Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 5/22/2021 – Linda Hansen, Ph.D., is the CEO and her daughter Jasmine Toomalatai is the Co-founder of Fund Duel Inc. The innovation of Fund Duel, a gamified online fundraising platform derived from her PhD studies on the neurochemical and psychological motivational system of humans in both positive and negative directions. She also found that there was a lack of innovation in the online fundraising sector and developed Fund Duel to address this need and also to capitalize on the motivational reward system in humans to get involved in raising money and awareness for good causes.”
What organizations are finding is that instead of 300 people in a ballroom, they can capitalize from views and donations from thousands of unseen participants spread across a broad expanse.” – Linda Hansen
Tell us about your company, Fund Duel, Inc.
Our company, founded by my daughter and me, is a disruptive, gamified fundraising platform that is revolutionizing the giving space. Our platform has a unique secret sauce. It combines team-based competition with powerful photo and video-based challenges. It is a recipe that creates supercharged fundraising. Followers can instantly donate and share on their social media. It is slick, mobile-optimized, and works famously.
What led you and your daughter to launch Fund Duel?
There were several sources of inspiration. One source was my Ph.D. research on the neurochemical and psychological motivational system of humans. I recognized that humans are equally motivated by neurochemicals such as oxytocin towards positive behaviors as other chemicals that reward destructive, addictive behaviors.
We created Fund Duel to combine powerful motivations innately built into our biological, psychological, and spiritual composition to do good and to get involved in collaborative problem solving. This includes teamwork, competition, winning prizes, social media sharing (oxytocin), humor, emotionally laden video content, creativity, and more. My daughter Jasmine and I also saw the exquisite power of the ALS ice bucket challenge that raised over $115 million in just over two months using the power of the masses getting involved in a crazy-fun video challenge. It took the world by a storm and went viral after celebrities and athletes joined. It not only raised significant money but also social awareness of a horrific disease. We imagined that we could create a challenge-based platform that capitalized on the galvanizing force behind the successful “ice bucket challenge.” We envisioned democratizing the giving industry in the same Way that YouTube democratized the music business. We asked the question, why should there be a consistent “privilege of giving” dominated by high-net-worth individuals and the executives in the C-Suite of corporations when there is a greater energizing and unifying force found in collective giving? At the core of every soul is a yearning to make a difference. Fund Duel is the proven solution: gamified and democratized fundraising. Fund Duel allows all of us to solve world problems together. So this is how Fund Duel was born, and it is a wonderful baby that is igniting a firestorm of interest across the world.
What are some of the tools to help with fundraising?
Great question…. our platform uses the tools of fun, lively team-based competition. Team captains provide leadership and the potent magic needed to enlist and encourage engagement from team members and donors. Our platform is so easy and flexible that team captains can come from any category you can dream up. For instance, they could be friends and family, celebrities and social influencers, entire corporations, divisions of organizations, different cities or countries, congregation vs minister, principals and teachers vs students, the orchestra vs the choir, characters from a movie or video game, and on and on…. the possibilities are endless. One of the funniest and most competitive Fund Duels we put together was cats vs. dogs for the Humane Society. I was not surprised that the cat lovers kept donating every time the dog lovers surged ahead. In the case of Hot August Nights virtual classic car show, the intense rivalry that fueled extra participation and donations were favorite makes and models of classic cars. The teams were: Chevrolet vs Dodge vs Ford vs European classic cars. Is it any surprise that Chevrolet won????
In addition to fun competition, each team engages their followers in a fun creative pho to/video-based challenge. Patterned after the ALS ice bucket challenge, selfies are shared on social media and donations are made directly to the photo. These challenges allow corporations to engage their employee base or sports teams to involve their fans. St Jude Research Hospital created a wildly successful Fund Duel with their Miami Chapter. They used media social influencers from the Miami area and a corporate sponsor as team captains. The challenge “smash a cake to smash pediatric cancer” was fun, captivating, and enthusiastically shared all over the Caribbean and globally. The ROI for their corporate sponsors was stunning!!!
