Updating Crowdhoster: building accessible, open-source crowdfunding
A few months ago, we launched Crowdhoster to empower everyone to launch their own free custom crowdfunding page and start collecting funds from the world, without needing to write any code at all. We want inspired creators to be able to raise money for their inventions from passionate fans (and future fans) for any kind of project, cause, or collective objective — as easy as posting the first GIF on your Spice Girls-themed Tumblr blog.
Thanks to the hard work of the crazy-talented Lockitron team, we’ve been able to combine their open-sourced Selfstarter with our Crowdtilt API to make Crowdhoster into what we think is the most open and accessible crowdfunding platform around.
But what about features — surely the big guys are better, right? Well, even with our tiny, pretty-much-just-one-dude Crowdhoster team, we’ve been able to make some solid updates that we’ve been pushing out to our lovely beta users:
Reward your contributors
Creators can now set custom reward levels, and your backers can change their contribution amount depending on what they’d like to receive:
Dress up your page
Crowdhoster is now completely theme-able :). You can design your own custom theme or choose from a growing list of themes provided. Big shout-out to Matt Mullenweg for his guidance on this.
Hatch several eggs at once
You can now have as many campaigns going on as you want, all for free. Each campaign gets its own dedicated page, and all active campaigns are displayed beautifully on the homepage:
Set different types of goals
You can now base your campaign’s goal on different units: a specific dollar amount (great for traditional crowdfunding campaigns), or total number of orders (great for pre-order campaigns).
The feedback and reception from our wonderful alpha and beta testers so far has been incredible — and it’s even more exciting to imagine what you can do with Crowdhoster with these new features: try crowdfunding the CSS-only Nintendo emulator you’ve always wanted to build, the Diet Coke replacement that uses edamame instead of artificial sweeteners, and/or both at the same time…
If you’re stoked about this, put your name down for a Crowdhoster invite. If you’ve already been stoked enough to sign up, thank you so much for holding tight. We’ve been onboarding more beta users in recent weeks, but there are still hundreds more waiting — we’re working hard to get you set up as fast as we can!
Please email us about your campaign idea (especially if it’s urgent that we get you up-and-running quickly), or if you have any questions. We’re working to make your imagination the only limit.
Internet creates happy ending for young scientist charged with felony
Here’s a happy ending for a young, expelled student.
Until last month, Kiera Wilmot was an exemplary student at Bartow High School in central Florida with good grades and a love for science. But on the morning of April 29, she mixed some chemicals together in a small water bottle and caused a tiny explosion. There was a bang and some smoke, but nobody was close to being hurt.
Kiera, 16, was handcuffed and charged with an adult felon.
Thanks to thousands of petition signatures, phone calls to representatives, and dollars raised on Crowdtilt, Kiera’s charges were dropped and she’ll be attending space camp instead!
In a beautiful turn of events, famous former NASA engineer Homer Hickam — whose memoir Rocket Boys was turned into the Universal Pictures film October Sky — gave Kiera a scholarship to the U.S. Advanced Space Academy and crowdfunded another for her twin sister :).
Kiera’s ordeal was a terrible one. But it was heartwarming to see the compassion of scientists and sympathizers as they worked together — collecting signatures, raising awareness, and chipping in to help her with the burden of her legal bills. Read about her story in this article “Teenage chemistry enthusiast won’t be charged with felony, will go to space camp” and check out the support for Kiera below!
May 4th: Angelle Stromeyer, a sympathizer with Kiera’s plight, crowdfunds legal bills for this student in need.
She raises over $4,000 in one day alone!
Cool tidbit: Angelle, the creator of this Crowdtilt, is a giant science enthusiast and has previously attended Space Camp!
May 12th: Renowned former NASA engineer and American author Homer Hickam gives Kiera Wilmot a scholarship to Space Camp. He crowdfunds another for her twin sister Kiera
See his Crowdtilt here:
It was truly inspiring to see the outpouring of support for Kiera. We’re honored to have played a small part in Kiera’s journey. In difficult times, it’s amazing to see the internet be such a caring place!
Tell us: do you support Kiera? What great causes would you like to see crowdfunded?
Saving the Blue Angels through the power of crowdfunding
Our team was amazed when we saw this fundraiser to save the Blue Angels pop up on our radar. Marc McCabe, a local San Franciscoan and Blue Angel fan, created a Crowdtilt fundraiser to raise at least $650,000 for the show, which would take place from Oct. 10-14 during San Francisco’s Fleet Week.
