Ed Norton Launches Fund-Raising Platform

Crowdwise harnesses social media to spotlight lighter side of fundraising, volunteerism

Actor Edward Norton has launched Crowdrise, a new web platform designed to allow charities and fundraisers to marshall the forces of social networking and crowd-sourcing.

The venture, said Norton in a press release announcing the launch, is designed as “a fun and easy way for people to raise money for the causes they care about and for organizations to covert their base of grassroots supporters into grassroots fundraisers.”

<a href=Edward Norton” style=”margin:15px 15px 15px 15px;height:317px;width:225px;float:right;” src=”/wp-content/uploads/files/u1482/ed_norton.jpg” />Crowdrise, whose motto is ”if you don’t give back no one will like you,” is a joint venture between Norton and Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe, viral marketing experts who helped him create the Maasai Marathon website, which raised $1.2 million at last year’s New York City Marathon.

“Everyone on our team had been looking for better online tools to promote grassroots activism and each of us had ideas that grew out of our different experiences,” said Norton. “The Wolfe brothers had the impulse to say ‘Let’s just build something from scratch’ and we all started tossing it around together and then sort of did a dry run with the Maasai Marathon campaign.”

The Crowdrise platform allows individuals and organizations to build personalized online fundraising campaigns making use of extensive interactive features, including a point system, prizes and the concept of “sponsored volunteerism.”

Crowdrise’s website includes a seven-step tutorial for setting up a profile, launching a project and asking for donations; its final step reads, “Charities Get the Cash, the World is a Better Place and Everyone Likes You More.”

Nonprofit organizations that have signed up with Crowdrise include the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the Art of Elysium, Oceana, the Alzheimer’s Association and Malaria No More.

Comics and actors Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Russell Brand, Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks are also participating on Crowdrise.

Jonah Hill, who promotes Malaria No More on the site, says, "Crowdrise uses an incredibly non-abrasive technique to get lazy people to do something good while putting out very minimal effort.”

The Crowdwise website is here.

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)