In 1969, a thousand people in North Dakota walked in what may have been the first CROP Hunger Walk, raising $25,000 to help stop hunger. The next year, the March of Dimes held the first WalkAmerica, an event that has gone on to raise more than $1.7 billion to fight birth defects.
Today, millions of individuals and teams of co-workers and families participate in athletic challenges to raise money for charity — walking, running, biking and even rappelling down buildings or taking the Special Olympics “Polar Plunge.”
Last summer, the Alzheimer's Association worked with PigeonMe, an Oklahoma City-based firm, to build an interactive map to display activities during its The Longest Day event, which allowed participants and supporters to interact with each other throughout the day.
With more than 600 participants, The Longest Day was a big success, raising more than $230,000 for the Alzheimer's cause.
From this experience, PigeonMe refocused its location and mapping platform to serve the event fundraising sector, and a new company, RaiseMore, was born.
RaiseMore provides an interactive fundraising platform for organizations to allow their event participants, friends, family and supporters to interact during a fundraising event.
They can share encouragement and photos and even make and receive donations.
At the start of an event, the participants broadcast their location and a message including a photo to their social networks.
“We want to capture the event through the participants' and supporters' experience,” said Devan Twyman, RaiseMore CEO.
“RaiseMore uses location and mapping technologies to track each participant's progress. We aggregate all the social posts, encouragements, videos and photos and display them on an interactive map in a unique way so that people can see the event and interact in real time,” she said.
Twyman has a personal interest in RaiseMore.
“I have a niece who was born with Down syndrome,” Twyman said. “Our family participated in the Buddy Walk this year to celebrate Evelyn Joy's first birthday. The value of connecting the people at the event, the support group and donors with the organization to see the walk in real time and be able to interact and donate is why I'm so passionate about RaiseMore.”
RaiseMore anticipates launching the interactive fundraising application in the first quarter, and it will be available for iPhone and Android devices.
This is another great example of a homegrown Oklahoma technology with potential to benefit people far beyond the borders of our state.
Rex Smitherman is interim president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state's technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Smitherman at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
Americans gave $298.3 billion to charity in 2011. This represents a 3.9 percent increase over 2010.