It has now been a full year since Apple released the very first version of the iPad, and I am still sans tablet. It’s getting embarrassing. But someone has finally taken up my cause. Social fundraising site FriendFund has started an iPad fund for me, and the company even kicked it off by chipping in $30. I encourage everyone to go check it out (and donate).
The site is pretty unique in that it takes crowdfunding (like the kind you see on Kickstarter or Kiva) and applies it to the social graph, so you can raise money exclusively from friends and family. Actually, put like that, it sounds quite lame and moochy, like you’re just asking people for money. But it sounds like a God send if you’ve ever tried to raise funds for a charity, friend’s bachelor/ette party, parents’ anniversary, or just helping a niece or nephew take a school trip to Washington D.C.
To get started, you simply create a pool that includes the amount you want to raise, the deadline by which you need to raise it, and how you want to receive the money (Amazon vouchers, which are free, or PayPal, which charges 1%). Then you invite all of your friends to participate by connecting through Facebook and Twitter, and voila, you have a pool. And to head off those trickier relationship killers, your friends are only charged once your final goal has been reached in an “all or nothing” contribution model that mirrors Groupon’s collective buying platform in which a minimum number of users must purchase the deal to activate it. Thus, if the target amount isn’t reached, your friends’ credit cards aren’t charged and you still remain friends.
Of course, you can also do all of this from PayPal as well, complete with social media tools for inviting friends to chip in, as well as the option of creating your own personalized website. Furthermore, friends can donate from their phones using their PayPal app.
But aside from its “all or nothing” policy on charging contributors, FriendFund has another unique leg up on PayPal: in celebration of its recent launch, FriendFund is offering to donate €50 (or $50) to the first 20 pools created on the site.
Founded last summer and launched in March, the Berlin-based company is already supporting a number of pools, one of which has already reached its goal amount of $500. The user, a New York City resident who used his “love truck” to haul items for other members of the community, created a pool to raise $500 to repair the truck’s broken water pump. Of the 189 people who were invited to chip in some money to help get the truck fixed, 19 contributed (including FriendFund) and met the target amount.
So…I’m not saying that you have to donate to my iPad fund or we’re not friends anymore…I’m just saying I would donate to YOUR iPad fund.