Crowd funding websites help various causes get money - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Crowd funding websites help various causes get money

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The classic fundraiser is being replaced by websites. Hundreds of them for a fee will reach around the world through the internet and help you get the money you need.

It's called crowd funding, and it's growing.

The Buckeye Little League used an old fashioned technique to raise money, a car wash, so they could compete at state this year.

The team raised several dollars at the car wash. But they raised hundreds of dollars, and they didn't have a single car. All they had to do was explain their situation and why they needed money.

In four days, 28 people donated $1,600 to the cause, another case of crowd funding.

Crowdfunding is where you use a website to tell your story, set an amount of money you'd like to raise, and then hope the dollars pour in. But there's more to it than that.

"We hear story after story from people saying the money was super important, but just as important as the money was all the support from people we haven't talked to in years, that let them know we got your back, and that's what Giveforward is about, community," said Ethan Austin.

Ethan Austin is the owner of Giveforward.com, one of the early crowd funding websites. There were about five such sites in 2008 when Giveforward launched. Now there are over 1,000 of these sites with people reaching out to friends, family, and strangers to raise money.

If your story or pictures strike a chord, the cause can go viral, and many thousands will pour in.

Single mother Shanesha Taylor left her two children in the car while she went in for a job interview in Scottsdale last march. Police were called, and Taylor was arrested for child endangerment.

Her teary-eyed mugshot went viral and more than $114,000 was raised for her on behalf of a crowd funding website.

The woman who started the fundraiser didn't even know her, she was just moved by Taylor's plight.

Many were stunned with a fundraiser on another website. It initially asked for $10 to make potato salad, it somehow struck a quirky chord with thousands of people around the world. It took off and at last count had raised tens of thousands of dollars.

"The potato salad, people need laughs as well, and that guy gives someone to laugh with and that's great," said Austin.

Giveforward.com now focuses on medical fundraisers from people who need money for braces, to money for a kidney transplant, to medical expenses for Millie, the dog.

"We say there's three P's, personalization, promotion, and persistence, and you can throw a fourth in there, it's Facebook," he said.

The site has raised more than 113 million for fundraisers says Austin.

Most crowd funding websites take a piece of the dollars raised. With Giveforward, it's an 8% fee on each donation, 5% for the company, 3% for a credit card processing company.

For example, a $10 donation would actually cost $10.80. It's a fee that Austin says the giver opts to pick up most of the time.

He hopes there is a shift in how people view other people in trouble. "We're always really happy to give at birthdays, weddings, graduation, but sometimes when people need money the most, we clam up a little, and I think what's most exciting for us is we're starting to see this shift," said Austin.

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