Guest Blog: Help Amy Launch Her Tea Store


By Amy Blackthorn

Hi, my name is Amy and I just used Fundly to fund the startup of my tea shop, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blend, I learned about Fundly last year when my dear friend Eleanor started a funding campaign to turn the blueberry farm she stewards into York PA’s first Food Forest Farm.

When I decided I wanted to take my love of tea and many years of tea blending experiments to the public, Eleanor encouraged me to consider funding the start up costs of my tea shop through Fundly.  She stressed how easy Fundly made it to set up my campaign and all of the control that the site’s proprietary features granted me.

Let’s back up.  

I started blending my own teas and sharing them with the people I love, six years ago.  After each new person experienced the flavors and emotions I put into each and every blend, I kept hearing, “You should go into business!”  but I kept my day jobs.In February, after much soul searching and long conversations I decided to take a leap of faith and leave a stable but miserable and emotionally toxic job. It was the best thing I could have done.

I returned to my love of tea to soothe my soul and relieve the stress of the last few months. A friend said that watching me blend tea was like getting to watch your favorite painter work because of the joy it brought me. It reminded me of the old saying about once you are doing what you love, you’ll never work again.

So I sat down and began turning my favorite scented oil recipes into teas that conveyed the emotions I felt when smelling perfume and the stage was set. My goal was to create tastes and flavors that transform people’s lives and bring magic to their worlds.  I created blends that I knew would lift the soul, inspire romance, comfort, and uplift. I had the confidence and the business plan to create the tea line and business of my dreams. Now all I needed was start up capital.

Power of crowdfunding.  

Enter the amazingly helpful Eleanor again, with a reminder of how powerful crowdfunding is, and how unique Fundly is among the multitude of crowdfunding platforms and the stage was set. I started sourcing tea ingredients and packaging, developing interesting launch ideas, and set an easily attainable campaign goal for myself. Using the tools that Fundly gives to help encourage donations and interaction, I had my first two donations before I had even finished setting up the campaign. Boy was I stunned!

My original goal of $300 had me fully funded in the first 24 hours! I decided that bumping my goal up to $400 would allow me to start with a wider selection at first and inspire more friends and family to donate. Boy did it! Friends, family and now complete strangers had taken up the cause of spreading the word on my campaign because they believed in me, and wanted my teas!

Fundly made it easy to understand how to make what I wanted to do happen. I am awed by and thankful for the support shown by my friends — and even complete strangers — for this little dream of mine: to make people happier and healthier through tea. I wake up every day knowing that people believe in me. Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends is in business now because of a friend’s encouragement and Fundly’s unique features.  Thanks Fundly!

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Our Top 10 Fundraising Ideas For March

march_hero_imageBy Samantha Owens

Idea #1: Start A Bracket Or Throw A Party For The March Madness Games

This one’s a no brainer – collect all your March Madness bracket funds online. Not into the games? Why not pool together money to throw a party for the final four. Make sure you have all the snacks and drinks you could want, kick back on the couch and cheer on your favorite team.

Idea #2: Spread St. Patrick’s Day Cheer With Shamrock Shakes

Shamrock shakes are a phenomenon during March. Instead of rolling up to the drive-thru to get one, spread the luck of the Irish to the neighborhood! Collect money to buy the materials needed to get a shamrock shake on every doorstep. Your neighbors will count themselves lucky, indeed.

Idea #3: Set Off On A Camping Or Backpacking Trip

As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to go on an extended camping or backpacking trip. Take a break, unplug, and enjoy the quiet nature has to offer. Collect funds to travel through small towns, eat at new places, and see new sights.

Idea #4: Get Away From The Daily Grind During Spring Break

Spring break is the perfect time to get out of Dodge. Collect funds to travel to visit friends, explore new cities, and make new adventures. It’s also a great time to give back to your community or one like it. Volunteer at a community center or other nonprofit to help the people within it.