What organizations are finding is that instead of 300 people in a ballroom, they can capitalize from views and donations from thousands of unseen participants spread across a broad expanse.
Influencers are using Fund Duel to fundraise for their favorite charities. Tell us about “Selfies with a Purpose.”
This is the age of video communication and the selfie is used to connect people virtually. There is great power in a “selfie,” and my daughter and I thought that we should use that harness that magic for raising money and awareness for good causes. Altruism is encouraged when people share a video or photo to raise awareness of good causes, It is further rewarded when they win prizes for getting the most shares or donations. Many campaigns provide random prizes for funniest video, most colorful or inspiring photo or most adorable upload. This is how we came up with the term “elsie” or using a “selfie” for a good purpose and thinking more of others than self. We now use selfies that are photo and video based in all Fund Duel challenges. One of our initial campaigns raised money and awareness for refugees that were in dire need in Bangladesh. Even though it was a very serious cause, the challenge was to upload a video or photo of yourself or a group jumping into a huge pair of pants, representing “jumping into the cause.” Some of the videos were hilarious and were widely shared.
Since humor is shared 25 times more than other emotions, many causes see an advantage of approaching their campaigns with a light-hearted touch.
It is thrilling to see how social influencers, acting as team captains, reach out to their followers and engage them in fun challenges to raise money for causes that they are passionate about. The fans can win fun memorabilia or experiences with their favorite heroes. Soccer stars create challenges to do tricks with the ball and football players invite their fans to do a funny end zone dance. One duel we are anticipating will be at the end of this summer 2021 with a former producer of American Idol using 15-20 Hollywood celebrities. They will team up with major corporate sponsors and be featured in a two-day globally televised virtual concert to raise money for vetted charities all over the world. The impact of this campaign and many others will be enormous.
How can celebrities join forces with Fund Duel?
We have made it easy for celebrities, athletes, musicians, and social influencers (an increasing force in the ‘celebrity” world) to raise money exponentially for their charity or project by engaging their fans in a fun challenge/competition. The “ask” to fans is simple: get your phones and join the challenge. Celebrities may choose to invite other celebrity friends to join the Fund Duel which will ignite millions more fans and followers to get involved. Prizes include experiences with the celebrity (a Zoom call or backstage pass etc.….). Sometimes, celebrities do not have much bandwidth, so Fund Duel is great for them. They are not required to make an appearance and can engage their fan- base virtually. We assist in branding the campaign page. Once the page is created, the next step is inviting others through all channels of communication to get involved. Anyone interested in raising money can contact us at www.fundduel/start.
We just did a magnificent campaign with Nick Lowry, former famed kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs. Through a handful of team captains, he raised significant money and awareness for his own non-profit called Champions for the Homeless. We are now anticipating a Fund Duel between more former NFL players with the help of Michael Dotterer, former president of the alumni association. We are also putting together a global campaign with Generation Hip Hop Global that will include Hip Hop Artists from around the world (64 countries) benefiting vetted causes in every country. We have another dozen in the queue. It is off the charts exciting to witness the amplification of campaigns in so many brilliant ways. It is quite humbling and gratifying to witness.
Tell us about some of the trending duels.
The ‘trending duels’ section on the landing page of www.fundduel.com demonstrates the versatility of campaigns that can be deployed on Fund Duel. It showcases celebrities and media influencers, authors, musicians, concerts, sporting events, virtual galas, schools, sports organizations, etc… These duels highlight a mix of campaigns from large charities and companies to small, yet successful campaigns put together by local grassroots organizations. Fund Duel campaigns typically exceed their goal in funds raised and viewership and engagement is stellar and as a result donor rolls are significantly increased. The important thing for us as founders is that hearts are touched, and the public is made aware of magnificent causes. For example, ten schools for the deaf in the Northeast held a very moving hand-signing competition (instead of lip-syncing) to a song that they cannot hear. Each school created their own creative video together. The videos bring tears to your eyes as you watch these precious and creative students. The prize for the winning school, the Pennsylvania School for the deaf was an appearance of famous deaf actor, CJ Jones who appeared in the movie Avatar. He came to the school at Fund Duel’s expense and gave a heart-warming and inspiring message of hope to the students at that school. https://www.fundduel.com/index.php/duel/91
We have two campaigns running now for NAMI, National Association of Mental Health, and the Pierce County, Washington Chapter is doing a fun challenge to smash or break the stigma of mental health by smashing an egg or balloon that has a stigma of mental health written on that egg or balloon. The videos are great to watch and are shared on social media: https://www.fundduel.com/index.php/duel/645
It will be fun to see what creative and cool new campaigns will be featured in the future on our trending duels.
