Forget Overpriced Candy Bars: Funding Jar Takes Fundraising Into The Internet Age
Fundraising was probably my least favorite thing ever when I was a kid. I remember shuddering as soon as those laminated booklets would appear, knowing that it meant hours of trudging up and down my neighborhood streets (or, more realistically, other people’s neighborhood streets because none of my neighbors had any money) and watching doors close in my face. Asking people for money in their own doorway seemed like the worst kind of crass, even to my eight year old self.
Erik Van Woerkom and Evan Van Dyke hope that their website will spare generations of kids from the humiliation we all had to suffer selling candy bars and wrapping paper. Funding Jar is an online fundraising platform with the goal of giving every day people access to the tools to raise money online. Think crowdfunding, but for a personal causes.
A little about the man they call Evan:
I got started with the Internet when it was still exciting to get an email from a solicitor. I’ve always been a tech and gaming nerd. As a matter of fact, when I was a wee lad my older siblings (5 of them) teased me that I was going to become an NES. My arms and hands would become chords with controls attached to them and my mouth would be the slot for the cartridge. I’m glad I stayed human.
I get excited about what Funding Jar is doing because there are a lot of people out there who don’t know any other way of fundraising other than selling cookie dough or coupon books. We are helping people to connect with others that they wouldn’t normally be able to so they can raise funds for their causes with minimal effort. We really are making a positive impact in people’s lives.
How long have you been involved with the internet? What were your first steps?
Erik: I am a hick/farm boy from the sticks that never even felt comfortable using the Internet until late in 2008. Thinking about the Internet was very daunting and almost scary for me; however, I had an epiphany one day that I needed to learn the Internet one day, or I was going to be left behind. So I started playing around with it. My first steps were NBA.com and even then I really didn’t even know how to navigate that. Pathetic I know. I slowly familiarized myself with it and became more comfortable and more comfortable.
What time do you usually start work each day?
Evan: Confucius once said that an ending must exist before a new can begin (or something like that). I believe we have to stop working to start again. This is a never-ending gig and it’s great!
Erik: I usually started my day about 8:30-9:00 am. Then I finish my night between 10:00 pm and midnight. Yes, I work my ass off online.
Do you have an office or do you work at home?
Erik: I have an office here in one of my spare bedrooms at my home. Until two weeks ago I never even had a desk or office chair, but now I do and I feel a ton more legit now.
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
Erik: First thing I do at work everyday is check our statistics from the previous day. To see how many page visits we got and what our conversion rates were.
Who or what inspires YOU?
Evan: I love to hear stories of successful entrepreneurs. I also love listening to dub step music to get me going with a big frothy Mountain Dew.
Favorite Quote Today?
Evan: Build your dreams; otherwise someone will hire you to build theirs.
How’d you get the fundage Funding Jar?
Evan: Erik and I raise money ourselves with a nice infusion from a family member whose name will remain anonymous…. Unless you want to private investor ninjas after you.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
Evan: Traveling with my wife and 2 kids. The world has a lot of to offer and I want to see it!
Erik: If I had $500,000 dollars I would contribute 10% of it to charity. Continue to invest in my online education. Live in Europe for six months and travel all over from there! Then put a little bit aside to eventually buy my ranch. (Ha. Yes, I still have a little redneck in me)
Web App or site you couldn’t live without and why?
Evan: Pandora of course. The clickity clackity of a keyboard needs to be drowned out by beats to keep me going.
iOS or Android?
Evan: I would never want to pit anyone against me so I will just have to say that I feel strongly about one mobile OS being superior over the other, but there is something for everyone in both.
Dogs or cats?
Erik: I am not very fond of cats.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
Evan: We are really making a difference in the world. We are currently helping a little 3-year-old raise money for a new heart.
What has your business done to better the world today?
Erik: The greatest thing about our company would have to be the ability to reach out to people about a particular fundraiser that wouldn’t have otherwise been known about it, or was too far away to contribute to buy that frozen fundraiser pizza. More money goes to the cause than almost any other fundraiser out there! We are doing an incredible thing for people and it’s an awesome tool for people to get their story out there and make people aware of his or her individual causes. It is simply a “sweet” tool!!!
Where’s the best place to get in touch with you?