Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Sponzu.com – a New Social Fundraising Platform Removes Financial Barriers

The idea to create a site that would help individuals and organizations with small ideas raise funding was born in early September 2010. There are plenty of successful fundraising platforms on the internet. Some engage in pre-sale techniques, others exchange money for equity and dividends, and some just ask for donations. All these sites have one significant disadvantage in common that prevents many people from contributing– they all ask for money.

On December 1, 2010, after a couple of months of development and rigorous testing, Sponzu.com launched with a mission to encourage all kinds of ideas, and to provide people with an opportunity to help others without the need to give money.

Sponzu is a new kind of social fundraising platform that help individuals, organizations and communities raise funds for social responsible initiatives. It is an open international community where all kinds of ideas are welcome. The only requirement is that all submitted ideas and projects are consistent with the theme of Making the World a Better Place.

To support an idea on Sponzu, site visitors are asked to watch a short video ad provided by one of the sponsors or a partner ad network. Each completed ad view generates revenue that funds the selected idea. Users can contribute further by rating the video, filling out a short marketing survey, and spreading the video on their social networks.

This collective viewing of ads helps fund ideas quickly, and provides great benefits to advertisers, who gain exposure, positive PR, brand association with socially responsible initiatives, and valuable marketing data.

Sponzu is focused on working with individuals and small non-for-profit organizations. We see that this audience is particularly in need of creative and affordable fundraising techniques, and Sponzu provides exactly that. By removing the financial barrier, Sponzu allows anyone to become a charitable person.

Just like any other crowdsourced platform, Sponzu relies on self-promotion, where idea owners are encouraged to actively engage their social networks to attract supporters, who in turn are encouraged to solicit their networks to fund the ideas. This creates a cycle of virality where idea owners play the most important role. If a person or an organization submits an idea to Sponzu.com, but does not actively promote it, the idea will quickly fall off the radar and not get funded.

Facebook, Twitter, Sponzu Widgets, and other social tools are used to make the sharing process easy for users. We also maintain active pages on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sponzu) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/sponzu) where we promote ideas, feature sponsors and active idea supporters, and engage our fans in discussions about how to improve the site.

To make the site more interesting and engaging, Sponzu is also getting ready to launch a reward program, where people will be able to accumulate points for various activities and redeem them in exchange for goods and services provided by our sponsors.

In addition to running the site and engaging advertisers, our team is actively looking to match the most interesting ideas with exclusive sponsors. This sponsorship level provides a number of benefits beyond video advertising and positive brand association. Our exclusive sponsors are featured on a dedicated site page, get regular mentions in our newsletters and press releases, and are promoted on our Facebook page. They also receive monthly campaign reports with vital marketing data.

Sponzu is a self-funded startup and like many others it has days when things just fall apart and nothing seems to be moving forward. On such days it is most important to remember that our concept is absolutely unique and has a great potential to grow and help many people realize their dreams. Moreover, it can also change the way advertisers view their campaigns and allocate their marketing budgets. We encourage people to look beyond the traditional reasons for executing ad campaigns by offering an opportunity to support socially responsible initiatives that can improve the lives of many.

Today, Sponzu team includes four people – a business developer, two programmers, and a designer. We are actively looking to hire a Social Media Intern with a passion for helping people while building an exciting new company. We are also looking for more interesting projects to be featured on our site, and of course advertisers who are looking for creative ways to achieve their cause-related marketing goals. We invite everyone to visit the site at http://sponzu.com and support ideas they relate to. Remember, it won’t cost you a thing!

About the Author

Natalie Kaminski is the Co-Founder and COO of Sponzu. After ten years of building a successful corporate career as a project manager and later a COO of a technology service provider Natalie founded FinCode Solutions, a boutique software and web application development firm. Two years later it was time for a new challenge as a social entrepreneur.

 

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