Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Crowdfunding Opens Doors for Grassroots NGOS

Indiegogo, one of the world’s leading crowdfunding platforms, has introduced new features that will enable NGOs to leverage the power of the website for the first time. The site has already raised tens of millions of dollars for campaigns around the world, but up until now the Indiegogo has only offered services in the English language and in US dollars. The expansion of their services include new currencies, languages and localised homepages that are set to empower a whole host of NGOs from across the planet to participate.

“Indiegogo puts our customers first, which is why broadening our international offerings is a priority, enabling us to bring our unique experience and open and inclusive business model to more people than ever before,” said Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo co-founder. “We remain committed to localizing our international platform to empower campaign owners for success and give funders a satisfying discovery experience. We’ve laid a great foundation to continue global growth in the months ahead.”

Previously, both fundraisers and donors would be responsible for the exchange rate fees which can, depending on your country, become quite expensive. Now, Indiegogo has introduced options to use euros and Canadian dollars which will increase the return on investment in the site for both donors and fundraisers outside of the US.

“To truly unleash people and remove all the friction from fundraising, you want to experience to be as seamless as possible. If there is any friction around asking your funders to use a currency they’re not comfortable with, or asking your funders to read your pitch in a language they’re not as familiar with, that friction will no longer be there.”

The website has also began rolling out additional language packs for French and German speakers, which will be of particular benefit for many French speaking countries in Africa and other parts of the world. This will open up new opportunities for both donors and fundraisers as the changes will tap into new markets of hundreds of millions of people who previously would not be able to use the website.

Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indiegogo, says “We’re really excited because Indiegogo has been global since the beginning. We had a mission since our start, which hasn’t changed, to democratize fundraising across the world — to really empower everyone, wherever you are, to raise money for your passion”

Ringelmann explained that the new features are just the start of a more international focus with an aim to facilitate crowdfunded fundraising in every corner of the globe. “This is just the beginning of a deeper [plan] to roll out more international features in countries across the world and to make Indiegogo as customized as possible,” she said. “So, there will be more to come [and] other currencies in the future.”

Despite the fact that Indiegogo only accepted the U.S. dollar before now, 30% of all campaigners have been from outside the United States. “I think that’s a testament to how needed our platform is for [crowdfunders] around the world,” Ringelmann said.

Indiegogo prides itself on its customer happiness, and has long had a policy in place to respond to questions within 24 hours. The company has hired full-time staff to provide assistance in French and German in order to make the question and answer process more seamless.

Crowdfunding has become a pivotal piece of the fundraising ecosystem, and Indiegogo has garnered international support through campaigns such as the bullied bus monitor, the Tesla Museum and Hurricane Sandy relief. The arts, education, philanthropy and other areas benefit greatly from crowdfunding, which bolsters (and often replaces) traditional financing and allows the community to decide which projects reach success through merit.

Since the site launched in 2008, people have used it to fund a broad range of creative, charitable and entrepreneurial projects. Its biggest success, “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum,” raised more than $1.37 million this year to build a museum dedicated to influential inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla.

Another popular initiative established by Toronto’s Max Sidorov raised over $700,000 for New York bus monitor Karen Klein after cellphone video of her being bullied by four seventh-graders went viral.

“What crowdfunding really is, is people-powered finance,” Ringelmann said. “It’s people voting with their dollar. And when people vote with their dollar, there’s no stronger indication that they want something to exist.”

Indiegogo is the largest global crowdfunding platform, empowering anyone, anywhere, at any time, to raise funds for any idea. Since launching in January 2008, Indiegogo has enabled campaign owners to launch campaigns from every country around the world. With millions of dollars distributed globally each week across the site, Indiegogo is democratizing the way people raise funds for any project—creative, entrepreneurial or cause-related. Indiegogo is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. For more information, visit and follow them at and

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