Charities typically rely on core donors over the age of 49 for charitable giving. But a new online platform uses gaming in an effort to expand their reach to a younger demographic.
Please Your Bets
is the brainchild of Michael Lindemuth, a St. Petersburg native and University of South Florida
graduate, who currently works as a Research Engineer at the USF College of Marine Science
. He got the idea when someone used Reddit to bet $100 on a football game, with the money going to whatever charity got the most upvotes from readers.
Users visit the site and place a "bet" on a challenge, which can be anything from an upcoming football game or local charity golf tournament to the outcome of an awards ceremony. Others place their bets on the same challenge, with each player selecting a charity from a defined list that will receive a portion of the total pool if they win.
Lindemuth brought the idea to Startup Weekend Tampa Bay
, where he found his business partner, Ken Klatt. The company took second place in the Startup Weekend competition. Lindemuth credits the condensed timeframe of the event for helping them refine the pitch and the concept.
"The goal is to keep people engaged with charities. It’s not just to raise more money, but keep people constantly thinking about donating and pledging and playing," says Lindemuth.
The site also features a leaderboard system and will eventually have badges and other incentives for wins and donations.
Pledge Your Bets used Tampa Bay WaVE
, which provides mentors and other help for technology start-ups, to conduct initial user testing.
The site went live on Monday. Future plans include using the site as an add-on to existing charity events. For example, a theater or concert venue might use the site to increase attendance by having people bet on which concert will be the best attended during the season.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Michael Lindemuth, Pledge Your Bets