The Crowdrise Story

Crowdrise is about raising money online for charity and having the most fun in the world while doing it. The whole Crowdrise story is below but please only read it if you're super bored or you're writing a paper on ways to give back and you're looking for something to plagiarize. If you just want the really short version of the story, Crowdrise was founded by actor and activist, Edward Norton, producer and activist Shauna Robertson, and internet entrepreneurs Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe. Crowdrise was named a "Top 25 Global Philanthropist" by Barron's and a "Top Fundraising Website" by Mashable. More importantly, you may want to check out this beautiful Picture of a Napkin.

September 2009

The Crowdrise team, which includes Edward Norton, Shauna Robertson and Robert and Jeffro Wolfe, created a super unique campaign to raise money for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust during the New York City Marathon. A couple of us also ran the marathon which was awesome and we're fairly certain we own the record for the most number of incredibly subtle yet effective complaints during our training.

October 2009

We raised $1.2 million for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in less than 8 weeks, much of it from small donors who gave more than once, making it one of the top fundraising success stories of the marathon. And, it was all really, really fun.

November 2009

The site we built for the marathon was so impactful, so incredible, that we decided to take it to a whole new level and open it up to everyone. The concept was to create an innovative web platform where millions of individuals can use the best tools and technology to raise money for over a million different charities, and where charitable organizations can start events, team fundraisers, and turn their base of grassroots supporters into a base grassroots fundraisers.

December 2009

Quintas at Crowdrise spent the entire month of December writing this. We're including it only because he worked so hard on it but you probably should skip it… “Our goal at Crowdrise is to make fundraising so fun and addicting that everyone wants to do more of it. The power of the crowd is real, lots of small donations really do add up, and the Crowdrise community can have a monumental impact on causes around the world.”

January 2010

One of Crowdrise's awesome customer service people, who prefers to remain anonymous but his name is Falco, got a bracelet from his girlfriend's parents for Christmas. He thought they were joking but they weren't.

February 2010

Our petition to make Impactful and Incent real words was shot down by the Webster family and we had to redo the entire Crowdrise site.

March 2010

Falco, our anonymous customer service person, found out his girlfriend was cheating on him so they broke up. He didn't give back the bracelet.

April 2010

We decided we had nailed the Crowdrise Point program by limiting voters to dentists who lived west of the Mississippi. Then we decided that was a terrible idea and we changed everything so that the entire community could vote on the best fundraisers and volunteers in the world and the top vote getters would win awesome prizes.

May 2010

We settled on our slogan, If You Don't Give Back No One Will Like You, and officially launched Big deal, right.

June 2010

Way, way more human people posted projects on Crowdrise than we ever imagined. Charities started getting real money, lots of donors and fundraisers won some really good stuff and I considered getting a little botox. Just around my eyes.

July 2010

Multiple times a day people were contacting us asking why random people they didn't know were donating to their cause and even fundraising for 'em. Was it a mistake? It wasn't. People started clicking around the site, finding projects that were awesome and getting involved with them. It was only a couple months but we were pretty sure the site was sort of working.

August 2010

Lots and lots of talk about Sponsored Volunteerism. Whether you're volunteering in the gulf for your spring break or doing community service after school, you should get sponsored and raise money for your favorite charity the exact same way a marathoner does it. You should watch this video to learn more about it.

September 2010

Sophia Bush became the first Crowdrise DJ, we partnered with Network For Good and we removed every exclamation point from the site. If you can find an exclamation point on Crowdrise that was typed by us instead of a normal human person please email us and we'll add 1000 Crowdrise Points to your account.

October 2010

Our incredible and unprecedented partnership with the ING New York City Marathon really got going. Crowdrise was also named second best site ever by Fish People Magazine. Really there is no Fish People Magazine but if there was they would have likely given us an award.

November 2010

The ING New York City Marathon crushed their goal of raising a million dollars a mile and the campaign could not have been any more successful or fun. Falco has decided to give his bracelet away as a prize. Please do something decent for the world and then email Falco and you'll be signed up to win it.

