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Innovation & Job News

GWU student start-up adds fourth team member to assist with product development

Crowdvance, the startup that lets small organizations fundraise without holding a single bake sale, has brought on a fourth team member to assist with product development initiatives.

"As feedback and feature requests came in, we needed another team member to help," founder Dylan Fox, a senior at The George Washington University, says. The developer, also a GW student, joins two other students who are bootstrapping Crowdvance while in school.
Crowdvance launched in September 2012. Instead of buying yet another t-shirt or baking another dozen brownies, small organizations set up their own page on Crowdvance. If Aunt Susie in Peoria wants to donate, she clicks on the link in her email and heads to Crowdvance to complete the transaction. In return for her donation, Aunt Susie can pick from several different rewards, from a gift card to an online shoe store to tickets for local sporting events.

Fox thinks that organizations can nearly double their fundraising power by trying Crowdvance. "Fundraising actually has a lot of hidden costs and a lot of overhead," Fox explains. "With most door-to-door sales and restaurant nights, you only make 20 percent. You don’t have a lot of leverage. With others, you have to shell out 50 percent to cover the cost of the fundraiser, like the cost of the ingredients or the t-shirts. That can be risky if you don’t sell everything."

Crowdvance makes its money by charging a service fee of 6.5 percent, which is deducted from the transactions it processes, but Fox is quick to point out that while that fee seems high compared to other donation collection services, his company is "not just a platform for cashing checks." The donors receive a reward in return for their donation. "The goal of [offering rewards] is that donors will stay engaged with the organization."

Crowdvance is currently run by Fox and three other undergrad and graduate students at GW. Though originally from southern New Jersey, Fox plans on staying put in D.C. after graduation. "I’ve reserved space on several friends’ couches," he quips. "I want to take Crowdvance to the next level."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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