Here’s a list of the news coverage the Blue Angels fundraiser has received so far:
- SF Examiner: Crowdtilt fundraiser attempts to bring Blue Angels back to San Francisco
- SFist: Crowdsourced Fundraiser Hopes You’ll Help Pay For Blue Angels Air Show
- KTVU: Blue Angels fan tries to revive air show through crowdfunding
- NBC Bay Area: Crowdsourcing May Save Blue Angels
For the most recent updates about the campaign, or to check out other blue angels fans, check out the official “Bring the Blue Angels Back” Facebook group.
So far, the fundraiser, titled “We can save the Blue Angels — let’s bring them back for SF Fleet Week 2013!” has raised almost $8,000 in just a few days. Let us know what you think of the blue angels and this fundraiser in the comments!
We’re honored and humbled to see our site used for such a creative and inspiring cause. Happy tilting! :)
Crowdfund Your Bay to Breakers 2013 Party
What You Need vs. What You Want - The Power of Setting a Goal in Crowdfunding
Ever feel like you’re asking for too much? Or do you aim too low because you’re afraid of falling short of your goals? Worry no more. Our brand-new targets let you tell your supporters exactly how much you need, while inspiring your supporters to chip in for a home run!
After all, nothing is impossible in the world of crowdfunding! A model of a Tyrannosaurus rex with Christopher Walken’s head raised $2,000 just last week…
Upgrade that fundraiser
But imagine if they were to reach a “target” of $1,200 alongside their “tilt” of $800! They’d be able to upgrade their parties to a luxury, top-floor suite complete with a jacuzzi and unlimited bar tab. This party sounds like too much fun for even Jennifer Lawrence to handle.
- Crowdfunding a surprise gift for your graduating friend? Set the tilt at $800 (the minimum cost for a nice laptop). But set the “target” as $1,200, and cross your fingers for an upgrade to the Macbook Air! She’ll be overwhelmed.
- Fundraising for a local family in need? Instead of taking whatever you can get, set a target too. If you hit $700, you’ll be able to throw in some Christmas presents.
- Crowdfunding a party? ($200) Aim for $400 to upgrade your drinks, and decorations. You could even throw in a… festive mime?
Telling your supporters your “target” helps you make an awesome goal even better. It’s clear. It’s effective. And it’s judgement free :)
Really, don’t be shy.
“Target” helped this real life campaign raise $48,097 more than its tilt…
[Click here to read the compassionate story behind this boat fundraiser.]
Boldly speak up about your goals. Here’s how:
Target comes in 3 easy steps:
- Fill in your tilt amount when you set up your Crowdtilt.
- Fill in your target amount too!
- (Optional) Encourage your supporters to contribute to the target in your description.
It’s that easy!
Finally, here’s a gallery of high-fives to encourage you through your tilting journeys!
(At Crowdtilt we’re all about high-fives)
You may be small, but you are filled with power.
Puppy eyeing your way to the top? #respect
We’re going nuts over you :)
You plunged straight in.
To make giant things happen.
You’re so awesome, we can’t bear it.
Neigh-ver again should you dare to dream small.
Because you are pure fierceness in disguise.
Keep reaching for the stars,
P.S. If you haven’t heard about David Henneberry’s boat in TIME, Bloomberg, or Buzzfeed yet, read about it here. It’s so inspiring it would be a crime not to.
We Just Reached 16,000 Facebook Fans!
THANK YOU! We couldn’t have done it without you. To celebrate, here are 16 great happy gifs so you can share our happiness too! :)
“IS THIS REAL LIFE?”
It’s too much to handle…
You’re the BEST. Being with ya’ll is a dream…
No honestly, we can’t believe it! All these fans just, just… dropping out of the sky!!! Where did ya’ll come from??? What did we do to deserve this?
This is insane!
Where did ya’ll come from?
Happy dance. #awwyeahhh
Honestly, we feel invincible with ya’ll behind us. We’re still small, but we’re fearless!
We can conquer any mountain…
But really, we just wanna take a second to hug you.
And a few seconds more to dance…
We can’t wait to tell our moms
Smiling so much it kind of hurts
Even better than infinite puppies
What are we doing, you ask? Oh, just cruisin’ smoothly along… With our 16,000 fans….
