October 21, 2015

Indiegogo Launches Free Crowdfunding Site for Nonprofits

The world’s largest crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, will launch a site today where nonprofits can use its services for free. Previously, nonprofits paid a fee to set up crowdfunding pages with Indiegogo.

The new website, Generosity by Indiegogo, will also house individuals’ personal crowdfunding campaigns for needs like medical and education expenses, replacing the company’s earlier offshoot site for personal crowdfunding, Indiegogo Life.

The short-lived Indiegogo Life, launched in December 2014, allowed individual users to raise money at no charge. But the two sites, with very similar names, left some would-be users confused about where they belonged, company executives explained.

"It wasn’t super clear to nonprofits whether they should start on Indiegogo Life or," said Michele Husak, Indiegogo’s head of communications. "We thought that Generosity really summed up nicely what we were trying to accomplish." 

Bringing nonprofit groups’ and individuals’ campaigns together in one place under a new domain name is intended to provide clarity, Ms. Husak said.

The only fees collected on the Generosity site are by the payment processor Stripe, which disburses the funds to nonprofits.

Current users will find a lot of similarities: Most site features will remain the same, Indiegogo executives said. There will be an added capability to include videos on a campaign page.

Indiegogo executives declined to say how much they paid for the domain name.

In many cases, the personal campaigns and those launched by nonprofits looked similar, according to Slava Rubin, Indiegogo’s chief executive and one of its founders.

"Instead of making the differentiation, we figured, why not just allow for all these nonprofits and personal fundraisers to live in one space?" he says.

Breanna DiGiammarino, senior director of Generosity outreach, said that nonprofit users like to have their crowdfunding efforts rubbing shoulder to shoulder with other cause efforts, including individual campaigns. Feedback from donors shows that they, too, like a one-stop shop for a wide range of donation opportunities.

"The millions of people who come to Indiegogo want to be able to see the causes all in one place," she said.

The site, a leader in the increasingly crowded arena of crowdfunding platforms, has hosted campaigns for the first crowdfunded baby, for Hurricane Sandy relief, and for several projects created by Brandon Stanton, the creator of the popular Humans of New York blog. Recently, more than 1,500 campaigns have raised more than $5 million in support of Syrian refugees, Mr. Rubin said.

Other crowdfunding platforms require fees for nonprofit campaigns. GoFundMe, for example, collects 5 percent of donations, with an additional 4.25 percent going to FirstGiving, which verifies a group’s nonprofit status and helps disperse the funds. Razoo charges a 4.9-percent fee per donation plus additional payment-processing fees. Crowdrise guarantees 3-percent pricing, including credit-card processing fees.

When Mr. Rubin and his other two co-founders created Indiegogo, "the whole idea was to let anybody who had a cause, anybody who had a creative passion, or anybody who had an entrepreneurial idea to be able to go around the gatekeeper and raise capital," he said.

Over the past five years, Indiegogo has hosted approximately 15,000 nonprofit fundraisers.

Indiegogo planned to notify nonprofits with active campaigns a few days before Generosity by Indiegogo’s launch to give them the option to move their campaigns over. Individual fundraisers on Indiegogo Life will transition automatically.

Send an email to Eden Stiffman.