We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Stoll and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristi, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
My industry is crowdfunding. There are several things people are unaware of in this industry because this is still a fairly unknown industry:

1) What crowdfunding is and what it can do: Through crowdfunding sites, you create a virtual fundraiser (it will be your own unique fundraising page) and you invite people to come and donate to your mission or cause. Most people have heard of GoFundMe, but they don’t know that crowdfunding is the industry under which it falls. To make explaining crowdfunding easy, simply breaking the word apart better defines it. Crowd Funding. Meaning that the “crowd,” which consists of your friends, family, community, people who believe in your cause, etc,. helps to fund something that is important to you. Crowdfunding is a new way you can raise money online. It is essentially a virtual “lemonade stand.”

2) You can raise money for just about anything: Whether you have an idea, business, cause, dream, need help, want to help someone, etc., you can start a virtual fundraiser to attract donations from people anywhere to help you achieve your goal.

3) You can be any age to raise money. While this isn’t true on all platforms, my sites and some others allow minors. If you are under 13, you will need the assistance of a parent, but it can still be your campaign and your cause. It’s really a great way for young people to learn confidence how to go after goals. It is something all young people could benefit from.

4) Setting up a campaign is VERY easy: Once you create your account, all you need is some photos, a short video is helpful, but not mandatory, and an explanation of why you are fundraising. Some sites, like mine, will also help you set up your campaign. You can set it up in a matter of minutes.

5) It’s important to share you fundraiser as much as you can. The more you share you campaign with your circle and community the more successful it will be. This seems like an obvious thing, but I’ve learned it isn’t. It is a good idea to get a list of people together of whom you want to contact when your campaign goes live – and keep sharing and updating your campaign so more and more people will learn about your amazing idea, dream or cause and want to support it.

6) It’s free to start your fundraiser on almost all sites. Any fees, including the platform fee (usually only 5%) and credit card fees are taken out of donations, so it is risk free to give it a shot.

7) Lastly, that there are 5 different types of crowdfunding, so be sure the platform you choose is best for you: a) Donation based – this is the most popular model and is where people can give any size donations to your project or fundraiser. Examples of this are raising money for animals, medical bills, a cause, etc. b) Reward based – this is where people who are fundraising offer a “reward” in exchange for your financial contribution. This model is usually for people raising money for a product or business where they promise future product if they are able to reach their goal. Supporters earn rewards based on how much they donate. Both of my crowdfunding sites, TheVirtualLemonadeStand.com and SaveAnimalsFund.com utilize both the donation and reward model. You can offer a reward if you wish and your fundraiser warrants it, or you can keep it as donation based. Those 2 are the most common and simplest crowdfunding platforms to understand. There are 3 more: Equity, Debt and Real Estate, and they are exactly as they sound but they are much more complicated and not for the everyday fundraiser. I won’t go into those here.

In conclusion, to demystify donation and reward based crowdfunding, the most important things know is that crowdfunding (online fundraising) can be for anyone wanting to raise money for something important to them and it’s actually very easy.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As I mentioned, I have 2 fundraising sites. The first one, TheVirtualLemonadeStand.com, is for ages 18 and under is an online fundraising tool for kids and teens to raise money for their dreams. Our mission is to empower kids and teens with the resources to achieve any dream for which they are passionate, to support kids and teens to realize the importance of their dreams, and eliminate lack of money as the cause for the inability to follow a dream. Raising money can be challenging for a kid. Being virtual, The Virtual Lemonade Stand is easier and can reach more people. In addition, striving toward a dream builds confidence and self esteem and helps kids explore their talents. It is an experience most kids could benefit from.

The 2nd site is, SaveAnimalsFund.com. This is a fundraising platform for individuals or organizations in need of funding to help save animals. Our mission is to provide a voice and platform for individuals who can’t afford costly, life saving, medical procedures or other bills. And to also provide an animal only platform for animal non-profits to be seen, heard and supported.

What sets us apart is that, helping kids and helping animals is TRULY our passion – which means we are SUPER excited to help you. We want you to succeed. Also, most other crowdfunding platforms allow all types of fundraising. Our sites are niche focused on purpose so that campaigns to support the dreams of kids or campaigns to save animals’ lives, don’t get lost in a sea of other fundraisers. Lastly, because one of the most challenging parts of the fundraiser is simply setting it up, we will provide personal assistance throughout your onboarding and campaign creation.

I believe that my incredible journey and everything I have learned has lead me to this point where I have the opportunity to truly live my dream in helping kids and helping animals. I couldn’t be more grateful to be at this point in my life.

What I would love the world to know about my brand is that we are the fundraising platforms with heart, passion, and excitement to help you in any way we can to raise money for the causes that are important to you. And that we are a mission to help as many kids and to save as many animals as we can! We hope you will check us out.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m still fairly new to the area, and there is so much to see and do here, I would probably start off by taking them on a hop-on, hop-off city tour. This can be a fun way to explore what the area has to offer and to see things you may not otherwise see.

I would also take them to old town for some Mexican food and a fun experience. To Coronado to walk around and enjoy the shops, many restaurants, and ocean views. To the harbor in Oceanside for a walk to see the see the sea lions and also shop and eat along the way and then stop at the beach for the sunset. To Carlsbad village for more shopping and more eating. And lastly to the moonlight theater in Vista for a play or concert.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I believe is are always people and wisdom along each step of our lives, in big ways and small, to help guide us along our journey. My journey has taken a lot of twists and turns, from working in Finance, to co-authoring a book for teens/tweens wanting to follow their passion, to living in Hawaii as a life coach/mentor, to now starting these 2 fundraising sites to support my 2 passions, helping kids and saving animals. It seems impossible to note each inspiration that lead me to where I am now, but from the beginning my mom taught me that anything was possible. That set the foundation for a life long passion to follow my dreams wherever they lead. My first mentor in my mid 20’s, Caroleen Heart (now passed), really saw who I was on all levels and opened me up to a world I wasn’t conscious of. To her, I am so grateful because it opened me up to my authentic self. From there, I met another mentor in Hawaii, Laurie Grant, who helped me expand my gifts and abilities in ways I never knew possible and still, after 14 years, supports me to follow my dreams. I am truly very grateful to everyone and every experience that has lead me to where I am now.

Website: SaveAnimalsFund.com and TheVirtualLemonadeStand.com

Instagram: @SaveAnimalsFund and @The_Virtual_Lemonade_Stand

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristi-stoll-383a8623/

Twitter: @fund_animals and @KidVisionaries

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Saveanimalsfund-248521857036745 and https://www.facebook.com/TheVirtualLemonadeStand/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfPYwL5sy8HyMEhn5xx_H4A and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrUdDx52ZU7_Lz36QRoq08g

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