Tilt CEO James Beshara on His Biggest Startup Lesson

James Beshara Horizontal CropYou know crowdfunding is approaching the mainstream when the practice gets skewered in the latest season premiere of “South Park,” Tilt CEO and Co-Founder James Beshara joked to a roomful of budding entrepreneurs Wednesday night at a San Francisco Changemakers Under 30 event.

In a wide-ranging talk hosted by General Assembly and moderated by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kristen V. Brown, Beshara shared the story of his startup journey and the lessons he’s learned along the way. He also provided a deep dive into the crowdfunding space and shared several of Tilt’s newest developments.

Beshara started the evening by explaining the non-profit origins of Tilt, and how crowdfunding is only on the cusp of its overall potential. Only 9 million people have contributed to crowdfunding campaigns and 400,000 people had started their own campaigns, he noted—a mere rain drop in the world’s ocean of people.

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6 Tips for Running a Successful Nonprofit Fundraiser

Dr. Dan Kelly speaks at fundraising event to help tilt his campaign to combat the ebola crisis.

Dr. Dan Kelly speaks at fundraising event to help tilt his campaign to combat the ebola crisis.

Congratulations! You, empathetic reader, are a kind person who cares deeply about a specific foundation or cause, and you’ve decided to hold a fundraiser to reach your financial goal.

Making your fundraiser a success, however, is harder than it seems. While it is technically easy to create an online fundraiser (just two swipes on the Tilt app, for one) and hope that millions will come pouring in overnight, the reality is that fundraisers take serious effort. They require dedication to the cause and active maintenance.

But getting your campaigns to tilt, or reach their stated goals, can be a snap if you follow these simple tips.

1. Set a reasonable goal. While bigger may seem better, the truth is that a super high goal may seem intimidating to potential donors. If they feel as if you’re unlikely to hit your goal, they’ll be less likely to donate, and vice versa. Instead, set an attainable—yet still aspirational—goal to help build momentum.

2. Write a good description. Let your donors know exactly what their money will go towards. Write a clear description of what you are fundraising for and where the money will go. The better your storytelling, the more people will feel compelled to help you.

3. Tap your social networks. Unless your nonprofit is affiliated with an A-list star, top-tier media is unlikely to write about your campaign. The way way to drum up attention is to start with your friends, family and colleagues. Get them to promote your campaign on all of their social channels, like Illuminate the Arts did for their “Save the Bay Lights” campaign, and encourage their friends to do the same. If you want to get really organized, create a catchy hashtag for your supporters to use, so you can measure how far your message is being spread.

4. Keep your donors updated. To keep your campaign top-of-mind, always remembers to send your followers updates about how the campaign is progressing: how close you are, if you receive any particularly big donations, if you’re received any media mentions.

5. Host an event. Another way to keep your campaign relevant and timely for potential donors is to throw an event. You can use the occasion to further teach the uninitiated about your cause and to nudge those that have already donated to give more, if they are able to. Tilter Ariella Laeffer, who started a campaign to raise funds to help combat the ebola crisis, held a cocktail party and talk in her final stretch, and quickly reached her goal.

6. Have fun! In between your tactical promotions and hard work, don’t forget that you’re doing helping a good cause and running a campaign can also be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience. You’ll get to meet new friends and connect with like-minded people, all while supporting something you genuinely care about. Plus: positive emotions become contagious and will make people want to contribute.

Effectively nurturing a nonprofit fundraiser from start to finish can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort!

Tilters, what tips do you have for running a successful nonprofit campaign? Let us know in the comments.

Ready to launch a non-profit fundraiser? Start here

Top Tilts Tuesday: College FOMO Edition

blItzS0kdtBenbHYI5u4YAJxukjN6qHqVWPpdXUkBLAWhat are your plans for the weekend? Probably way less exciting that what our college tilters have planned. They’re been busy setting up fraternity rushes, luaus and tailgates, and generally having an awesome time—in between attending classes and studying, of course.

In this week’s edition of Top Tilts Tuesday, we present some of the college activities you wish you were doing.

AXO Flash Tat Packages

Donna Quinlan, who attends Tilt’s top party school the University of Texas at Austin, is trendier than you. That’s why she’s set up a tilt for temporary tattoos that AXO ladies can wear on their arms, legs, foreheads or really, wherever they want.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.38.09 PMBid Day

Louisiana State University student William Murdock tilted on behalf of Theta Xi, helping organize the sale of 95 bid day t-shirts in “comfort colors.”

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Mile High Takedown

To help cheer on his fave team, the Seattle Seahawks, this past weekend, UC Berkeley student Ryan Atkinson tilted for a tailgate to watch the Seahawks-Broncos game.