Idea #5: Start A Community Garden

In a few months, the farmer’s market will be a regular occurrence, with fresh fruit and vegetables at every stand. Raise money to start a small community garden in your city or neighborhood. Plant all sorts of vegetables and herbs and work side by side to harvest fresh, healthy food for your community.

Idea #6: Surprise A Friend Or Loved One With A Complete Makeover

In the interest of starting over, most people like to start with their appearance. Collect money to fund a makeover and shopping spree for someone you love that is starting a new career, has made a big change in their lives, or simply wants a fresh start.

Idea #7: Handcraft Warm Items For Those Who Don’t Have A Warm Place To Stay

Even with spring just around the corner, it’s still very cold in many parts of the United States. Collect money to throw a knitting/crocheting party and donate the scarves, hats, and gloves you make to a homeless shelter near you, or even across the country.

Idea #8: Redesign A Tired Space

Do you have a friend or family member who is unhappy with one of the rooms in their house? Whether it could just use some TLC or a complete overhaul, collect money to fund the painting, carpentry, design, or other work that needs to be done.

Idea #9: Start The Journey To Restoring A Historical Landmark

Want a bigger goal? Many historical landmarks fall into disrepair from neglect, old age and abandonment. Take one under your wing and raise money to historically renovate it. You never know what you’ll find in its rooms and hallways.

Idea #10: Run A Race With A Purpose

If you’re planning on running a race this month, start a campaign to collect sponsorships for the cause you are most passionate about. You’ll run with a purpose and feel great about helping out with the cause you love most, plus garner pre-race support from your personal connections.

Have a great fundraising idea? Start raising money and make it happen!

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Guest Blog: Raw Dairy Farm


By Molly Freund

My husband and I have been traveling the country working and learning on organic farms for the last 2 years. We are involved in the raw dairy movement and want to bring fresh raw dairy products to more and more people as the movement grows! Helps us start our dream by donating to our potential farm in the Midwest. We’ll offer raw milk, cheese, butter and yogurt! Help the food freedom movement and bring fresh organic dairy to our area. 

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Inspired by Molly’s story? Start raising money, we’d love to hear your story!

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Guest Blog: Downtown Birmingham Snow Picture for a Cause

By AJ Fennell

AJ, a dental resident at University of Alabama at Birmingham, took a bird’s eye view picture of Birmingham covered in snow. The picture went viral on social media so AJ turned to crowdfunding to help a fellow resident battling lung cancer.  

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Inspired by AJ’s story? Start raising money, we’d love to hear your story!

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How Important Is Pricing When Choosing A Crowdfunding Platform?


Fees Matter Less Than You Might Think

With so many crowdfunding options the search process can quickly make your headspin, especially when it comes to pricing. This guide is to help reveal everything to consider when comparing pricing on crowdfunding sites.

Fundraisers naturally want to keep the most amount of donated money and rightfully focus on the fees as a major part of their decision. Unfortunately, evaluating a crowdfunding platform based solely on price can be deceiving. We’ve seen many people fall into the pricing trap because there isn’t clear information on how to evaluate fees, and often times low isn’t the best way to go. So let’s get to it!

Consideration 1: What Features Do You Need To Reach Your Goal?

A common end goal goes something like: “I want to withdraw the most amount of money I can at the end of my fundraiser.”

Lower fees is only one of the factors that contribute to helping you raise and keep the most money for your fundraiser. Crowdfunding is largely about promoting a story, and better promotional tools can significantly increase the amount of money you raise. When looking at different example campaigns, ask yourself how easy it is to make a donation or share the page on a social network. When you start your own campaign, ask yourself how important page customizations and personalized emails are to your goal. Often times sites with lower fees lack some of the core promotional pieces necessary to tell and share your story.

The bottom line is that stronger promotional features usually lead to more money donated, which in turn nets you more money raised. Here’s an example:


Consideration 2: How Important Is User Experience?

It turns out that user experience is a huge factor in how much money you can raise. For starters, the crowdfunding site needs to be well designed, secure, and help tell your story well. Rich media should be prominent, and visitors to your campaign will expect to see how their money will make a difference.

