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Guy Bauman takes us inside the new fundraising platform Wizeo

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You've probably heard of a new player in the Internet fundraising world: Wizeo. Like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, PledgeMusic, Darelicious and other sites, it solicits your money for someone else's project. However, Wizeo is just a bit different from all those other sites: it promotes crowdgiving to various charities, and in return backers get something different from a prize or an autograph. They receive exclusive access to live video chats with the celebrities doing the fundraising. It's a merger of celebrity with crowdfunding (here called "crowdgiving"), in the hopes that people will "engage for good."

To learn a little more about how Wizeo was born and how it works, we connected with site guru Guy Bauman, who answered a few questions for us. "[We were] trying to evaluate where non-profits could need some help," he explained. "Ultimately, it was really my first-hand experience at an event that kind of triggered this idea.

"It was a book reading with a chef who I had never heard of; a friend of mine invited me and I saw so many people there. The speaker spoke for a few minutes and after that, asked were there any questions, and all the hands in the theater went up. It kind of triggered to me the concept of people really wanting meaningful engagement with these people who are interesting to us."

"What we're trying to do is create an interesting content destination," Guy continued. "We want people to be curious about the people they can find on our site. We reach out to the talent, and in some cases the talent comes to us. And in some cases the non-profits come to us."

"I think what's interesting in general is the variety of campaigns that are going on," he added. "One person could be interested in multiple appeals."

A selling point for Wizeo is that the live chats which conclude every fundraising effort are live, with direct interaction between the sponsoring personality and the backers.You can actually talk to the people that have motivated you to get involved. "One thing we've been saying about this experience is that it's live video, which in our opinion is so much more engaging than pre-recorded video," Guy told us. "We're really excited about the live video aspect. The platform has a built in moderator functionality, and anyone you choose can be a moderator or no one can be a moderator."

It might seem like a big undertaking, but really this inviting new website boils down to something pretty simple. "There are so many incredible people across all walks of life who have incredible stories to share," he said, "and we're looking to create this platform to allow them to share their stories, and activating the audience to hear their stories directly from them for the world's most important causes."

Celebrities participating in upcoming Wizeo campaigns include our friend Ben Bass from ABC's Rookie Blue, 24 star Mary Lynn Rajskub, Dancing with the Stars pro Emma Slater, and all kinds of folks from the fashion and business worlds. You can look at what's ahead, what's going on, and what's ended by visiting Wizeo.

(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

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