Today I talk with Paul Dombowsky, of IdeaVibes, who is starting up a brand-new Canadian crowd-sourcing application called FundChange.
RC: Tell me about how you came up with the idea for FundChange?
PD: Up until now, crowdsourcing in Canada has been difficult to access. Engines like Kickstarter have only been available in the States, but now, with the assistance of some corporate matching, non-profit companies in Canada that have big ideas can now (with a little work!) get them funded.The idea was to focus on charities, because there aren’t any other places out there that make it easy for charities to access funding. There was a real need.
People have a hard time supporting the big picture. Instead of saying, “we’re going to cure cancer”, we are able to break it down into bite-sized pieces: the Ottawa Cancer society, for example, is going to be crowdsourcing chemotherapy chairs.
RC: How does the app work?
PD: Go to FundChange.com and sign up. In order to access the service, you need to be a not-for-profit, and you have to pay a $50 registration fee per project. Then, you upload all your information about your project, including, if you want, videos and photos. Then you begin to spread the word, via your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter.
Traffic to the site also comes via our corporate sponsor, Telus, and other people who are visiting the site and will be able to search and browse for projects that they are interested in supporting.
When people donate to your project, they get a charitable tax receipt right away.
You have 30 days to make your fundraising goal. We issue a cheque to you for the full amount (minus a 1% Visa fee) within 5 days of you achieving your funding goal.
The people who fund the projects on FundChange get their own login so that they can see the results of their work, so that you can actually create a relationship with your funder.
RC: What happens if you don’t reach your goal in 30 days?
PD: We have the added bonus of a corporate sponsor. If you are really struggling, your project is not getting funded, then Telus can kick in to help. Also, if you are a charter member, and you get your project funded within two weeks, Telus will match it.
RC: What if I’m not a not-for-profit company?
PD: You should look to see if you can partner with a not-for-profit. We are looking at expanding in the future, but for now, you must be a not-for-profit in order to access FundChange.
RC: Thanks, Paul! All the best with the site. I’m pretty sure you’ll be very popular, though!
Fundchange.com launches on February 1. If you want to become a charter member (even before the site formally launches), email Paul. Paul is also offering a couple of workshops in Toronto: Social Media and CrowdFunding for Charities on Feb 24/11, 8:30 to 10:30am, and Practical Crowdsourcing: How to Engage/Listen/Learn and Prosper with your Crowd, Feb 24/11, 11:30am to 1:30pm.