Dwolla, the web-based payments platform, and Crowdtilt, the web-based crowdfunding platform, are formalizing Reddit’s capacity to tap into the power of the Internet as a force for good with today’s introduction of reddit Donate and reddit.Crowdtilt.com. To be clear, neither of these are official reddit products, but were built in conjunction with reddit for use by its community leaders – or in reddit lingo, “subreddit moderators.”
Dwolla’s service makes it easy for them to embed buttons on their page’s (their subreddit’s) sidebar to raise money for a given charity, while CrowdTilt offers both official and more informal fundraising opportunities.
Already, there are several causes which reddit users can support via the new Dwolla-powered buttons, including Doctors without Boarders, DonorsChoose.org, Charity: Water, FCancer, Girls Who Code, and more. The Dwolla option was also built using technology from Stripe, the maker of a payments system for developers. With reddit Donate, the focus is more on non-profit fundraising, as you can tell by the line-up of supported charities. Specifically, the groups which reddit Donate supports are limited to those with 501(c)(3) status. (More details on the requirements are on reddit’s own blog.)
Meanwhile, reddit.Crowdtilt.com had already been in action for the /r/breakingbad fundraiser, as well as the reddit PUNTS Cancer and radio reddit’s Best of Campaign, for example. It has actually been running since the beginning of August, but was not open to the public until today. Notably, this tool makes it possible for reddit users to collect funds for causes that are not related to official non-profits (like when we raised money for Alexia’s new headphones!). That goes a long way towards helping redditors support each other as well as official groups and NGO’s.
There are also some differences in pricing between the two donation options. Crowdtilt is waiving its fee for its service for this collaboration, but charges 2.5% for credit card processing. Dwolla is free for transactions under $10 and 25 cents for those higher. Meanwhile, Stripe is 2.9% + $0.30 for any transaction.
We’re also hearing that the dual announcement caught the folks at Crowdtilt a little off guard – they didn’t know that reddit was working with both them and Dwolla simultaneously. No one’s mad, but it was a little surprising to find out after the fact that the launch was not exclusive. (Dwolla claims they were aware, however. Hmm.) We’re also hearing that reddit is now on the lookout for more partners going foward.
But for reddit users, it’s the more the merrier, we think. Reddit is home to a wide variety of content, and because of the nature of some of its content (seriously, don’t explore too deep into some of those sicker verticals), the site can sometimes be misunderstood. But it actually has the potential to do a lot of good and raise awareness – like when it rallied behind the now infamous cause of the verbally abused bus driver Karen Klein who ended up with over $702K for her extremely bad day at work. Members also raised funds for a three-year old’s bone marrow transplant, which saved the child’s life. Now those same type of fundraising events have more structured and accessible tools for redditors to work with, as need be. And there’s not much you can say that’s bad about that. Unless you you’re a troll.