Charity for the Digital Age
Famed Texas entrepreneur revolutionizes charitable giving with latest venture
Only 6 percent of charitable giving is done online, but famed Dallas entrepreneur Todd Wagner is changing that. His newest venture, Charity Network, leverages technology to spread the word, raise money for nonprofits, and bring charitable giving into the 21st century.
Charity Network, which has offices in Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles, includes three platforms: CharityBuzz, Prizeo, and Chideo. To kick off the Dallas launch, Wagner and supporters — including key stakeholders from the city’s major nonprofits and their donors — gathered recently at the home of Anne and Steve Stodghill to celebrate this new way of making the world a better place.
Wagner, who is best known as the co-founder of Broadcast.com, which he and partner Mark Cuban sold to Yahoo, describes charitable giving in terms of analog versus digital versions. The analog version is the gala, and it’s quite popular — who doesn’t love a party? — but it comes with limitations and overhead costs.
CharityBuzz is the digital version, creating a virtual space where more than 200,000 donors from 110-plus countries help thousands of charities across the globe. Aimed at baby boomers, CharityBuzz allows donors to bid on anything from power lunches with Fortune 500 execs to walk-on roles in the latest Hollywood flick.
The second platform, Prizeo, addresses an emerging concern in the philanthropic world: sustainability. Prizeo is aimed at accessing millennials, the next wave of charitable donors. It’s accessible to any income level, and donations start as low as $10. Donors give to charity in exchange for a chance to win an amazing experience, like an intimate family dinner with Lady Gaga or a getaway with Will Ferrell.
Finally, Chideo teams up with charity partners and celebrity ambassadors to create compelling videos shared across a vast network of syndication partners like Virgin Airlines, Twitter, Facebook, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Founded in 2014, Chideo was the first of the three platforms, and it is focused on providing entertainment content to drive awareness and donations.
Wagner has always had a passion for philanthropy. He founded the Todd Wagner Foundation, focused on at-risk kids and residents of underserved communities, in 2001.
He later combined his interest in entertainment and business acumen to build other Wagner/Cuban Companies: 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres, and more. It’s this foundation of business meets entertainment meets philanthropy that motivated Wagner’s newest project, which also benefits from the celebrity relationships Wagner has cultivated throughout the years.
“I’m just trying to take everything I’ve learned and apply it to an industry that’s near and dear to my heart,” Wagner says.