While Dallasite social calendars are filled to the brim with philanthropic events, University Park resident Todd Wagner, CEO and founder of The Charity Network, wants to focus on digital fundraising.
Through Charity Network, Wagner has found a way to help charities accomplish the three things they want most: to reach high net-worth donors, access millennials, and get their content out to a wide audience.
On May 17 the organization, which is made up of three platforms – Charity Buzz, Prizeo, and Chideo – celebrated its Dallas launch at the home of Anne and Steve Stodghill in Dallas. Wagner began his remarks by comparing analog and digital spheres to an iceberg.
“Ten percent above the water is analog; but digital is the 90 percent below the surface where all the good stuff is that you can mine from,” he said.
At the event, approximately 275 people and 60 charities, from United Way to the Boy Scouts of America, were able to connect.
“As a base level [philanthropies] … are always in need of raising money. This is a new way for them to become involved,” said Stodghill, a longtime friend of Wagner.
When Wagner and Mark Cuban launched Broadcast.com 20 years ago, Wagner realized that companies were moving to a digital-first landscape. The two knew they could use that transition to their advantage.
Wagner studied the way Amazon and Netflix grew with a digital-first mindset. In 2014, Wagner founded Chideo, a content-driven fundraising platform that offers celebrities, nonprofits, and brands an easy way to quickly promote causes through unique and entertaining video content.
“Philanthropy has been a big part of my life for the last 15 years. I’ve also been in the media business for most of the last 15 years through 2929 productions. With that experience, what this really comes to is a combination of technology, media, and philanthropy,” Wagner said.
Wagner acquired two giant companies to expand his reach and break into today’s online philanthropic space. The first was Prizeo, a digital sweepstakes platform that enables influencers to use technology to mobilize their fan base to support chosen causes. It offers opportunities for users to donate in amounts as small as $10. He also purchased CharityBuzz, an online charity auction platform that has raised more than $150 million to date for its nonprofit clients.
“Only six percent of money is raised online and I see that as really an opportunity to try to change things,” Wagner said.