Indiegogo was created by three individuals familiar with the hard work and frustrations that go along with collecting money—Danae Ringlemann was an MBA student struggling to open an Off-Broadway play; Eric Schell searched for funds for a Chicago theater company; and Slava Rubin started a charity event for myeloma cancer research in honor of his late father. Indiegogo was founded with the intention to revolutionize the flow of funding so it can reach and grow the ideas that matter. The company is certainly on the right track—they have 15M visitors each month and campaigns run by individuals residing in 224 countries and territories.
Indiegogo uses a Rewards model. This means donators contribute to a campaign and are offered rewards for their contributions.
Users have the option of disconnecting their Facebook profile form from their Indiegogo account if they so desire. However, Indiegogo urges users to keep their Facebook and Indiegogo accounts connected so a user’s online presence is legitimized in the eyes of potential contributors who may not be comfortable funding a campaign organized by a stranger. There are also extremely user-friendly apps available for download for both iOS and Android operating systems.
Indiegogo has also added a new website for those wanting to raise funds for charity purposes called “Generosity by Indiegogo”. Non-profits can run ‘free’ on Generosity by Indiegogo, allowing them to keep everything they raise.
A great feature of their set-up process is how no fees are required initially. Some other crowdfunding companies, on the other hand, may charge fees during the set-up process or platform fees. The fact that they do not charge any of these fees, coupled with their effective online campaign editor tools, make their set-up process a convenient and stress-free task.
While other crowdfunding platforms may complicate fee structures, Indiegogo has gone the simple and easy-to-understand route: Whether you choose either a Flexible or Fixed Funding type, a 5% fee will be charged once you have reached your goal. There are also transaction fees of 3% plus 30 cents for a credit card transaction, 3-5% for Paypal, or a $25 charge for wire fees.
If you don’t reach your goal, only flexible funding types will be charged the 5%. Fixed funding refunds all money donated and there is no fee.
Indiegogo offers what they call Flexible funding, where you can choose either ‘Keep what you Raised’ or ‘All or Nothing’ funding types. Flexible Funding means you keep all the money you raise, regardless of your goal; Fixed Funding means you have a specific funding goal that must be met, which can be a good choice for technology and products that require set funding to enter production.
Maximum Allowed Raise
There is no maximum amount of funds that you can raise, but Indiegogo recommends breaking very large funding goals into several series of campaigns. This may or may not be best for your situation, so having the option to do as you choose is a good crowdfunding feature.
Administrative Work Options
For everyday fundraisers needing help along the way, Indiegogo will answer questions and give you pointers on your campaign via email. They pride themselves on being able to contact customers in search of information within 24 hours. This is an incredibly fast turnaround time for a customer service department in a number of industries, especially crowdfunding. They also have online articles covering tips on how to run and contribute to a campaign.
One thing that sets them apart from other crowdfunding companies is the data driven insight they provide for their users. Especially since crowdfunding is a relatively new idea, it is extremely helpful for organizers to have access to important tips—such as which days to launch a campaign and what the ideal campaign length is—so they can feel empowered and make the best decisions possible.
Indiegogo also offers what they call an Enterprise Program. This program is for entrepreneurs who need assistance bringing their products to market.
Through this program, Indiegogo will:
- Help you run a crowdfunding campaign to test and market a new product to early investors.
- An Innovation Challenge to source ideas and activate Indigogo’s community of entrepreneurs, makers, and innovators.
- A curated, branded sponsorship program to support your campaign.
- Real-time customer feedback before investing in manufacturing
- Help entrepreneurs understand their customers by turning research from a cost into an opportunity for pre-sales and customer acquisition
- Assist you with building awareness around your brand by helping you to effectively connect with and engage customers and their networks.
Another helpful and convenient feature offered is the automatic emailing of tax-deductible receipts for donations made to a U.S. 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. Separate receipts may also be issued from the beneficiary nonprofit, depending on the organization.
One thing that is less-than-exciting about Indiegogo is the fact that funds are disbursed within 15 days of the campaign’s expiration. With some other crowdfunding sites providing funds within 48 hours, this is an area Indiegogo could definitely improve. To add to the slow delivery of donations, since funds are held until the campaign ends, users are also unable to access funds throughout the campaign. Here again, other crowdfunding sites allow early withdrawals in real time.
Indiegogo requires a campaign deadline. Campaigns can run for up to 40 days. For larger goals, it is recommended to break fundraising goals into chunks.
They recommend a campaign length of 40 or fewer days for the following reasons:
- Momentum: Your campaign should be long enough that you have time to build interest and reach your audience, but not so long that it becomes background noise.
- Engagement: The longer the campaign, the harder it is to continue to keep your audience engaged, excited, and contributing.
- Urgency: Seeing that a campaign has just a few days remaining creates a sense of urgency for potential contributors, motivating them to act now, rather than later.
- Resources: Take into account that you’ll be closely managing the campaign through its duration; you may not want to dedicate 40 days to it.
Some other crowdfunding sites allow campaigns to be open indefinitely. This allows users to revisit accounts to collect additional, straggling contributions. Indiegogo users are currently being denied that opportunity. While this deadline is a negative to some crowdfunders, many platforms have encouraged this distinction of time to be made because it can actually increase the success of a campaign in a much shorter amount of time. The time limit can influence more funding to occur before a specific date, benefiting the owner of the campaign.