Nonprofit funder Omaze has been getting money into the hands of organizations that will best benefit from it, by using a formula. It’s pretty simple: Tap star power, employ the crowdfunding model, and throw in people’s own charitable impulses, and you can hold what are essentially the best raffles in the world. Rather than a charity auction where a single rich person bids tens of thousands of dollars to, say, play football with Brandon Marshall or ride in a tank with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Omaze gets countless people to pony up $10 for the chance to win that sort of experience. The celebrities pick the cause, the donors fund the charity, and the winners get to do something amazing. No wonder it’s an organization J.J. Abrams trusts.
Abrams and Star Wars have been partnering with Omaze since filming started on The Force Awakens, and now that the film is nearly here, they’ve got a new contest going: Anybody who donates $10–which goes to an assembly of charities determined by the Force Awakens cast and crew–is entered into a contest for the chance to win four tickets to the film’s premiere (either in London or Los Angeles).
To announce the contest, Omaze founder Ryan Cummins set up webcam interviews with fans who donated to the last Star Wars-themed campaign (the prize then was a chance to appear as a walk-on in the film)–and then surprised them by having Harrison Ford pop in to explain the new one. The resulting video was released this morning to let people know what they can win–and who they can help.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had fifteen different causes being benefitted by a single experience,” Cummins explains. The last time out, people from 125 different countries bought in for the chance to win, and he expects a similar response this time out–especially because the film’s diverse cast means that charities from all over the world will benefit from the campaign. “All of the cast nominated the causes–Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill–to be able to leverage all of the cast, talent, and influence to the benefit of so many charities speaks to both the diversity of the cast and to the global influence of Star Wars.”
This campaign isn’t a pay-what-you-wish deal: The chance to win starts at $10, and people who want additional rewards–including limited t-shirts featuring the film’s new characters–can pay a set amount for them. Given the amount of Star Wars-branded stuff out there, getting some that’ll help a good cause seems like a pretty smart play.