Heads up, GoFundMe. IndieGoGo’s new program, IndieGoGo Life, might just bump you off the top.
Raising money for personal causes is often difficult and expensive, and few people have the time or energy to divert away from their cause towards a campaign. IndieGoGo Life, a standalone service branching off from IndieGoGo, hopes to change that with a simple, relatively painless, 8-click process. But here’s the crazy part: it’s absolutely free.
Like, free free. Meaning no platform fees on IndieGoGo’s end (unfortunately, credit card companies do charge approximately 3%, it’s pretty much impossible to eradicate that). GoFundMe, the leading personal crowdfunding platform, charges 5% of the total funds raised plus an added credit card fee. When people are raising money for charities, that’s rarely money they’re willing to give up.
IndieGoGo has seen quite a few successful charitable and personal-interest related campaigns in the past few years, from Karen Klein’s bullying story that raised over $700K to the Hour of Code campaign that raised over $5M. Other campaigns raising money for emergencies, legal fees, and celebrations have become increasingly popular as crowdfunding has become more and more well known. But personal campaigns aren’t always noble or charitable causes. IndieGoGo Life is being used for a variety of purposes, from allowing people to pitch in for a camera to crowdfunding a wedding.
“We saw how many people started using the platform to raise money for themselves, a loved one, or even a stranger they wanted to help,” Danae Ringelmann, Chief Development Officer of Indiegogo, told WIRED. “Indiegogo Life is a response to their needs.”
IndieGoGo’s new service offers simple, distinctive features like one-on-one support and sharing tools to make personal fundraising painless and easy; they also simplified many of IndieGoGo’s tools such as the analytics dashboard. Slava Rubin, CEO of IndieGoGo, expects users to primarily use IndieGoGo Life for medical costs, celebrations, memorials, and a few other personal categories.
“If you don’t fall into those categories you should be using core Indiegogo. Trying to game Indiegogo using Indiegogo Life it would probably be a pretty annoying experience for you as the campaign owner,” he said.
Big nonprofits do still have to use the original IndieGoGo platform, where donations can be tax deductible and they get a 25% discount off platform fees. This leads us to be a little sketched out about what kinds of campaigns are making it on IndieGoGo Life. IndieGoGo representatives have assured the public that its new program “has a stringent verification procedure that includes a dedicated team of experts, automated algorithms, and other procedures.” That’s good to know, but the requirements didn’t stop “The Best Sandwich Ever Created” and “I want moon sand plz” from making it on the portal.
It seems as though many of the current campaigns on the website are personal campaigns that individuals bring their friends to in order to receive funds, rather than soliciting the generosity of strangers. There are others that strangers might be inspired to fund, like an Iraqi Relief campaign or the Surgery for Kevin Vicente- Victim of the Pitbull Attack campaign, though.
The rewards-based crowdfunding platform has always reputed for accepting more out-of-the-box campaigns and for having more lenient requirements than its biggest competitor, Kickstarter; Kickstarter strictly prohibits charitable campaigns and anything that doesn’t “create something to share with others.” It seems to us that IndieGoGo is trying to increase its reach by taking all the campaigns that don’t make it through Kickstarter’s sieve with IndieGoGo life and its renowned flexibility; it can afford this experiment because of its huge success with the original crowdfunding platform.
We’re interested in seeing where IndieGoGo’s new platform will go, and how other crowdfunding platforms will respond. What do you think will happen?
by Rafah Ali