December 2010

We launched the Crowdrise Holiday Fundraiser Thing (CHFT) with a bunch of sort of famous people including Seth Rogen, Kristen Bell, Barbra Streisand, Ashton Kutcher and Mandy Moore. Anyone on Crowdrise can join the CHFT and Judd Apatow is giving $3,000 to the top three non-celebrity holiday fundraising campaigns. We also moved offices for the third time in six months reflecting our crazy growth and complete lack of foresight.

January 2011

We re-read this Crowdrise Story section that you're reading right now and realized that our verb tenses are all over the place. Deeply embarrassed, we promptly returned the award we won in 2010 from the International Grammar and Gerund Association (IGGA). Besides that, we had a very nice January. We hired EventGirl, launched the Crowdrise Impact section, and started giving away a Crowdrise Eli Cash Tee on Facebook and Twitter every day. More importantly, we started building a super secret website that will allow ghosts to fundraise. More to come on that soon.

February 2011

February, 2011 was the month perhaps marked by the most controversy in our short history at Crowdrise. The Crowdrise Featured Human People challenged the people who landed on the Impact page to a game of red rover in The Swamp in Gainesville, Florida. The Impact people won but apparently they wore illegal cleats and the end result of the match was a plethora of minor injuries and lots of ill will. More importantly though, almost every news publication in the world called the match the most charitable game of red rover ever and, for that, we're quite honored. Less importantly, we went live with our Start An Event Page which means that every human person can now start their own fundraising event...pretty cool.

March 2011

March was consumed by all the amazing people on Crowdrise fundraising for disaster relief efforts in Japan. Passionate donors and fundraisers gave relentlessly until everyone kicked in $500k and then the Ogawa family matched it. And, the fundraising definitely didn't stop there. Crowdrise DJ, Amanda Darby, summed it up best when she posted simply...This Is Why We Crowdrise.

April 2011

The Crowdrise Crest Thing launched in April. Same with the ING New York City Marathon campaign for 2011. Lots of other stuff happened too but we don't feel like writing about it.

May 2011

May was the first month we embraced a mandatory Crowdrise dress code for our staff as well as the people fundraising on the site. Crowdrise staff as well as Crowdrise fundraisers all over the world were made to dress as fancy magicians. Needless to say, it was an extraordinarily successful mission that culminated in the entire White House press corps dressing up as Houdini on Memorial Day.

June 2011

Crowdrise opened its first retail shop in Detroit, Michigan. The goal behind the retail shop is to be the first company in the philanthropic space to open a store. We sell nothing but it's still a really good idea and we feel incredibly forward-thinking.

July 2011

We launched the Crowdrise Royale account and, shortly thereafter, The Philanthropic Commission, perhaps the most notable made up group of philanthropists in history, called it "the best change to charity the world has ever seen." We also closed down the retail shop that we had opened in June so that we'd have more time to focus on our hair.

August 2011

We launched social login. Pretty sure that means you can sign up and login to Crowdrise using your Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc. account. It's pretty cool and we never think anything is pretty cool. Except for sometimes. We were also named one of the Top 12 Internet Activists changing the world by Mashable. Probably the best August ever.

September 2011

Not positive what happened at Crowdrise in September but Michigan got through the month undefeated so the Brady Hoke era has started off great. The Tigers had an amazing second half of the season and won their division. Perhaps most surprising, the Lions went 3-0 in September and look especially awesome after a comeback win against the Vikings.

October 2011

Someone at CrowdRise considered running for President but then decided that no one likes him and he got out of the race.

November 2011

At one point in the month, Pandora at CrowdRise played Faithfully by Journey and then a couple songs later we got Journey's Wheel in the Sky. Little did we know that it was set to the Journey station. I'd like to say that covers it but my girlfriend said that I didn't have to go to her ten year high school reunion with her…gets no better than that.

December 2011

We got a leak in our office so we moved to a new office. We got a pool table. So, instead of making giving back fun, our new goal at CrowdRise is to be the best pool players ever. Also, we launched a ridiculously awesome campaign with Mozilla Firefox and we won some awards. Really.