Quintessential Happy Sloth. He yawns while celebrating.
10 Things We Loved About the Fundraiser to Replace David’s Boat
It was amazing seeing the compassion of ordinary citizens come together to accomplish something unbelievable for this modern American hero.
1. The simple hope that Craig Dunlap expressed about why he created his Crowdtilt for David:
2. The reason Jeffrey Griffeth gave for why he started a facebook group that amassed over 1,000 supporters for David:
“I enjoy fishing and being out on the water myself, and for a guy to lose his boat - as minor as that is compared to people losing their limbs and lives - I just thought to help a guy out who potentially saved many more lives.” - Jeffrey Griffeth
3. Every year, David would use his boat and take aboard disabled people for a spin around Boston Harbor. His passengers included the blind and people who’d lost their limbs.
The camaraderie, compassion, and kindness of the “Help Get David Henneberry a New Boat!” facebook group as they gave each other pats on the back and collectively aww-ed about Mr. Henneberry’s cuteness:
5. The countless tweets streaming in by the minute.
6. How contributions climbed, articles from TIME, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Business Week, The Chicago Tribune and more came in, and the fundraiser took a life of its own.
7. The eagerness of Dunlap’s updates as he realized what he had started…
8. The generous donation from the Boston Whaler. Woohoo! :)
9. This email from David’s relative Kelly, as she talked to Crowdtilt representative Ajay, about the fundraiser:
This incredible compassion of everyone is absolutely amazing. You all brought these hundreds of supporters together to do this. David is still speechless with all this outpouring and support…
David does not have Facebook and is not too good with computers and as I was there reading all the wonderful kind comments to him and tried to explain what was going on he couldn’t believe it. As I stated he is beside himself with all of this unbelievable kindness from all over. I will pass all this along and let you know! Thank you!
10. This letter from the man, David Henneberry himself:
It was beautiful.
For the full story behind David’s boat, go here.
Last Call: Farewell Gifts for Grads Across the Nation
Grads across the nation are saying farewell to school and hello to 2013’s freshest-of-fresh supply of unforgettable gifts! As they step out, bright-eyed, into the gray world of morning commute and the terrifying job market, give them something special.
Admit it: the real world can be daunting. These bright and shiny gifts will give your grad some comfort to look forward to :)
Breakfast all day, e’ry day.
2. A gourmet beer-of-the-month subscription
It’s time for them to move on to more classy things.
3. The Ever-Coveted Retina Macbook Pro
4. Prinstagram and New Polaroids
Your grad is going to need some real photos for his/her bare walls. The new polaroid is awesome. Otherwise, Printstagram lets your instagramming friends print their #foodie’s and #selfie’s into real life.
5. Slow Cooker
Magically make a week’s worth of meals.
6. The Pinacle of Mass Production: Ridiculous Printed T-shirts
So that they can strut their graduated stuff like this:
7. Real Cups!
Split the costs to make these awesome presents affordable. Here are some pro-tips for crowdfunding graduation presents:
“Crowdtilt made it easier for us to get in touch with people who were both spread across campus and incredibly busy! It was very easy to use and was so key to the success of the senior gifts.” - Jessi Norton, UGA Mock Trial president
Surprise your bro with that computer he REALLY needs.
“Phil was really excited when I told him. I sent him a text that said, “I set up a CrowdTilt to get you a new computer for graduation, and it just tilted!” He called me and was ecstatic. It was a great way to get the whole family involved to do something big without a big expense to any one person.”
- Jared McFarland
“Brielle’s laptop completely bit the dust a few months back. But with this money, she bought a laptop and she loves it! She was beyond surprised! She didn’t expect it at all and couldn’t believe people put money toward such a meaningful gift for her. She was incredibly grateful and sent thank you notes to all who contributed!!”
These co-workers are pooling money AND ideas for presents. “Swank factor” determined by the amount of donations collected…
For a free Crowdtilt T-shirt, go to our facebook page and tell us what you wish your friends/family would Crowdtilt for your senior gift! (even if you’ve already graduated!)
A crowdfunded tribute for a hero: America bought Dave Henneberry a boat
We were humbled and honored last week as we watched an incredible social media wave raise over $50,000 in under 3 days to buy David Henneberry a new boat.
