During COVID-19, These Entrepreneurs Are Putting the ‘Fun’ in Fundraising

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / August 20, 2020
These Entrepreneurs Are Getting Americans to Give During COVID-19

We all want to give back, but let’s face it: In times like these, it’s tough. 

With the economy on shaky ground, Americans are focused on their own finances. This past April, the U.S. personal savings rate hit an all-time high of 33%. 

Where does that leave fundraisers? With an uphill climb. To get Americans to give, these entrepreneurs are making the experience fun:

1. Brett Riley

Mom says “Be safe, wear a helmet,” but what’s the fun in that? Go Fast Don’t Die is a motorcycle lifestyle brand that leans into thrills. Founded by Brett Riley, Go Fast Don’t Die sponsors an annual motorcycle ride that’s equal parts exciting and philanthropic. 

This September, Go Fast Don’t Die is bringing bikers together for The Devilstone Run. On this three-day motorcycle trip through Wyoming, riders cruise from Devil’s Tower National Monument to Yellowstone National Park (hence the name Devilstone). 

The best part? All proceeds — plus whatever bikers spend along the way — go to small businesses on the route that have been affected by COVID-19.

2. Mark Jigarjian and Jon Kilmer

Most musicians don’t aim to put their listeners to sleep. Ambient music duo The Snoozers, composed of stand-up comedian Mark Jigarjian and musician Jon Kilmer, proudly does just that.

But the Bad Boys of Sleep have their sights set on more than a musical album: Using their Spotify streaming revenue, they’re fundraising for a feature-length film called Day Drinkers

Based on real events that happened in the supposedly haunted Freetown State Forest, Day Drinkers follows three friends who go on a rescue mission. When one of their wives is kidnapped, the trio strikes out to save her from a satanic cult. 

All supporters have to do? Head over to Spotify, and start listening. 

3. Matt Czarnecki, Bennet Byerley, and André Monteiro

As undergrads at Yale University, Czarnecki, Byerley, and Monteiro met in a dorm room to create Verb Energy. After trying 127 recipes, they finally perfected their energy bars. Containing just 90 calories, Verb’s bars contain as much caffeine as a shot of espresso.

Once COVID-19 struck, Verb’s co-founders realized they could give a jolt to frontline healthcare workers. Through its #VerbLove campaign, Verb has donated more than 500,000 bars to more than 15,000 healthcare workers in all 50 states. 

For every two bars bought, one is earmarked to caregivers. Customers can also purchase bars directly for nurses, doctors, and first-responders, which are then shipped by Verb. 

How do workers on the front line of the pandemic get their bars? All they have to do is text Verb and ask. According to Czarnecki, Verb gets thousands of messages per day. 

4. Chad Jernigan and Zachary Gordan

In 2015, Jernigan and Gordan founded DIFF Eyewear in 2015 with a mission: to make eyewear affordable, fashionable, and socially conscious. DIFF’s “buy a pair, give a pair” approach echoes that of Tom’s Shoes, which became a footwear phenomenon all but overnight.

Each pair purchased through DIFF sends a pair of reading glasses to someone in need. To date, the company has donated more than 1.5 million pairs of glasses to people who need corrective lenses. 

This year, however, DIFF is taking its donations to a new level: Whenever someone buys a pair of sunglasses or blue-light glasses, DIFF helps pay for eye exams, surgeries, glasses, and medicine via its partnership with Sightsavers.

5. Ron Rice 

Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, Americans are missing their beach vacations this summer. To “bring the beach inside,” Hawaiian Tropic created a scented candle called Beachside (Inside). For $25, customers can make their homes smell like — you guessed it — Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen.

Where do those dollars go? All proceeds from candle sales benefit the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving the nation’s beaches and shorelines. Combating beachside erosion and supporting seaside businesses are the ASBPA’s top priorities

Entrepreneurs are experts at getting Americans to pull out their wallets. Even as the economy struggles, these leaders aren’t focused on their own companies; they’re using their talents to support worthy causes. To customers and other entrepreneurs, they’re proving that giving back and having a good time can, in fact, go hand in hand.

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Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.

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