VaynerMedia's Creative Content Director Dante Crisafulli is seeking to make the world a better place.
"I work at one of the biggest ad agencies in the world and make commercials that help huge corporations sell more shit," he jokes. "I love telling stories, it is what gets me out of bed."
But he says he is now working on a project that can "change a life."
Crisafulli says his “Ballot Box” passion project is best described as "if Kickstarter and Vice News had a baby with every charity and nonprofit on the planet. We will point out and inform people what today's issues are, as well as provide them with a tangible solution that they can be a part of.”
"Right now, people have no outlet for this frustration," Crisfulli says. "A majority of citizens want to get involved but have not been empowered to do so, especially within their own community."
The “Ballot Box” is designed to "put power in the hands of people" by identifying four issues in a specific community every month. Voters decide which issue is most pressing and a group with a plan to address that issue will receive financial assistance to support the work.
Funds will come from the “Ballet Box” paid membership network.
An array of nonprofit groups in areas supporting environmental causes, health care, education, housing, transportation and other initiatives will have a chance to receive financial support. "We are crowdfunding progress incrementally every 30 days," says Crisfulli.
The subscription-based model invites people to select donation levels starting at $1 per month. Subscriptions all have equal voting power, regardless of the donation level, says Crisafulli. "This ensures everyone has equal power, and the vote cannot be bought."
The effort will kick off in New York City on Oct. 1.
"We are partnering with existing charities and nonprofits, but are also polling and collecting data from local communities to create our own initiatives. We are listening to the community, something our government does not do a great job of doing."
Voters submit their decision via phone, desktop or tablet. The winning idea is funded at the end of the month through established charities, organizations and BallotBox directly.
But unlike other fundraising methods for charities, they are not just hoping the money is going to the intended purpose.
"If we are partnering with another organization, we are not just cutting a check, we are funding the initiative directly," he says. "If a year’s worth of food and supplies for an under-funded animal shelter in the Bronx is the winning initiative that month, we are rolling up box trucks filled with a year’s worth of supplies and a camera crew to document it and provide full transparency. Transparency into where your money goes and content showing you the lives it has changed."
The project launches with a team of three. Crisafulli says the BallotBox project itself is a for-profit organization. Ninety cents on every dollar goes to the winning organization with the other 10% sourcing initiatives and follow up content, he says.
Although the broader VaynerMedia network is not specifically part of the project at this time, Crisafulli hopes agency leaders will contribute in some way.
“About a year ago, I had a nonprofit school/soccer academy in Africa reach out asking me to visit their campus for a week to help come up with some ideas on how they could market themselves to gain sponsorships from large brands,” he explains. “It was my first time in Africa, and what I saw would completely change my perspective about the power of creative storytelling.
"One year, three trips to Africa and four cinematic videos later, they have partnerships with Nike and Coke and are planning to open another campus that will house about 150 kids a year," he says. "That experience would be the catalyst for this project. That is my why."