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Vacation for Karen Klein: Most Unique Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012
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Vacation for Karen Klein: Most Unique Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012

Editor's Note: Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the most successful, innovative, and unique crowdfunding campaigns of 2012. Last week’s category was “Most Funded,” and you can check out our recap with the year’s top five grossing campaigns here. This week’s category is "Most Unique" campaigns. The projects featured were chosen in a much more subjective manner than last week (which we selected by amount of money raised), so feel free to leave your own suggestions and links to favorite campaigns in the comments!

If a history book on crowdfunding will ever be published, 2012 will surely be remembered as the year of video games (with a paragraph, perhaps, dedicated to Apple product accessories).

But no less important was the emergence crowdfunding for charity, which really kicked off after an unfortunate incident in Greece, New York.

Back in June leaked a video showing Karen Klein, an elderly bus monitor, getting bullied by middle schoolers to tears. The video went viral and caught the attention of talk show hosts, who made Klein’s plight a national one. While many people wanted to show their support for the bus monitor, few had a practical way of doing so – until, that is, a stranger named Max Sidorov set up a crowdfunding campaign to give Klein a proper vacation.

What started off as a relatively modest initiative looking to raise $5000 became the most successful campaign to that point on Indiegogo. It exceeded its goal by 14,000 percent, raising a total of $703,123 from 32,249 backers.

The story, however, didn’t just end there. Hoping to spread the good will, another person also created a crowdfunding campaign to give Sidorov a vacation, looking to raise $2,500. It wasn’t quite as successful as Klein’s fundraiser, but it still tripled its goal, ending up with $7,465.

While Sidorov’s campaign for Klein wasn’t the first goodwill crowdfunding project created, it was arguably the most prominent, helping to put both Indiegogo and charitable crowdfunding in general on the map.

As for Klein? She used some of the money to go on that vacation and to retire, and the rest to set up her own anti-bullying foundation, which aims to “help teach kids about being kind, friendly, and playing nicely with others.”

For more on the story, check out the campaign page here. The previous campaigns we highlighted in the "Most Unique" category were uBiome/American Gut, check out the write-up here.

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