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Spotlight on Shauna Robertson: Giving Back (& People Like Her)

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Let's send up a cheer for Crowdrise.com! What's that? You haven't joined Crowdrise? Don't miss out. Let's bring you into the fold...

Crowdrise.com is the creation of Shauna Robertson, Edward Norton, Robert and Jeffro Wolfe. It's just one of their crusades to save the world, have fun and get a lot of people to help. This might sound a bit cheeky, but consider that the tagline for Crowdrise is, "If you don't give back no one will like you."

So what is Crowdrise? Here's how the founders describe it:

Crowdrise is about volunteering, raising money for charity and having the most fun in the world while doing it. Go here to see a beautiful picture showing How Crowdrise Works. Go here if you want to see an even more beautiful Picture of a Napkin.

We recommend spending at least six hours a day exploring Crowdrise. Check out all the Inspiring Projects that volunteers, fundraisers and charities have going on, and show your support by voting for them, donating some cash money, and helping them fundraise or volunteer. Check out our Best Promos Ever so you can win amazing prizes that make perfect re-gifts. And the second you're ready, Start Your Own Project on Crowdrise and share it with all your friends, family, enemies, co-workers and classmates.

Shauna Robertson, former Hollywood producer and Crowdrise guru, shared some of her thoughts on Crowdrise, non-profits and the WIE Symposium now underway in New York City. Shauna is coming to Inspiration Day at WIE today to talk about social enterprise, technology and philanthropy.

"Edward and I work with a lot of non-profit organizations and while I was making movies and he was making movies, we often talked about why we can't bring that same kind of efficiency and humor into the fundraising space. We spend a great deal of our time raising money for causes and we were looking for a tool we couldn't find out there so that's why we built this [Crowdrise.com]."

I asked Shauna about making the leap from producing into social media, about the specific skill set she brought. "As a producer you try to create, you try to build, you try to bring efficiency and in my case, humor. So those are kind of my skill sets and I thought, how can I bring this back to the non-profit space." She'll be sharing more on this at WIE today. The panel on Social Enterprise includes June Sarpong, Jane Wurwand of Dermalogica, Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green and others.

With Crowdrise and the other non-profits Shauna and Edward (her fiancé) are involved with, they look for groups that are run efficiently, have a proven track record in the community and sustainability. There's also a personal element and this ties back into Crowdrise. Shauna lists Scott Harrison of Charity: Water among her mentors in non-profit work. Shauna commented on the fact that not only has Scott created a company that's having a real, long-lasting, measurable effect, but he's a wonderful leader and brings a lot of creativity to the project.

This strong leadership is a big draw and Crowdrise was designed to highlight the personal stories and connections that draw us to the charities we work with. Crowdrise provides a place where people can tell the story of why a specific non-profit or cause is important to them. And thanks to Shauna and her team, it's easy to sign up, donate or promote your cause.

The site is designed to be responsive to what users need and Shauna described it as an "empty template" which is key in keeping it fresh and accessible. It's an exciting time to develop this kind of innovative tool for philanthropic work. As Shauna pointed out, Crowdrise is something people can use from their couch. It's easy and fun.

"We don't think of ourselves as cutting edge. We find ourselves inspired by the feedback we get daily from everyone using, but hopefully the site is just going to keep growing and morphing and expanding and changing based on our users' needs. People are really clear on what's working for them and what's not. We love speaking to everyone who's using the site and learning what's working and what's not."

In talking with Shauna, I was impressed by her total commitment to helping and raising money for non-profits. The added layer of her humor fuels the creative way she's reaching out. Crowdrise is that interesting breed of for-profit company with a social conscience, that's solely dedicated to helping raise money for non-profits.

Another piece that Shauna and Edward bring to Crowdrise is their contacts within the celebrity community. Actors like Will Ferrell, Kristin Bell and Jonah Hill have all created campaigns on Crowdrise. Sophia Bush, Barbara Streisand, Christy Turlington and others have also joined up to raise money for various campaigns. The NYC Marathon is coming up soon. Edward Norton, Christy Turlington and Mary Wittenberg are among the celebrities creating teams that are running the marathon in order to raise money for different non-profits. You can check out the links below to find out more info and join in the fun.

Sophia Bush: Run for the Gulf & other projects

Barbra Streisand: Cedar-Sinai Women's Heart Center

Edward Norton: Masai Wilderness Conservation