Watertown resident David Henneberry, 66, loved his boat. Those close to him said he was so particular about about it that he refused to use it for fishing, reserving it for pleasure cruising alone.
But on April 19, Henneberry discovered alleged terrorist and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat.
“He didn’t try to be a hero. He didn’t yell,” stepson Robert Duffy said. “His mind instantly did the right thing.”
David alerted the police, and thanks to him, the bomber was captured. However, his beloved boat was shot full of bullets during the capture.
As the story unfolded, America learned about this Watertown hero’s humility as he declined praise and condolences from the media. We learned of his selflessness as diverted donations away from himself, to the physically hurt victims of the Boston Bombing instead.
We learned of his compassion, as we heard of his yearly tradition of bringing the disabled, blind people, and amputees aboard his precious boat, and take them for spins around Boston Harbor.
Instead of sitting idly by, an ordinary Texan, Craig Dunlap, decided to step up. He raised over $50,000 in a heartwarming Crowdtilt effort to replace the boat.
With just a few words - “Let’s pool some money for repairs!” and a personal donation of $500 to “get things going,” Dunlap set off an inspiring wave of kindness and support.
Within a day, a facebook group started by Jeffrey Griffeth got wind of Craig’s Crowdtilt fundraiser and stepped in to help. They raised over $4,000 on the first day and $13,000 by the second day. 430 people from 42 states and 8 countries contributed.
The Boston Whaler stepped in to make a generous, large contribution. And just like that, in under 3 days, over $50,000 was raised.
We transferred the funds directly to David Henneberry and his family. David, who does not have Facebook and is not too good with computers, couldn’t believe it when he heard what hundreds of strangers had done for him. His relative, Kelly, put us in touch with him and told us, “he is beside himself with all of this unbelievable kindness from all over.”
Here’s a letter from Dave Henneberry himself:
It was beautiful watching this story of compassion unfold, as a strangers stepped up to help someone they had only heard of. These efforts were featured in TIME, Buzzfeed, Business Week, Bloomberg, the Chicago Tribune, Yahoo News, and The Guardian, just to name a few.
We were blown away by the outpouring of collective kindness over the past few weeks. You all showed America that the internet is a caring place.
It’s people like you, getting involved with campaigns like this, that keep us plugging away at the Crowdtilt office. :)
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead
From the entire Crowdtilt team, thanks for inspiring us.
The 6 BEST Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties!
Collect money online. Have incredible experiences offline.
Crowdtilt is all about empowering you to do extraordinary things with friends, but with everyday levels of effort. We do this by making organizing and collecting funds easy:
- Crowdfund the special party by a deadline!
- Make time-sensitive group deposits for trips or getaway homes
- Collect funds via credit card online so you can spend more time on what you do best - making memories.
From luxe weekend escapes, classy wine tours, destination bashes, to nights flowing full with your groom or bride to be’s favorite champagnes and beer, here are a few hot parties to inspire you! We loved the creativity and class of these unique pre-wedding celebrations - and we loved helping these friends crowdfund them.
*Links unavailable for some campaigns that wished to remain private. For the linked up ones - click away!
Their sun-kissed getaway makes us wanna sing: “Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand, we’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band…” (A round of drinks to whichever reader guesses the name of this song first!)
A Bridal Weekend at Napa Valley
Not only was there good food and wine-tasting - they even rented out a house in Napa Valley with a hot tub - the bride to be’s favorite! :)
With a set payment deadline, and the cost at $75.68 each, we’re happy that Catherine and her friends were able to spend less time fumbling over loose change - and more time feasting during their San Diego getaway!
Catherine said: “I’ve used Crowdtilt a couple times while planning bachelorette and engagement parties and its such an easy way to split up the costs!!!”
A Bridal Shower By The Lake
Sea, sunshine and a lovely view - these 11 friends used Crowdtilt to crowdfund the refundable deposit on this beautiful lake house.
What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas…
Less time spent fumbling over loose change = more time spent gazing at these Vegas Dimes…
Some other favorites include zip-lining, parasailing along the coast, spa days, and yacht parties out on the bay. We hope this gave you and your bachelor/bachelorette parties a bit of inspiration!
Have a suggestion? Leave them below! :)
If you guessed the song from the lyrics on the first featured party, let us know on our facebook page! We’ll contact you and send you and your friends some sweet, free Crowdtilt shotglasses ;)