Business

Razoo’s gamified approach to fundraising has generated $200M for charity

Above: The Team Jesse Foundation raised money on Razoo.

Image Credit: Razoo

Razoo has raised over $200 million for charity.

Today the crowdfunding-for-causes platform shared key milestones exclusively with VentureBeat —  870,000 donors have supported 31,000 causes, created more than 90,000 fundraising websites, and made 1.4 million donations.

“We believe that peer-to-peer benevolence will continue to augment nonprofit fundraising and become a significant category of giving in the future,” said CEO Lesley Mansford. “Razoo wanted to empower everyday philanthropists to show they care and provide tools to … help anybody who needs it, regardless of the cause – because not all needs are tied to a charitable organization.”

Razoo is best known for its Giving Days —  24-hour online fundraising campaigns structured like contests, with deadlines, hourly goals, strategizing, leaders boards, and prizes. Multiple organizations participate and compete to raise the most. It’s like a telethon for the Internet era, using gamification techniques to encourage people to to give and rally support from others.

Giving Days are primarily organized around communities and regions, although Razoo is now setting up issue-based days as well. The first will go towards raising funds and awareness for LGBTQ issues and to address child trafficking in the U.S.

“The excitement around the event is about constructing the gaming element of competition,” said Mansford. “We find that the contest itself is addictive. Nonprofits reach out to their supporters in the communities and get their donor base involved. People check back to see how their causes are doing and rally their social networks. It becomes both meaningful and fun.”

Razoo orchestrated 17 Giving Days in 2013, which raised 66% more money than in 2012. The company said the average donation is $120, which is higher than other cause-based fundraising platforms. Its record Giving Day raised $17.3 million in 24 hours.

Causes can also use Razoo to power fundraising campaigns that are independent of Giving Days.

In August of last year, Razoo opened up its platform to individuals as well as organizations. Now people can give directly to other people who need help paying for medical bills, college loans, housing, or even a wedding.

Razoo is one of a number of companies powering crowdfunding for causes. Rally.org is another, as is Watsi, which was the first nonprofit to participate in Y Combinator. Related startups include GoFundMe, Benevolent, and HopeMob.

The gamification is what distinguishes Razoo from the pack.

Before assuming leadership of Razoo, Mansford was an executive at gaming giant EA and a cofounder of casual gaming site Pogo. She saw an opportunity to bring her gaming knowledge to the world of non-profits.

San Francisco-based Razoo takes a 4.9% of donations for nonprofit causes and 7.9% of donations made to a personal fundraiser


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