set up a platform where organizations can encourage donors to contribute in very manageable amounts, and in a way that offers them something in return. The company sees itself as producers of high value video content while promoting and supporting social causes. Bauman adds that their Wizzim speakers cover a wide range of disciplines including bloggers, academics, musicians and others – all of whom encourage and promote the social causes most important to them.
While there is competition in the video lecture market in general and fundraising in particular, Bauman argues that Wizeo is unique in how it links the two together into one platform. The Company is in the process of recruiting pre-seed funding and hopes to complete the round in the coming months.
According to Bauman, the existing alternative for nonprofits to attract major lecturers and high profile donors is to organize events each year with all the high production costs that come along with such a prospect. This is precisely the pain point that Wizeo is seeking to address.