2,800 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 82 across North America and left millions without power, several crowdfunding sites are waiving their default operating fees to help individuals and businesses rebuild and return to normalcy.
“People want to help,” said Maurice Lopes, CEO of EarlyShares, the parent company of HelpersUnite. “They want to reach out and give $25 or $50 and know that it is going directly to a family in need to help fix their home or buy a hot meal.”
To qualify for fee-exempt financial relief through HelpersUnite, individuals have to create a brief video outlining their losses, which must total more than $2,500 in damages. They must also submit their address and social security number to HelpersUnite, verifying their status as U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Manhattan-based crowdfunding site Lucky Ant will also offer fee-exempt crowdfunding in order to assist local businesses affected by Sandy.
“I think in these situations a lot of donations come in from around the globe, but sometimes the little guys get left by the wayside — small businesses aren’t going to be getting assistance from the Red Cross,” Lucky Ant co-founder Jonathan Moyal told Street Fight on Wednesday. “The beauty of crowdfunding is that it will allow people to give right to those who need.”
The storm flooded the company’s server room, taking the site offline until early this morning. If access problems continue, business owners can email their requests directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no limit to the amount a business can raise through the platform, but Moyal recommends businesses aim for somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars.
The total economic damage from Sandy could run as high as $50 billion, according to the latest estimates from forecasting firm Eqecat.
Here in New York City (which this reporter calls home), public agencies and private companies are scrambling to repair the damage from “Superstorm Sandy” as quickly as possible. This morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority resumed service on some of the city’s subway lines for the first time since the storm hit, while power company ConEdison rushes to rebuild its devastated infrastructure and restore power to 659,000 blacked-out customers.