Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CharityBuzz Brings Good Will, Celebrities, And People Together

There is something innately right about celebrities wanting to do good. When they do, people take notice and are often willing to support a cause that is near and dear to the celebrity's heart.

New York-based CharityBuzz provides a vehicle for celebrities and organizations to do just that. They use mainstream and social media to build buzz around celebrity auctions that benefit any number of partnering nonprofit organizations.

The concept is quite simple. The celebrity or organization donates an item to be auctioned, with proceeds slated to benefit a favorite charity. Bidding begins eBay style, with a minimum bid, estimated value, and increments that depend on the item's value.

CharityBuzz Is Addictive For All The Right Reasons.

One look at the site and the bidding become addictive. You feel compelled to browse, tripping away time just to see what might be available. You might not even intend to bid, especially if you see some of the amounts.

The real draw, at first, is to take a look and see what is available. The sheer expansiveness of what’s up for auction is entertaining. The celebrities and the nonprofit organizations are creative in their approach.

You could bid on a meet and greet with Sheryl Crow, and take home a signed guitar to remember it. Proceeds (valued at $20,000, with bidding at $5,000) will benefit The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. The connection is obvious. Crow is a cancer survivor and has been a gracious donor ever since.

Or maybe you prefer to work out with Hugh Jackman, who is prepping for his next X-Men flick. His donation benefits The Global Poverty Project. Or maybe you want to meet Naomi Watts on the set of her upcoming film. She is auctioning this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to benefit World Orphans Foundation.

Or maybe you're looking for a luxurious experience on your own. Perhaps you will bid on a seven-night stay at Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island. Valued at $32,000, this gift will support Gabrielle's Angel Foundation. Or maybe you'll settle for a secondhand item, like a Honda Fury motorcycle donated and handpainted by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.

At $15,000, it seems like a deal to support the Japanese American National Museum and Music for Relief. So does the chance to play golf with Michelle Wie at Pebble Beach. Or an internship with Judith Ripka or Gotham Magazine. You get the idea.

How Does CharityBuzz Work And Are There Commissions?

Currently, CharityBuzz is managed by CEO and co-founder S. Coppy Holzman, a 25-year veteran with Internet and consumer products experience. He is credited with developing an upscale cause marketing fundraising niche, which is now gaining momentum. The Connecticut -based company recently moved to Manhattan.

There is no commission on the items and experiences. However, you will have to pay for shipping, handling, and processing. The minimum is $9.95, even on experiences. For items that need to be shipped, CharityBuzz includes a total estimate.

That is an admirable structure, especially because celebrities are able to raise more for their favorite charities. Beyond that, the site accepts corporate sponsorships. And some nonprofit organizations make arrangements for customized buttons and other materials.

Recently, Ralph Lauren’s Pink Pony Fund was added to the roster. Ralph Lauren is personally backing his support of programs for early diagnosis, research, education, and treatment of breast cancer.

You can bid on: a weekend at Lauren’s villa in Jamaica, Ralph Lauren dresses worn by supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, a tour of Lauren’s car collection, surfing lessons with Layne Beachley, artwork, jewelry, Ralph Lauren advertising props, and even the chance to have your dog star in a Ralph Lauren ad.

CharityBuzz Is A Liquid Hip Good Will Pick.

At least once a month, Liquid [Hip] highlights good will efforts undertaken by courageous people with big hearts. We don’t score them. That belongs to you.

If we did score it, I'd give high marks. For $125, I was the winning bidder for ballet shoes signed by New York City Ballet principal dancer Ashley Bouder.

Proceeds from this auction benefited the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a New York nonprofit that provides scholarships and grants to deserving Italian-American students. The foundation also organizes New York City’s annual Columbus Day Parade.

You can allow follow CharityBuzz on Facebook, but the auctions take place on the CharityBuzz site. It's innovative and has inspired some celebrities to be even more creative as they do good.
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