Many people are using Fund Duel to augment their events. Please share examples.
Fund Duel is breaking into new territory by raising money for good causes at sporting events, corporate conferences, music and film festivals, and of course traditional fundraising events such as live and virtual galas, golf tournaments, walkathons, and runs. Fund Duel makes these events more fun and engaging. Tables compete against tables at a gala, teams form to compete against each other at walk-a-thons, concertgoers compete for an opportunity to meet artists backstage, and prizes are always a great driving motivator. Fund Duel expands campaigns beyond a live audience and can potentially include hundreds of thousands of participants spread across the globe. Anyone can join the challenge by uploading their videos and photos on their phones and share with others on Facebook, Twitter, or text and email the URL to others. We easily embed a screen on any Fund Duel campaign page wherein a virtual/live event is broadcast allowing viewers to see what is happening on the leaderboard while watching the event. Our strategic partnership with YouStream provides up to six simultaneous live feeds from different locations and can be maximized or minimized by the user or administrator. It is an amazing new technology that further separates us from any other fundraising platform. We are anti-boring and depend on the creativity of our fundraising partners to reach out of “yesterday” and step into “tomorrow” with our platform. We have great visions of raising money in incredible venues in the future including the next Olympics, World Economic Forum, World Expo, and Fifa World Cup tournament. Why not???
We debuted Fund Duel at the USA Sumo competition in 2019 in Long Beach California. The duel was between 3,000 fans from the East Stands and 3,000 in the West stands. The fundraising competition lasted the entire day. The Fund Duel leaderboard was projected on the jumbotron intermittently so fans could see which team was winning. Additionally, fun video and photo uploads showing audience members striking their most intimidating Sumo pose could be projected onto the Jumbotron. Sumo swag was tossed into the winning stands at different points during the tournament, including rubber sumo dolls. Fan reaction was insane! The great news is that a grand prize was won (small statue of a sumo wrestler created by famed Hollywood special effects guru, Tom Woodruff) and money was raised for scholarships for young people to learn the art of sumo wrestling.
What excites you the most about the platform?
We just got the exciting news that our Fund Duel Canadian partner, Emmet Dunlap Jr. and his team, have figured out a way to donate one million masks and hand sanitizers to the Red Cross in Canada to immediately be delivered to the suffering people of India and places in Africa. This is great gift, sponsored by Fund Duel, demonstrates how we operate as a company. Our vision is to become the tool that becomes a virtual hub where all echelons of society come together to alleviate poverty, hunger, homelessness, and support education, entrepreneurship, the arts, and sports organizations for the betterment of all. The success we have had thus far is breathtaking! We just found out today that we will have a Fund Duel at a music concert at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget as well as a global “Battle of the Bands” in September. In a year from now we will have expanded in
magnificent ways to other parts of the world. We already have stellar partners in Brazil, Canada, and Australia. We are having conversations currently with other professional teams in other countries. I see Fund Duel taking the corporate philanthropy world by a storm. My dream duels would be Coke vs Pepsi, Geico vs. Progressive (the challenge could be to create your own commercial for either company and raise money for a children’s charity), and the Broncos vs the Raiders. I am a Bronco fan so you know who I would want to win. If John Elway and Patton Manning could sign a jersey for me, I will be the top donor. We must roll up our sleeves and get to work. Together we can make it happen!! Let’s get started and have a few laughs and shed some tears together as we change the world for good. www.fundduel/start