January 2012

January was our best month ever for so many reasons. Michigan beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl and we launched our new CrowdRise Impact Points thing. Now, for the first time, the CIPs you earn for donating, fundraising, getting votes and dealing with our foolishness are redeemable for awesome stuff for you or for charity. Please note, we always say we had the best month ever but this time it's true. We always say that also.

February 2012

Boston Marathon runners started fundraising like crazy for their race in April. And, we learned that Boston, in addition to being the world's oldest annual marathon, also consistently wins Best Smile in the Marathon Mock Elections. I have no idea what that means.

March 2012

March was an awesome month at CrowdRise. The LA Marathon and NYC Half had record-breaking years on CrowdRise and the number of fundraising campaigns that begin with the letters O and T increased by nearly 17%.

April 2012

Because the brain is finite and current CrowdRise staff couldn't think of anything good anymore, we let everyone go and we're now rotating fifth grade classes to drive all key decision-making at CrowdRise. First on the agenda was a kick ass Earth Day Challenge with Groupon that raised a whole mess of money for green charities.

May 2012

May 2012 was so much better than May 2011. We created a widget so that you can show your fundraisers on your own site, blog, etc. Click here for an example. We also took part in the annual Puppet and Ascot walk from Detroit to Lansing. All the puppets wear ascots and talk about noodles for the entire ninety mile trek. Email us if you know the movie and we'll add 500 CrowdRise Impact Points for you - Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.

June 2012

After learning that our use of the word Impactful in the November, 2009 update was wrong, we spent the entire month reviewing words with a small think tank in Prague. Starting in 2013 the words Impactful and Incent can now be used at your leisure. But, the words Guy and Forthright will be struck from the english language. Also, Hope to Haiti, Push Ups for Charity and Lollipop's Online Donor Drive finished up. Great examples of Sponsored Volunteerism, getting your supporters to sacrifice something without running 26.2 miles and such a cool way to make a fundraiser that could seemingly be elusive really tangible.

July 2012

We launched a new version of voting on the site. Now, everyone gets to vote for the human people who are the best at giving back and everyone who gets votes gets CrowdRise Impact Points. And, CIPs are redeemable and awesome so you should get so many of 'em. Obviously, we recommend never voting for anyone who is taller than you.

August 2012

In the neopagan wheel of the year August begins at or near Lughnasadh (also known as Lammas) in the northern hemisphere and Imbolc (also known as Candlemas) in the southern hemisphere. - Wikipedia

September 2012

September was the 17th or maybe the 23rd best month at CrowdRise. Pretty good considering they're both prime numbers. We launched partnerships with Words With Friends and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We also briefly changed the name of the site from CrowdRise to StreetHippo and then changed it back to CrowdRise. Everyone who made a donation while we were called StreetHippo gets to be mean to their hygienist…not on their next dentist visit though, the one after that.

October 2012

Usually we have nothing particularly interesting to say in this section and we end up talking mostly about soap or licorice. But, October was actually decent. So, here goes...We had some pretty awesome campaigns going like the Martha Stewart Thanks for Giving Campaign for Hunger and the Half the Sky Movement fundraiser. But, perhaps most importantly, the Detroit Tigers went to the World Series. Then they blew it. That's all.

November 2012

November was a pretty decent month. The Mozilla Firefox Challenge started with a whole slew of charities and celebrities raising lots of money and giving away amazing prizes. And, we had our hardest word scramble: OONISHEHPSSTTY. If you know the answer to the word scramble, email us with a link to your page at and we’ll add 300 points to your account and tell three people you’re smart. For real. Oh, and no cheating.

December 2012

December was fine. Here are some highlights. More notes than highlights, actually...

  • The Mozilla Firefox Challenge was great and crazy and fun and complete chaos all at the same time. Most importantly, everyone involved CrowdRised like mad and raised so much money for lots and lots of amazing causes.
  • So much hyperbole in the previous post.
  • The CrowdRise marketing squad crushed the Customer Service and Event teams in the 44th annual CrowdRise Olympics.
  • A couple of the offices below us got mad at us for doing too many line dances. Really.
  • What does hyperbole mean?
  • I got 17 comments on my hair. The number of comments on your hair must be a prime number. Obviously.

