Crowdtilt: An Easier Way to Share the Cost of a Group Event


If you've ever been stuck with the bill for a group gift, tried collecting money from friends in a fantasy sports league, or passed the hat to get more money for beer at a tailgate party, then you know the feeling of being stiffed. (See also: Tailgating on the Cheap)

It's not fun for your budget, and after too many pleas for those IOUs to be fulfilled, you may just give up and consider it an act of charity.

As with many problems, a solution can be found online.

Websites such as PayPal and Eventbrite make it easy to send someone money and to collect money for an event you've set up. But one site has what I think is a smartest solution to being left with the bill — Crowdtilt.

Your Crowd's Contributions "Tilts" the Campaign to "Funded"

The site, which launched a year ago, allows users to set up parties, vacations, and other events for which groups of people will share the cost. For example, if you're renting a summer vacation home for a family reunion for $3,000 for a week, Crowdtilt can collect money from each person through their credit card, and then deposit the money in your bank account when the event "tilts" at the $3,000 funding mark.

A 2.5% fee is added to each credit card transaction, and Crowdtilt charges a 2.5% fee for the total amount of money pooled when the campaign is fully funded. A buffer of 2.5% to 5% can be added to a campaign to cover the fees.

Sure, it would be a lot easier if your family sent you checks or cash before the reunion, but some deadbeats might not pay up or will want you to front them the money. Crowdtilt prevents you from holding the bill by not giving you the money for the event until the full amount, or more, is paid for by group members. If it's not funded by a certain time, then the event expires.

Nonprofit Roots

The site started with the idea of helping nonprofits do fundraising, but it quickly turned into a way for people to collect money from their friends for "really trivial, lightweight things like fantasy football, birthdays, tailgating, gifts, and wedding gifts," says James Beshara, CEO of Crowdtilt.

"Psychologically it's strange to sell tickets to your friends for a party bus or rent out a bar for your friend's birthday," and Crowdtilt makes asking for money for such events a lot easier, he says.

A few hundred campaigns are started on Crowdtilt daily, Beshara says, with a 60% completion rate.

Crowdtilt customer Taylor Hill, a real estate analyst in Dallas, says he has started five successful campaigns for events, including tailgate parties, a fantasy football league, a Christmas party with the proceeds going to a charity, and his first event — a March Madness bracket challenge. Collecting money is the worst part of a fantasy football league, says Hill, but the site made it easy.

More Money Than Asked For?

Most Crowdtilt campaigns raise more money than was originally asked for, with the average getting 188% of funding, Beshara says. The extra money can either be given back to the participants, or used to buy more liquor, groceries, an extra gift, or anything else for the event.

"Everyone kind of gets this team effort to get a campaign to tilt," he says, adding that the top group gifts for website users are wedding gifts, followed by group experiences, group tickets for an event such as a concert, and vacation home rentals.

Maybe the best thing about Crowdtilt is it spreads the responsibility of holding an event to everyone involved, not just the organizer. Just because you thought of a great group gift for a brother's wedding doesn't mean you have to pay up for any stragglers.

"Everyone has to pay," Beshara says. "You don't have to front the money and miss out on one to two people not paying."

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Guest's picture
Thomas Chongruk

How about keeping the day or location of the event hidden, and then sending an invite to only those that fund? Just joking ... maybe ...

Aaron Crowe's picture

That's one of the points of Crowdtilt, Thomas, to have only the people who fund an event attend it. But if you're talking about a surprise party and asking people to give money for an unknown event, then yeah, I guess that's possible. I don't know how they'd determine how much money something is worth before knowing what it is.

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