Seven College of Charleston students work with new fundraising app

Booster helps emerging artists and small businesses raise funds by going live and allowing users to give money instantly (photo courtesy of Booster).

Seven current College of Charleston students are working on the launch of a new fundraising app called Booster, which combines live streaming with monetary transactions, creating endless opportunities for individuals or organizations looking to raise money. Non-profit organizations, up and coming artists or musicians and individuals selling products are all potential users that can go live on Booster in an effort to raise or collect money from their viewers, just to name a few. 

The app allows users to live broadcast, connect the app to their bank accounts and receive money from their viewers to meet their specific needs. Broadcasters can use the app to sell art, music, or merchandise, raise money for themselves, or raise money for a non-profit organization that represents a good cause.

Booster users can also follow broadcasters, and interact with them by sending stars, comments, or questions during live broadcasts. Users looking to view broadcasts can scroll through their explore page where they can watch live broadcasts or any broadcasts that occurred in the past 24 hours.

To donate money while watching a broadcast, users click the “Boost” button, enter their financial information, select an amount, and the money is sent directly to the broadcaster’s bank account. When a broadcaster is raising money on behalf of a non-profit, the money is sent directly to the non-profit, without going through the broadcaster to ensure the money actually goes to the organization the broadcaster is representing.

Pippin (left) and Stevens (right) co-founded Booster based on an idea taken from the methods politicians use to raise funds for their campaigns (photo courtesy of Booster).

The app’s founders, University of South Carolina alumni Zach Pippin and Michael Stevens developed the idea while working with political campaigns. Pippin explained, “We formulated the idea around a political fundraising tool but very soon after that idea we realized we could scale it out to all these other markets; we didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a fundraising app but an app that was open ended on any type of transaction like with sellers and fundraising or even musicians earning tips.”

The app has a unique usefulness for musicians looking to earn tips or raise money to put out an album. The live environment Booster provides allows fans to interact with musicians directly and give money to their favorite performers. Pippin explained the value that the live stream aspect adds for musicians, stating, “Fans will get more direct access to the bands than they’ve never had before. This is essentially for all the fans who are not able to go backstage for a meet and greet, it’s kind of a virtual meet and greet. The fans can type in questions to the band and get them answered live as opposed to just getting a tweet back.”

In addition to musicians, artists, dancers and hobbyists can go live on Booster to showcase their talents, gain followers, and earn money.

When looking for a staff to develop and launch the app, Pippin and Stevens decided to hire several College of Charleston students. Patrick Cornely, a senior at The College, discovered Booster when Stevens visited one of his classes to recruit Booster’s early employees. Cornely was so enthusiastic about the prospective app he sent Stevens an email expressing his interest before Stevens had even finished presenting it. “I liked the idea so much because it’s helping small artists out, it’s helping nonprofits out; it’s not just to make a buck it’s really to help the community out as well,” Cornely explained. As a producer of entertainment, Cornely is one of seven College of Charleston students working on Booster’s launch.

Booster could be an especially useful tool for student organizations at The College, especially organizations tied to philanthropy, like Greek organizations. Student organizations could utilise Booster to set fundraising goals, live stream broadcasts, and raise money either for their organization or for a non-profit their organization would like to represent. The app would also allow students to support their school and local community by interacting with and donating money to local broadcasters.

Booster should be available for download in the app store by the end of this week.

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