January 2013

Like the rest of the world, in January, we just cleansed. The first week, we ate only avocados and kettle corn. The second week we tried a new kind of soup with bananas and herbs. The third week, we only sipped hot liquids that started with the letter B and then in the fourth week, we ate four kinds of spicy stir fry. We feel the same as we did in 2012.

Here are a couple other notable things that happened in January:

  • The Mozilla Firefox Challenge ended and we turned $100,000 in cash and prizes into a million dollars for charity. Amazing.
  • We refreshed our site which basically means we gave it a facelift. Just think of it as a little botox and a nose job.
  • We started the JobRaising Challenge with Huffington Post and Skoll Foundation designed to raise lots of awareness about unemployment and help put Americans back to work.

That's all.

February 2013

Usually we don't have much to say about February since it's so cute and short, but this year we have a few notes.

  • The JobRaising Challenge with The Huffington Post and Skoll Foundation raised a crazy amount of money and awareness about unemployment.
  • The Aveda Earth Month 2013 campaign for clean water issues kicked off and our hair at CrowdRise has never ever looked better.
  • We started a new thing where we wear PJ's on Tuesdays. We call it PJ Tuesday although some are heavily petitioning to have that changed to Jammy Tues.

March 2013

March was the best month ever. That may not be true but it felt like the right thing to say. The Clinton Foundation Millennium Network decided to use CrowdRise for their friend-to-friend fundraising which is pretty awesome. And, Ian Somerhander's Foundation decided to put a Fundraise button on their site and link it to their home page on CrowdRise. And, Hope to Haiti, University of Michigan and iMentor all launched really great new sponsored volunteerism campaigns. And, we tried to launch gluten-free fundraising but no one really cared about it. Okay. That's all.

April 2013

No one likes an optimist but April was a pretty great month. Some quick highlights…

  • The John Hancock Boston Marathon community CrowdRised like mad for the families affected by the disaster on race day. We were honored to be a part of it.
  • The Skoll Foundation, Huffington Post and Half the Sky Movement launched the Raise For Womens Challenge and raised a crazy amount of money for women's causes.
  • To honor all things that are shiny, we covered some desks with a whole mess of aluminum foil.

I think that covers it. I'm sure May will be terrible.

May 2013

Did you know that in ancient Rome no one was allowed do quote a proverb unless they had CrowdRised? It's true. You can look it up. And, to quote an old proverb ourselves that seems quite fitting...'If April is the time for jumping in puddles of mud, May is like a quiet hush that resides over a newborn beetle'. That's a lot to say but May was that good.

  • The Pittsburgh Marathon had an incredible finish and raised over $1.7 million for so many amazing causes.
  • The CrowdRise community rallied like mad to raise so much money for Oklahoma Tornado relief.
  • The Raise for Womens Challenge and the Veterans Charity Challenge engaged so many passionate fundraisers and helped well over 100 charities raise money for their causes.
  • We had a Facebook contest about Sandwiches that was really, really great but I don't feel like typing anymore so we'll leave it at that.

June 2013

June was called the ninth best month ever at CrowdRise by Lobster Chair Digest. Obviously, we're pretty psyched about that.

  • The Raise for Women Challenge turned $100k in prizes in $1,190,655 raised for so many amazing causes. I don't have a calculator with me but pretty sure that's some incredible leverage.
  • Jayden raised over $22,000 for Equality House by selling pink lemonade. Gets no more CrowdRise than that. Please click here to check it out.
  • We celebrated our three year anniversary although that doesn't match the calendar you're reading now.
  • No chance you're actually reading the calendar, actually. It's longer than the Iliad.
  • When we used to ask our teacher questions about the Iliad and every other book, as opposed to digging in and looking for meaning he'd say…'people, don't worry about it, it's just a book.' I'm confident he was ahead of his time.
  • If you're bored, please re-read this eight times.

July 2013

Nothing really happened this month.