Pi Kapp Salem Redsox Rush Event

Virginia Tech student Luke Schmiegel set up a tilt to get his Pi Kapp Salem brothers to chip in for a Salem Red Sox rush event. 58 contributors helped the event tilted at $880.

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Saturday Luau Special 

47 folks chipped in funds for Alex Apostoleris‘s  luau this past Saturday. The Northeastern University student was able to tilt $470 towards tropical-theme grub and ‘ono grinds, and a awesome time was had by all.

Start tilting now!Start here

Tilt Hack: How to Impress Your Friends and Rack Up Credit Card Points

Want an all-expenses paid vacation to Aruba? Of course you do!

An easy way to score free vacations is by accumulating reward points on specialty credit cards. And the fastest way to earn points is to tilt lots of tabs with your friends. This way, you’ll be a hero for providing a quick and easy way to split and pay for group bills, while you also get the points for taking care of more than just your portion. It’s a bonafide way of racking up points while providing your friends with a great experience!

Case in point: You’re at a restaurant with 5 friends and you’ve just been presented the bill. One friend owes another money, one only has cash, and the waitstaff has refused to accept more than 2 credit cards. What a headache! With Tilt, you never have to find yourself in this scenario again.

Just tilt your tab in seconds with three easy steps:

  1. Set up a Tilt. Use the Tilt app to create a new campaign with just two button pushes, as you continue to engage in witty conversation with your friends.
  2. Upload a copy of the tab or receipt. Use your smartphone to take a picture of the bill and upload it as the image for your tilt, so everyone can see what they’re paying for. This is particularly helpful for larger groups, or for paying bills for events that took place a while ago. Snap a photo and be on your way!
  3. Send out the link! Friends can easily pay you the correct amount in two clicks, and you’ll have all of the funds within a day.

Props to our Austin Playmakers for sending us this handy tip about how they use Tilt — both to help friends, but also to build towards the things they’re excited about.

Ready to get tilting? Start Here

Foo Fighters Play Tilt-Enabled “Rock and Roll Miracle” Show in RVA

Evan Robinson Photography(Robey Martin is a writer and guest blogger for the Tilt blog. She is based in the awesome city of Richmond, Virginia. Instagram @callmerobey Twitter @robeymartin )

“You know, I’ve been a musician a long time. I’ve played a lot of shows. But I have never played a show like this one before,” said one very amped Dave Grohl at the historic Foo Fighters concert in Richmond, Virginia, September 17th.

The unusual journey for Grohl and his bandmates to this stage started with just four Richmond guys and the crowd funding website Tilt.

Now it is being called a “rock and roll miracle.”

The mood was unbelievably upbeat all night, boosted by Grohl’s magnetic stage presence. Two songs in, a sardined audience of 1,500 fans held each other up while they fist-pumped, clapped to sporadic rhythms, and sang unabashedly word for word more than twenty-five of the band’s greatest and newest hits.

In the balcony was Grohl’s mom, to whom he gave a touching shout-out stating that he loves Virginia but when he is singing about it, it is specifically for her.

The opening band Avers—an ensemble of talents with the drummer from the Head and the Heart and a member from FarmVegas—played a solid set of original rockers that surely earned them some new fans in the audience.

But tonight was about the fans—namely the 1400 fans that supported the Tilt that brought the night to fruition. Before the Foo Fighters took the stage, a boisterous Andrew Goldin and his three compatriots took the time to express thanks to the crowd that brought them their dream (raising over $70,000 and enticing the band to make a stop in Richmond not on their tour schedule). The band hadn’t played in Richmond since 1998.

Evan Robinson Photography

Goldin was one of four individuals who initiated the tilt and ultimately raised enough cash to lure the Foo Fighters to perform one of the first ever crowd funded concerts. Citing the power of social media as the catalyst, Goldin raised a beer to the audience.

Who knows if this success story could possibly change the future of concert business? The idea was clearly attractive to the band who played more that two and a half hours with Grohl stopping to pay an endearing tribute to Dave Brockie, the recently deceased member of revered local act, Gwar. Grohl (and company) encored in true Foo Fighter fashion starting with ‘Aurora’ and ending with “Best of You’.

“I hope we can do this again,” Grohl told the ecstatic crowd.

“Ladies and f***ing gentleman, honestly, this is f***ing awesome. We are definitely coming back to this place.”