Pay attention to how easy it is to find the donation button and how frictionless it is to complete a donation. Make sure to investigate what prompts donors are shown after they donate – this plays a huge role in getting your campaign more exposure. Donors feel better when they are personally thanked and updated during the campaign, so we highly recommend sites that incorporate these features into the platform.

It’s now more important than ever to see how your page looks on a mobile phone. In many cases more than half of your visitors will be viewing your page from Facebook or an email on a mobile device and you’ll lose donors instantly if the page isn’t optimized.

Consideration 3: The Fine Print on Pricing & Fees

The one thing all crowdfunding sites have in common is fees that go to support the teams of people that develop and maintain the site.

A crowdfunding platform fee is usually split up into two parts:

  • Payment Processor Fee: Crowdfunding sites generally partner with a payment processor company to give you a great payments experience. Common payment processors include Wepay or Paypal and they specialize in processing your credit cards, keeping your donations secure, and making withdrawing your funds as frictionless as possible. The payment processing company charges a small transaction fee to campaign owner for this service.
  • Crowdfunding Transaction Fee: This platform fee is controlled by the crowdfunding site and may vary based what the platform thinks is fair. This fee covers business expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities and insurance.

The most common platform fees:

$0 Fee/Free. Be careful of sites that market that they don’t have fees. You will still be charged a 3% transaction for the payment processing fee. Instead of charging you for the crowdfunding transaction, these sites will instead automatically add a “suggested donation” (i.e platform fee) to the donation amount. Every donor must then decide to keep, change, or opt-out of this before completing their transaction This creates friction and it’s likely to cause a drop off in donations because of this less than optimal experience.

Goal Oriented Transaction Fees. Some crowdfunding sites will charge a significantly higher fee if the fundraising goal is not met. Even though you keep the money raised, it often comes at a premium. This makes choosing an appropriate goal that much more important. As with the flat fees, calculate a few different scenarios to see if the premium is worth it.

Flat Transaction Fee. Some sites offer a lower transaction but add a flat transaction fee on top of it. It may seem lower but it can actually net you less if the majority of your donations are $20 or less. For example:


Anticipate what your typical donor will give and run the numbers to see which option makes sense.

We Hope Our Guide Helps You Find The Right Crowdfunding Platform For Your Needs

We know the number of crowdfunding options is overwhelming and that pricing is a probably the biggest differentiator when making a decision , so we hope that these details make the process a bit less daunting. If you’re interested in learning about the Fundly approach to crowdfunding, please visit our features and pricing pages to learn more. We understand this can be overwhelming so we’re here to answer any questions you may have.

will Will Chang is Head of Product at Fundly.

Guest Blog: Library Dances Pilot Performance

By Cecily Stewart

Library Dances hopes to bring the best of all worlds together and create innovative performances that will both educate and inspire! 50 San Marcos students and 10 professional dancers are prepping for the premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Give of the Magi” and they need your help to get the program off the ground. 

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Inspired by Cecily’s story? Start raising money, we’d love to hear your story!

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Show Us Who You Love ♥ Photo Contest




Enter For A Chance To Win A $100 Giftcard And A Personalized Valentine From Fundly

Simply post a pic with you and your loved one with #FUNDLYLOVECHAIN to be automatically entered—and featured on this site!

Here’s How:

1. Head to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

2.Take or send us a photo of you and a loved one (BFF, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, pet, etc.) and tag them in the picture to show them how much you love him/her.

3. Use the hashtag #FundlyLoveChain to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

4. Love had no limits – You can enter as many times as you want by posting and tagging your loved ones. Just make sure to keep the love chain going



#FundlyGivesBack Winner: Delivered With Love


#FundlyGivesBack Winner: Delivered With Love

We had such a successful #FundlyGivesBack and were literally blown away by all your amazing campaigns. It was tough to pick a winner but we can only award one $100 prize. The campaign that stood out the most absolutely crushed it on Facebook and Twitter. They were always updating, tweeting, sharing, and mentioning their campaign and used the #FundlyGivesBack hashtag like it was going out of style :)

Check out everyone that used the #FundlyGivesBack hashtag. Without further adieu, the winner of #FundlyGivesBack is:

Winner: The Holden Flynn Fund 

Congrats to Nicole and Trey, you have an amazing support team!

