–> Who: Andrea Lo, Founder & CEO of Piggybackr
–> What: Piggybackr is an online fundraising platform specifically designed for youth.
–> How: Read this synopsis and visit Piggybackr to learn more.
By Adam Smiley Poswolsky
Andrea Lo was born and raised in Silicon Valley, where she grew up surrounded by engineers. She went to UC-Berkeley for undergrad, and graduated without knowing what her career path would be. Lo believed businesses have a real power to make impact in a positive way, and she ended up joining a consulting firm following school.
While consulting, she spent a lot of time thinking about how her skill set could best serve the world. She quit her consulting job at the age of 24, and stumbled into the tech start-up world, working at Caring.com, and then began working on Piggybackr in late 2011. Lo realized the potential for growth in online fundraising and crowdfunding from talking to her younger sister. “I talked to my 11 year-old sister, who cared about the environment but didn’t know what to do about it. The average young person just doesn’t know where to start,” she explains.
Piggybackr is a platform intended for pre-teens and teens that seeks to empower youth by maximizing their potential through online fundraising, providing tangible goals and actions, resources and encouragement for youth efforts; moving beyond the traditional youth fundraising model of bake sales and car washes.
Lo and her team worked with over 100 youth to understand their user experience with the site, and see what motivated them to fundraise and what didn’t. “Fundraising is usually the first experience a kid has with finance. We found that young people need instant gratification. So we designed a platform that encourages effort,” she explains, “The more effort a young person makes towards reaching their fundraising goal by performing various tasks, the more money they can raise.”
Piggybackr is currently in beta mode, and is looking to bring large youth organizations and businesses on-board as sponsors and partners, and potentially develop a matching program for fundraising initiatives with corporations and foundations. “If we can crack teaching youth how to fundraise, we can teach anyone to fundraise,” says Lo. Piggybackr is also exploring how best to integrate mobile on their platform, since young people are so dependent on their phones, while adult donors may not be.
While a lot of research remains to be done, Piggybackr is on the forefront of developing an innovative 21st-century model for how fundraising can be both fun and empowering for young people and their communities.
This article is a part of a series produced at SOCAP12 by New Empire Builders. New Empire Builders is a SOCAP12 media partner.