The Set List:

Foo Fighters Set List

Ready to bring your favorite band to your hometown? Start Here

Tilt Unveils Updated, iOS 8-Ready App

fTk7y_FBPit_gLUdSuo1MBAMNOCU-H8EiuR_vG6GSx8As everyone in the world knows, Apple made a series of new announcements last week centered around their new iPhones and Apple Watches.  While new hardware is certainly a crowd-pleaser, for me, the most interesting thing that Apple announced was Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments solution that allows customers to pay for their favorite things simply by touching their Apple device to one of 220,000 sales terminals. More importantly for developers, Apple Pay also gives mobile apps the ability to easily and securely integrate with their customers’ payment information for a more frictionless user experience.

Here at Tilt, we are obsessed with providing the easiest way to pool money with friends, so we’re happy to introduce our updated and iOS 8-ready app, available now exclusively on the App Store. Mobile is an incredibly important platform for Tilt as mobile phone usage skyrockets and more and more people are adopting mobile devices as a secure payment method. Our new app provides you with the fastest and easiest way to pay with your group on the go.

Here are some of the cool new features:

    • Improved new user registration to get started faster
    • Create a Tilt with less finger taps
    • Added iOS 8 Today Widget so admins can monitor their active Tilts
    • Easier sharing via Facebook, Twitter, email, and SMS
    • Support for Canadian users
    • Updated visual interface
    • Contribute to Tilts in seconds
    • Support for custom questions campaigns

Additionally, since the Tilt iOS app is free and it’s also free for Tilt users to collect funds, you can pool money with your friends absolutely gratis!

Unlike other apps, which only provide a limited set of features and only allow users to contribute to campaigns, the Tilt iOS app gives users the full functionality of Tilt.com from their pocket. We’ve made it even easier to collect and contribute money with your friends in seconds. Tilt is also the only true group payment app. (Other mobile apps only facilitate one-to-one payments resulting in multiple transactions for one expense.)

So want to split the check for a group dinner or ski house rental for a weekend? The new Tilt iOS can make it happen.

Download the New App Here

Tilt’s Top 20 Party Schools of 2014

Tilt Top Party Schools Ranked

 

Fall semester is back in session, and we all know what that means—tailgates, party buses, rush, and orientation parties.

There are a lot of campuses out there that claim to do all these things bigger and better than everyone else. Then you have rankings from places like The Princeton Review (yes, the same site that helped you prep for the SAT), which thinks it knows who parties the hardest. Right. We’ll take it from here, boys.

Given that we see—and help—college students throw parties every day, we at Tilt tapped our data science team to use our real social data to determine the Top Party Schools for 2014.  To scientifically determine the top party school, we used our “Tilt Social Index” by combining relevant factors such as number of parties per campus, the type of parties thrown (i.e., back-to-school parties, tailgates, etc.), the number of contributors per tilt, and momentum behind the campaign (how quickly it reached its goal). We deemed that the number of contributors per tilt was a better social indicator than the total amount of money raised, since party epicness grows as more people—and not necessarily dollars—join in (though every tilt pooled considerable funds).

The average back-to-school tilt so far this year has raised $787 with 29 contributors (way more attended each party, of course.) According to our research, the top party school is… drumroll please… the University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘em Horns! UT Austin saw over 92 parties registered on Tilt during the first two weeks of the school year.

Here are the top party schools in the country:

1. University of Texas at Austin (98.5)

2. University of Mississippi (97.1)

3. University of Alabama (96.2)

4. Arizona State University (94.5)

5. Louisiana State University (93.2)

6. UC Santa Barbara (92.0)

7. University of Georgia (91.6)

8. West Virginia University (91.3)

9. Miami University – Ohio (90.9)

10. San Diego State University  (90.2)

11. University of Maryland (89.7)

12. Florida State University (88.8)

13. University of Florida (88.1)

14. University of Arizona (87.2)

15. University of Massachusetts Amherst (86.2)

16. University of Southern California (85.6)

17. Pennsylvania State University (85.1)

18. University of Wisconsin Madison (84.0)

19. Texas Christian University (83.8)

20. Bowling Green State University (82.1)

Congrats to UT Austin, Ole Miss, Bama, ASU, and LSU for scooping up the top 5 spots. This is our first annual top party school rankings, next year is a whole new ball game…

Think your school parties harder than the schools on the list? Prove it to us at Tilt.com. Plus, first-time users, get $10 towards your first tilt with the code “BACKTOSCHOOL”!

Click Here To Start

Top Tilts: College Apparel Items

School’s back in session and the temperature’s cooling down. Now’s the perfect time to get your friends—or fellow club members—to get together and tilt some new threads for the fall semester.

Here’s a few ideas:

1. A Rowing Jacket. Need to bundle up for early morning crew practice? Try tilting something warm to wear, like this grey Patagonia tilted by a Columbia University Heavyweight Rowing crew member.

