Many people have that one special experience that they would love to check off their bucket list. Whether it’s playing a game with their favorite athlete, meeting their musical idol or even spending the day with their favorite actor, experiences like these are now available to anyone through Omaze!
Stanford University students and best friends, Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins, were ecstatic when they attended a Boys and Girls Club benefit hosted by Magic Johnson, who was auctioning off the chance to sit with him courtside and join him for dinner. Pohlson and Cummins watched helplessly as the bids skyrocketed and ended at $15,000.
“We are diehard Laker fans and Magic was our childhood hero, so hanging with him for a night would literally be a dream come true […] Driving home, we couldn’t let it go. Why should life’s most amazing experiences only be available to a select few? And worse, how could a prize which, in our minds, was priceless, only raise $15,000 for the Boys and Girls Club?” said Pohlson.
As they watched their dream fade away after the bidding fiasco, it made them think about an improved and more effective way to make average people’s dreams come true while funding more donations at the same time.
“And that’s when a simple idea hit us. What if we made these same types of opportunities available online, and for a $5 donation, everyone could have a chance at winning? We could help generate significantly more money and awareness for deserving causes, and all people could share the chance to live out dream experiences,” said Cummins.
Years later in July of 2012, Pohlson and Cummins launched Omaze to help raise charity funds and fulfill dream experiences. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., this new startup has only been in business for four months and has already raised over $1 million through their featured experiences.
“We are not a charity, but like the best charities, we exist to empower people. Our mission is to be a place where people can help each other achieve their dreams. We do that in three ways: by giving people access to these dream experiences which we hope will be transformative; by empowering people through the causes with opportunities and resources previously not available to them; and by creating content around the experiences so that all people can harness the lessons of the world’s most accomplished people to achieve more in their own lives,” said Pohlson.
People may be wondering how this type of organization works. It’s fun and simple; choose your once-in-a-lifetime experience, enter the drawing by making your $5 donation, earn additional entries by inviting your friends to help raise more money and awareness and wait to see if you have been chosen as the winner after the raffle entry deadline. The process works exactly like a charity raffle. After the entry deadline, Omaze collects all raffle entries and selects winners through a computer generated random selection process.
Entry donations benefit a special social cause and the impact over time is tracked. Once a winner is chosen, they are flown out with a guest to experience their dream where it will be filmed and shared with the community so everyone can see what they learned. People can enter multiple times and 80 percent of the proceeds go towards one of Omaze’s featured charities. The beneficiaries include the Tyra Banks TZone at the Lower East Side Girls Club, the Young Storytellers Foundation, Team Rubicon, X Prize Foundation, the Andre Agassi Foundation, Insideout Writers and P.S. Arts.
The various types of experiences that Omaze offers are endless.
“Most recently, we just launched the opportunity to create music in a private studio session with Moby, which we really love because we’re big fans, as well as the chance to have a personal styling session with E! Fashion Police’s George Kotsiopoulos including a thousand dollar gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills,” said Cummins.
There is truly something for everyone to get excited about, whether it’s the experience or helping out a certain charity. Omaze is one of the few organizations out there today that gives back to charities by offering some of the greatest experiences to everyone. People will adore these experiences and appreciate the act of giving back at the same time. Simply “omaz”ing!
To view all of the experiences and to learn more about Omaze, visit www.Omaze.com.