The non-profit business model is timeless: Celebrities and other well-to-do individuals identify a personal cause and encourage fans and followers to get involved–but the whole venture runs on the large donations of the fortunate few.
While Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins were still in business school, they attended a charity event that inspired them to change that equation altogether. The two classmates would have loved the opportunity to play basketball with Magic Johnson, but the price on the play date was a prohibitive $15,000. The incident got them thinking about a new way of running a charity venture–by expanding the playing field to include all interested parties.
Now they bring us Omaze, a project that offers fans “the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences that also support social missions.”
Omaze is no small-time operation: past partners include Lady Gaga, Modern Family, the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, Meet the Press and the cast of Glee. Here’s the kicker: the required donation for participants is only five dollars. That’s right, for five bucks the super-fan can enter to win the chance to hang out with the cast of his/her favorite show…and support a worthwhile charity in the process!
How are they able to run a successful operation on the strength of such tiny donations?