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Crowdtilt Makes Group-Funding Available to Everyone

Crowdtilt Makes Group-Funding Available to Everyone
Image credit: Photo © Eva Kolenko
Group work: James Beshara (left) and Khaled Hussein of Crowdtilt.

Crowdtilt.com
Based in San Francisco
Six employees
Largest campaign amount: $99,200
Average campaign amount: $840

What It Is
Social fundraising site Crowdtilt allows groups to raise money for specific causes or campaigns, ranging from fund drives for charities to a group of friends pooling money for a vacation rental.

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Crowdtilt and Its Vision for a More Collaborative World

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How It Started
Co-founder James Beshara, who had worked in nonprofit development in South Africa, believed there was a market for a site that could be used for charity and community projects alike. However, after Crowdtilt went live in February, he observed that it was being used to raise money more for vacations and parties than for charities. So he and co-founder Khaled Hussein expanded the site’s vision to “group-fund anything.”

Why It Took Off
Because Crowdtilt connects through social media, users quickly spread the word about their fundraising efforts. Within weeks of Crowdtilt’s launch, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian used the service to raise $15,000 in 36 hours for a billboard protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act. Another break: An unnamed tech company used Crowdtilt to quickly raise $20,000 from sponsors and partners to rent out a bar for a reception at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas.

The Business Case
Crowdtilt takes a 2.5 percent fee only after a campaign meets its target amount. Beshara says the site’s campaigns collected more than $350,000 during the first month of operation.

What's Next
The team will focus on its key base of groups who collect money for personal reasons, while revisiting its roots as a vehicle for nonprofits. Thanks to a nonprofit partner that handles charity donations, Crowdtilt donors can take a tax deduction—a feature many crowdfunding sites can’t offer, since they collect the money directly. (Deductions are valid only for donations made to verified U.S. nonprofits; Crowdtilt checks against its database of registered nonprofits.) And as more people use the site to raise money for fun, Beshara believes more will begin to use it to help make a difference.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the August 2012 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Social Services.

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