Columbia_MockUp
2. Hats. Show off your school or team spirit with a baseball hat that you’ve personalized.

3. Fraternity Rush Shirts. Need all your pledges to hurry up and just pay for their dang shirts already? Send them an tilt to make sure all costs are covered.

THETACHIRUSHart2
4. Bid Day Tanks. Ladies, if tilting tees are just a bit too declasse for your bid day, we’d recommend tilting a tank top instead.

5. Branded Koozies. Okay, this one’s more of an accessory than an apparel item. But really, how else would you complete a tailgating outfit?

DrinksWellWithOthersKoozie

Ready to tilt some threads? Start Here

Tilt/Open: Uncle Andy’s Jerky Brings Savory Meat Goodness to the Masses

Tilt Open Uncle Andy's JerkyAndy Hanenberg didn’t set out to be a jerky entrepreneur. The founder of Uncle Andy’s Jerky went to school for recreational management and then photography. But roughly two years ago, the 31-year old got into Crossfit, which led to the Paleo diet, which led to a desire to create a meaty, but still tasty, snack.

“Most paleo food takes like crap,” says Hanenberg with a laugh. “So I wanted to take a paleo staple—jerky—and make it more flavorful.”

Hanenberg—who began shipping out his first batch of jerky last week—began his adventure by buying a meat slicer from a hardware store on credit, and personally making his first batch for friends. After getting affirmation that his jerky was tasty, he started making more batches and attending meat processing seminars, so he could learn how to avoid mold growth, work with regulators like the USDA and various states’ Departments of Health (NYC, for example, doesn’t allow the sale of grade B maple syrup), and figure out the best way to produce his product.

Originally, Hanenberg says he wanted to set up his own facility. However, he quickly realized that as the sole owner and employee—he crowdfunded some production costs on Tilt/Open but hasn’t taken outside investments—it was going to be incredibly difficult to sell and produce everything on his own. Instead, he found a meat processor in Ohio to produce his meat and a spice company in Colorado to produce all of his unique flavors. He also uses Shopify as his ecommerce platform and leans on a talented artist friend to design his packaging, so he’s not tied into a million different expenses.

Hanenberg says he’s thankful for the crowdfunding support he received along the way. Right from the start, he knew he didn’t want investors, but also wasn’t sure if donors would find jerky a compelling enough product to donate to. Luckily, he found Tilt Open right before his campaign launched, appreciating how Tilt’s platform let him maintain sales on his own brand-specific webpage, as opposed to forcing customers to go to a third-party site to make their donation.

As a traveling salesman who’s currently working out of a vintage camper-turned-popup store, Hanenberg says, “It was pretty awesome that I could just bring up my company’s domain name on an iPad and have people look it at and instantly contribute. I’ve used it at a couple events and it worked out pretty well.”

“Crowdfunding is definitely an interesting beast,” he says.

Start a Tilt Open campaign now!Begin here

Top Tilts Tuesday: Business School MBA Edition

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It’s not just undergrads that are hitting the books again. Graduate schools are back in session as well, and both groups are tilting up a storm!  Our b-school tilters, we’ve noticed, have been particularly busy throwing a ton of awesome MBA-related tilts. Here are a few of our favorites from the last week.

Wharton 30th Birthday Bar Crawl — To help celebrate their friend Ben’s “dirty 30″ birthday milestone, the friends of one lucky Wharton student threw an epic party bus and bar/golf extravaganza that included round-trip party bus transportation, a t-shirt (which doubled as a bar golf scorecard), epic prizes and treats for the birthday boy. 

bar golf!

HBS LatAm Club’s Gatsby Party— The first official party at Harvard Business School, this 1920s-themed event sold out at 1,150 tickets. Partying at a venue with a speakeasy vibe, HBS first and second years “brought it” by dressing to the nines in 20s attire! Check out their event page here.

latamgastbyparty

Kellogg Tailgates and Party Buses – Students at Kellogg are currently putting together a series of tailgates, but wanted to launch early tickets for a party bus to take students to/from the November game against Notre Dame. The first bus sold out within one day, so they were able to tilt a second soon after! Check ‘em out here.

2nd Annual HBS Yacht Day – Drop Messages hosted a 300-person daytime yacht party for HBS students the Monday of Labor Day Weekend. Since both first and second years were able to attend, the event was the perfect opportunity for everyone to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Check out the epic photo album here.

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Haas Cohort Social Funds – To add to their limited social fund, one cohort decided to tilt some self-funding to give them a wider budget. Check it out here.

Tilters, what are you tilting this month?

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