Guest Post Written by Rob van Haaren
Our Startup Story
After we got engaged, my now (!) wife Caitlin and I wanted to raise some money from family and friends for our honeymoon. We wanted to take a more ‘visual approach’ in crowdfunding - and let our family uncover a collage of memories from the five years we spent together before we decided to tie the knot. With my limited coding skills, I built a website from scratch where people could literally leave their visual footprint on our campaign page (see it here) and we raised over $3,500.
The idea for the website stemmed from our annual tradition to put together a custom jigsaw puzzle made from images of the past year. So, for our fundraising page, we let people place ‘circles’ (of $10 each) on a fundraising canvas and uncover the image underneath it. Hovering your mouse over the circles shows the Funders of the campaign and their message to the happy couple! We believe that this visual feature increases conversions on your campaign AND that it makes funders give more to your cause.
Why start a whole new platform if we could have simply created a fundraiser for our honeymoon on GoFundMe or Indiegogo?
If we had raised money through GoFundMe or Indiegogo, these platforms would take $5 for every $100 that our friends and family would give us. This is quite high, especially given that there are really no costs associated with running a single page on a website. For us, the 5% fees wouldn't be a dealbreaker, but what we realized is that many fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe are for emergencies, disasters, or surgeries for people suffering from life-threatening conditions... Why does GoFundMe charge fees to these people? I am still baffled that GoFundMe raked in $370,000 of profits from last year's earthquake in Nepal where 8,000 people died and 21,000 got injured... Imagine how much more support could have been given if there were no fees charged to these campaigns!
So my wife suggested that after our own fundraising campaign, I should build a user interface where people can start their own campaigns for any personal cause. Our platform now hosts projects of the categories: traveling, medical bills, family matters and entrepreneurship. With CoverrMe.com, we want to support everyone who wants to raise money for their causes and make crowdfunding fun and free to the public.
We have just made the platform more mobile-friendly and have started reaching out to websites like this one to spread the word! Are you or is one of your friends or family members looking to crowdfund for a project? Let them know about CoverrMe! It’s free for everyone!
Author Bio: Rob is a Technical Analyst in the Power Systems Development team at First Solar where he works on integrating energy storage into large-scale solar farms. In the evenings and weekends, he works on a bunch of new ventures and projects, with most of them involving web development. Rob holds a BS in Innovation Sciences from University of Technology Eindhoven, and MS & PhD degrees in Earth & Environmental Engineering from Columbia University.