Stay Up To Date On Future Contests And Fundraising Tips! 

(Hint…Hint: something may be coming sooner than you think! ;-)

Facebook    Twitter    Google+    Instagram

Guest Blog: 100 Pounds For Education

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 3.14.00 PM

By Alejandra Vila

I been working with youth for over 20 years now, I’m 43 years old and very passionate for life and my work. However, my  doctor recently told me that if I do not lose weight I will end with a heart attack. Since I don’t want to die and need motivation to change my daily habits, I’ve turned to crowdfunding.  Kids and education are my most important passions in my life, so here is the deal: For every dollar you donate, I will lose a pound, my goal is 100 pounds in a year that will translate to $10,000 dollars in donations to Community Schools in the Bay Area.
If 100 people donate $1 dollar per every pound I lose, in December 2014 I will weigh 200 pounds and local community schools will have a grant for $10,000 dollars. During the month of January I did very well and had lots of support. The scale is now a friend and a great tool, I always think “how much money will the kids in community schools will get…” and then jump into the scale… if you check the pictures there is an answer: 14 pounds that means with 23 supporters (so far and counting) I raised for the month: $322.00.
What are United Way of Bay Area Community Schools?
Community schools supports the complex needs of kids and families in poverty. United Way’s Community Schools transform public schools into neighborhood hubs where healthcare, food pantries, after-school programs, family engagement and parent education classes are available directly on school campuses. United Way’s education goal is to partner with schools and districts in low-income communities across the Bay Area to transform 200 schools into community hubs by 2020. (See more at:
What is it about community schools that inspires me?
The answer is simple in a very complex world. Losing weight is usually a very personal goal that is fueled by vanity, social norms and health concerns but usually a selfish act of taking care of self for own gain. I think I can turn that around using the health and well being of youth as beneficiary of my own personal gains and also create a system that will keep me accountable and motivate to reach my goal. As an extrovert, nothing is worth doing unless I have an army of supporters behind me. So here it is my lifelong passion for youth and education wrapped in a commitment to become healthier, live longer and be cuter! Everyone wins but specially the kids of our community schools here in the Bay Area. Drop me a line, donate and most of all, do change that matters to all and to you. Welcome to my journey as educator…

Check Out This Campaign

Inspired by Alejandra’s story? Start raising money, we’d love to hear your story!

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February #FundlyGivesBack Is Happening Now!


We’ve Lowered All Processing Fees On Donations To Your Campaign Today For #FundlyGivesBack!

All of us at Fundly are really feeling the love this week and wanted to give you something special for this month’s #FundlyGivesBack. For the next 24 hours our processing fee is 6.9% so get as many donations as you can.

Enter To Win Our Contest

But that’s not all, we’ve taken it a step further! Use #FundlyGivesBack on social media and you’ll be automatically entered into our contest to win $100 towards your campaign. We told you it was going to be good!

Make sure to check our hashtag board throughout the day to see where you stand on the leaderboard and what other campaign owners are doing. We’ll be on social media browsing your campaigns and tallying up all the shares, retweets, likes and mentions.

Not running a Fundly campaign but still want to be a part of #FundlyGivesBack? You can help by supporting a campaign in your area or browse by a category that interests you. Sharing with the hashtag gets you into the contest too.

Happy fundraising!



*Total processing cost will be 6.9% instead of 7.9%. The 6.9% includes the 3% credit card fee (not something we can control), and a reduction of our rate from 4.9% to 3.9% – simply a give-back from us to you! Learn more about the inspiration behind #FundlyGivesBack. 


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