Piggybackr, a crowdfunding site that teaches young people how to raise money for projects, their teams, and schools, and projects, launched today with over 1,500 youth and 10 partners nationwide. The crowdfunding platform focuses on youths (K through college) bringing their fundraising efforts online while applying skills needed to successfully raise money.
Piggybackr has already enabled youth to raise over $250,000, send 20,000+ emails to donors, and raise an average of $75 per supporter (equivalent to the margins of selling 150 candy bars or 25 boxes of Girl Scout cookies).
Founded by Andrea Lo, a former Girl Scout and college fundraising chair, she was inspired to start Piggybackr after helping her 11-year-old sister, Chelsea, set up a webpage to sell bracelets for the rainforest. Chelsea’s fundraiser was a success; she learned about pricing and online outreach.
“While entrepreneurs, artists, and nonprofits are increasingly going online to raise money from the ‘crowd’, crowdfunding hasn’t spread to youth,” Lo says. “Each year, youth communities are selling $3-4 billion dollars worth of fundraising products, but that number hasn’t grown for 10 years,” based on AFRDS data. “Kids don’t know how to fundraise online and aren’t allowed on most crowdfunding sites,” Lo adds.
Based on this, the Piggybackr experience centers around the efforts, learnings, and stories of kids. Rather than selling physical products, youth receive online donations in exchange for ‘thank you’ gifts (e.g. a day of volunteering or advertising a logo). Kids raise more, reach broader audiences, and learn business skills like building online communities and leveraging technology to advocate for themselves. Kids also earn digital badges as they complete tasks and learn skills. Safety is also an important consideration; users under 13 require a parent’s approval to participate.
Piggybackr has attracted diverse projects including a science museum engaging its youth, a wheelchair basketball team in need of new equipment, and a young entrepreneur building a Google Glass app for the deaf.
Piggybackr launches with 10 partner organizations Ashoka Youth-Venture, Bizworld Foundation, Cal Corps Public Service Center, California YMCA Youth in Government, GreeningForward, FIRST Robotics in the Pacific Northwest & Southern California, Mobilize.org, NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, SPARK Movement, and United Way Youth-Venture to support youth projects and causes nationwide.
“We are excited to offer Piggybackr as a tool to our youth,” says Rebecca Korduner, Assistant Director, United Way Youth Venture North Central Massachusetts. “United Way Youth Venture and Piggybackr see the value in educating kids to solve problems with self-funded solutions. These are skills that prepare them to be our future leaders.”