Crowdfunding, crowdteaching, crowdbidding…

By Dennis Clemente

Put charity and celebrity together, you have branded giving. Add an e-commerce mechanism for their efforts—and you have the potential to reach out to more people in need.

Last January 23, four non-profit companies came together for the “New Year, New Social Enterprise Tech” event at New Work City in Chinatown. It was organized by Goodnik, a champion of social entrepreneurship and non-profit companies.

The founders who came to speak about their companies were Jay Ziskrout, founder & CEO of Dympol; Michael Lindsay, co-founder & CEO of ThreeRing; Sashka Rothchild, founder of Standbuy.us; Nurul Yahya, co-founder of Fiestah and Matt Bishop, founder & CEO of iGiveMore.

Ziskrout of Dympol talked about its incentive-based marketing platform, Charity Checkout. When he said the platform is free for celebrities, he showed top Latin sensation Shakira in a video, encouraging people to extend help to a Barefoot Foundation initiative.

Perhaps the most visible of all for the press it has generated, including the NYTimes, Dympol’s Charitable Checkout’s business model is as simple as “give to a cause, get rewarded.” Simply put, donors get brand-sponsored rewards and public social cache.

By social, it means your donation is broadcast via Web or Facebook Pages, e-commerce checkouts, mobile devices, ad units or text message. Friends can also compete for prizes in terms of who can generate the most social and/or charitable impact.

iGiveMore and Standbuy.us overlap with Dympol to a certain degree but the two others, ThreeRing and Fiestah have different business models.

iGive More’s fund-raising platform is more about the story of the person asking for help. “We are a fund-raising social network,” says founder Lindsay. “We only use technology to provide a better giving experience and a more powerful fund-raising product for individuals and charities.”

Standbuy, for its part, is more personal, especially for founder Rothchild who was inspired to launch her own crowdfunding platform when her Mother got cancer. Beyond medical problems, Rothchild intimated how cancer-stricken people face almost with certainty the bankruptcy they have to face as they stop working and undergo treatment with limited healthcare coverage.

Standbuy is what Rothchild calls “a crowdfunding platform specifically created to ease the financial stresses of cancer. It is a place to connect, gather support and stay updated.”

ThreeRing provides an interesting concept, as it aims to provide teachers and students documented evidence of classes taught and lesson learned, respectively. Perhaps you can say it’s like Khan Academy for the classrooms.

Quite different from all the rest is Fiestah. It offers a free organization tool for people who need to plan life events more efficiently and in less time. If you’re planning a wedding, for example Fiestah says its platform allows caterers, DJs, photographers and other vendors to bid for the job at hand.

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