August 2013

For this first time ever, this August we stocked the freezer at CrowdRise with green and yellow and multi-colored popsicles instead of the more traditional orange and red and purple popsicles. We think it went over okay but we'll be switching back to the old-school popsicles shortly. We learned some really wonderful lessons though from the test. We won't be sharing any of those lessons here though.

Less importantly, here are some other notes about August...

  • The #STARTARYOT Challenge kicked off with over $225,000 up for grabs in cash and prizes. So, so great.
  • We decided to start doing a lot of posts on Pinterest but then we decided to not do that so much.
  • Lady Gaga, Sean Penn and Justin Verlander kicked off fundraisers for their causes. We're not saying that the Tigers will win the World Series because we do believe in a jinx.
  • Ironman launched a bunch of awesome campaigns. Not that easy to do an Ironman so everyone should give so much to their causes.

That pretty much covers it.

September 2013

September was probably the best month ever at CrowdRise...

  • The #STARTARYOT Challenge turned $200k in cash into over $1 million raised for lots of awesome causes. So amazing.
  • Four other CrowdRise Challenges started in September including #RiseToThrive Charity Challenge, UA NEXT Generation Charity Challenge, Honoring Those Who Serve Challenge and the SEC Entrepreneurs Challenge.
  • Events like the New York, Pittsburgh, Boston and Chicago Marathons got rolling on CrowdRise. Ironman too.
  • We got to say 'rolling on CrowdRise.'
  • We went live with a widget that makes fundraising from your blog or charity site or event site super easy. Our developers made a big deal out of it but I built the same thing when I was kid with some play-doh and a couple shower caps.

October 2013

So much great CrowdRising in October.

The Ryot Challenge, the Chicago Marathon, Russell Simmon's Rise to Thrive Challenge, etc. But, the Tigers lost to the Red Sox and Leyland decide to step down. So, we chose to be slightly depressed. Also, the moment is so fleeting. Why worry about spending time in it at all?

November 2013

November was crazy at CrowdRise.

  • The Social Entrepreneur's Challenge raised over $3.4 million dollars, the biggest Challenge ever.
  • We beat our neighbors in a massive game of Jenga and they had to get us Starbucks for a week.
  • Newman's Own - think Paul Newman, the best balsamic dressing, etc. - launched the Honoring Those Who Serve Challenge and raised over $671,000 for Veterans' causes.
  • The whole world rallied like crazy and raised so much money for relief funds for Typhoon Haiyan.
  • We decided to not use the word kale at CrowdRise but we ate more of it than ever. So much irony.

December 2013

Most people think December is all about presents and candy and fancy combs but we didn't get caught up in all that hype. Instead, we just tried to save the world. Unleashing all hell, head on a swivel, embracing all chaos, relentless-style. Some quick notes...

  • The CrowdRise Holiday Challenge raised over $1.5 million for so many great causes. Almost three times the amount raised the year before.
  • We convinced nine charities to dump their old school writing campaigns and go at it online instead.
  • We got a call from the postmaster upset we were costing them writing campaigns.
  • Linkin Park raised over $100,000 for typhoon relief.
  • Cure JM kicked ass CrowdRising. More than 40 families each raised over $1000 for their cause and, to date, they're at $168,000 raised.

January 2014

Assuming I counted right, this is the 53rd monthly update. Anyone who reads all of 'em and emails with the secret code "I just wasted so much time" gets 1000 CrowdRise Impact Points. More importantly...

February 2014

Thanksgiving isn't in February. Mothers Day isn't in February either. But, Valentines sure is. And, at CrowdRise February was just all about love.

March 2014

March was the best month ever since February. Or, maybe even January because, if you read above, February was good but certainly not great. Here are some quick highlights…

  • Natalie Morales launched a fundraiser for the One Fund and the Challenged Athletes Foundation for her Boston Marathon run.
  • Natalie Morales called CrowdRise 'the greatest platform in the world.'
  • Natalie actually didn't say that. Well she may have said it but if she did, no one told us about it.
  • The Clinton Global Initiative University set up an awesome CrowdRise Challenge for students competing to fund their their social innovation, enterprise, and sustainability commitments. Pretty amazing.
  • We typed 'their' in the prior sentence twice on purpose. Anyone notice?