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May 07, 2015

Crowdfunding for Disaster Aid Hits New High With Nepal Quake

The Nepal earthquake has given rise to an unprecedented surge in small online fundraising campaigns, focusing attention on the efficacy of such crowdfunded charity, NPR reports.

GoFundMe is hosting more than 700 Nepal campaigns, raising $3.5 million from 45,000 donors, and Indiegogo Life, another crowdfunding site, has more than 100 such efforts.

Experts tell NPR that Nepal's popularity as a destination for tourists and trekkers and the small, seemingly achievable funding goals for online mini-campaigns — in contrast to the multimillion-dollar targets set by established charities — are contributing to their success. Watchdogs like Charity Navigator's Sandra Miniutti warn donors to examine such campaigns closely, because they don't necessarily guarantee that gifts will be used for the promised purpose. "Generally speaking, don't give through these websites unless you know the [campaigner] directly," she said.

Read Chronicle of Philanthropy articles on the Nepal relief response and the evolution of online giving.