His Aha! Moment: "The dirty secret about raising money is that it costs a lot of money—usually 20 to 40 percent," Norton says. While working with Barack Obama's presidential campaign, he was struck by the young donors who used social networking to nudge others to donate, thus bypassing the costs associated with traditional fund-raising. "That was a seismic moment."
Breakthrough idea: With movie producer (and fiancée) Shauna Robertson, and Jeffro and Robert Wolfe (founders of online retailer Moosejaw), created Crowdrise. The site allows anyone—from teens to celebs—to set up a free profile to solicit donations for worthy causes. Barbra Streisand has pulled in nearly $150,000 for the Women's Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai. Will Ferrell, offering a golf sweepstakes, has raised some $30,000 for cancer survivors. For every dollar raised, users earn bragging rights on the Crowdrise leaderboard and points they can swap for prizes like a MacBook Pro, a Kindle—even a personalized video from Norton.
Breakthrough advice: Stay open to what excites you. "A couple of years ago, I never would have said I'd be spending more than two-thirds of my time working on a fund-raising Web site." —Kristy Davis
For more information about Crowdrise, please go to www.crowdrise.com.