Actor Edward Norton, star of movies like Fight Club and The Italian Job, just launched a new funding website for charities called Crowdrise. The service targets non-profits and volunteers looking to create, promote, and raise money for a charity of choice.
Crowdrise gives anyone with an Internet connection the ability to create a fundraising campaign for a particular cause. Each campaign sets a fundraising goal and tracks the progress in real-time on an individual campaign page on the website. Several campaigns that appear on the site include “Kick Alzheimer’s in the Ass Project!” and “Scholarships for Cancer Survivors“
Once a campaign is created, the creator or “host” then asks for donations using Facebook, Twitter, and email to let their social network know how it can help the associated cause. Any amount can be donated at anytime. Each campaign also offers the ability to join that cause and help fundraise through their own social networks.
Several fundraising sites exist already that let anyone create campaigns and leverage their social networks for donations, including YourCause.com and GlobalGiving. (Readers might also think of microfinancing site Kiva, but that’s for loans, not donations.) Crowdrise may have a leg up on the competition. Besides star power like Edward Norton (pictured above in box office bomb Death to Smoochy), along with Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Russell Brand — all of which have created campaigns — the service also incentives giving and participation by awarding points to users. Top point earners will have their pick of donated products like an Apple Macbook Pro or North Face jacket. Prizes will be awarded on July 31.