Indiegogo Aims to Take the Lead in Non-Profit Crowdfunding

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In a major strategic move in the crowdfunding arena, Indiegogo has just announced the rebranding of its charitable crowdfunding arm, “Indiegogo Life,” to a new platform now called “Generosity.” The intent is being seen as an effort to try to unseat the current “leading platform for personal causes, GoFundMe,” which reported in September that it raised $1 billion in donations over the previous 12 months and $1.6 billion since its 2010 launch,” according to Forbes.

Other cause-based platforms referenced by the New York Times in their coverage of today’s Indiegogo news, are YouCaring, GiveForward, and Fundly. These sites “are a popular choice for funding, “memorials, educational projects and other charitably minded giving,” according to the Times. The new move by Indiegogo, according to VentureBeat, will also broaden the scope “to include nonprofit organizations” and they also noted that it’s a “milestone in Indiegogo’s evolution, as it’s the first time it has launched a service outside its main Indiegogo domain.”

According to the New York Times, Generosity, “is designed to be a cheaper alternative to traditional crowdfunding sites, including its parent. Indiegogo, which levies a 5 percent platform fee on money raised through its site, a 3 percent payment processing charge and 30 cents per donation.” GoFundMe charges a 5% fee for all money raised plus additional credit card processing fees.” Generosity.com, like its predecessor Indiegogo Life, “has no platform fee, but processing charges will be deducted before funds are disbursed.”

Forbes’ article names cause-based campaigns as “crowdfunding industry’s largest vertical,” and said that Indiegogo, “has totaled pledes over the course of its nearly seven-year history of about $750 million for projects ranging from personal robots to fitness trackers to disaster area aid.” Forbes reported, that while Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin declined to address GoFundMe when asked about the company,” he did say “that Indiegogo was ”the first to offer personal funding and nonprofit funding.” He was also quoted in the New York Times saying, “the main difference between Generosity.com and its predecessor was that all nonprofit campaigns would now be hosted on the site.

“We’ve seen the impact that a group of people coming together to support an important social cause can have and our commitment to support nonprofit and personal funding has literally changed lives for the better,” explained Rubin in an email to FORBES.

GoFundMe CEO, Rob Solomon, in an email statement he sent to Forbes said, “In their time of greatest need, people don’t need a cheap platform, they need one that works.” He’s also said, “that Indiegogo’s presence has had little impact, with users flocking to GoFundMe to find campaigns.” Now, the question is whether Generosity can change that.

At Indiegogo, aside from the differences in fee structure, the two sites will operate very similarly. One change is that “Indiegogo has done away with time limits on Generosity, allowing a campaign to be an open-ended amount of time similar to what is allowed on GoFundMe. Generosity also provides integrations so that users can run their campaigns on their own personal websites.”

Indiegogo launched in 2008 and which is most often seen, “in competition with its top rival, Kickstarter, facilitates fund-raising for creative and entrepreneurial projects.” As the Forbes piece points out, a challenge for the company going forward will be to differentiate between “the kinds of cause-based campaigns that Generosity.com is designed for and those that should be on Indiegogo proper. “Mr. Rubin said he was confident that campaign organizers would choose the right site for their endeavor. Indiegogo has more robust tools for campaign marketing and tracking, while Generosity.com’s interface is stripped-down and simpler.”

“Existing Indiegogo Life listings will be transitioned into the new platform, while Generosity is also launching with four new nonprofit campaigns, including Khan Academy Lite, an initiative aimed at bringing Khan Academy education to people without internet connection, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is raising funding for 100 Bay Area blood cancer patients.”

Indiegogo, according to Breanna DiGiammarino, senior director of Generosity outreach, commenting in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, sees a number of benefits to the launch. She said they’ve observed that, “nonprofit users like to have their crowdfunding efforts rubbing shoulder to shoulder with other cause efforts, including individual campaigns,” and that donors also like “a one-stop shop for a wide range of donation opportunities.” For Indiegogo users overall, she says, they can now see these causes “all in one place.”

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