AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Indiegogo and the Bully Busters

The story of the bullied school bus monitor Karen Klein receiving $600,000 in donations is a fascinating one to me. It speaks to the turbocharging of social response on so many levels. Not the least of which is how people now view so called crowdsource funding sites such as, the site used to raise the enormous donations for the bullied grandmother.

Crowdsourcing is fundraising for the 21st century. Put your request for money on a well established, well connected website and hopefully enough visitors will see your request and feel compelled to donate funds. Even if only a dollar or two is given, the total return can be mind boggling when multiplied across all the social networks.

The request can be a compassionate appeal to fund treatment for a cancer victim, a vacation for a bullied grandmother, a new band that needs money for equipment, a start-up brewery looking for venture capital, a new product or anything really. Indiegogo caters to all of this.

Indiegogo is in the fundraising business. They provide the merchant credit card account and collect the money people donate after being motivated by your appeal. They typically charge a 4% fee as long as your appeal is successful. An additional 3% is charged to cover the credit card transaction fees. In the case the of the grandmother, the appeal was for $5000 to be collected in 30 days.

As of this writing the bullying video has attracted $600,000 and still has 28 days to run ! It is likely to be the largest amount of money Indiegogo has raised to date as far as I can tell. It is likely that $42,000 will be charged in fees and the remaining funds will be deposited in the bank account of Max Sidorov. The Toronto man who manages the fundraising account. Mr. Sidorov has promised to pass all this money along to Karen Klein to use as she chooses.

Signup for Indiegogo is free and you can do so using your Facebook account. You also need a valid bank account where the funds you collect will be deposited. There are no limits or restrictions on what you can raise money for. Indiegogo allows you to choose different collection methods. If you do not reach your funding goal, you can opt to have all the money returned to those who donated or you can choose to keep the money regardless.

Indiegogo uses an algorithm, much like Google's search engine, to determine the ranking or wow factor of your particular appeal for money. That algorithm took immediate notice, when millions of visitors paid attention to he bullied grandmother video on YouTube

Indiegogo is originally launched in 2008 by wall street analyst Danae Ringelmann at the Sundance Film Festival with the idea of atracting funding for independant movie projects. Now based out of San Francisco, California, It recently received $15 million in venture capital funding making it one of the worlds largest crowdfunding sites.

Now a well respected and well connected website with over 200,000 visitors per month. Alexa ranks it the 3544 th most important site on the internet, Indiegogo has over 18,500 influential websites linkng to it . The site won a “Webby award” for excellence and for setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the internet. in 2010. Having access to such a powerful website for free is extremely compelling for the budding fundrasiser.

Aside from all the wonderful things they do for fundraising, Crowdsourcing sites do raise some ethical concerns. For one thing, what if a campaign turns out to be scam ? There are no checks and balances to make sure if a request for money really is valid especially when these requests are mixed of “for profit “ ventures.

Government registered not for profit charities must abide by strict rules and regulations but sites like Indiegogo face no such restrictions outside of public pressure. It is possible for compassionate people to be taken in by others pretending to be sick or dying simply by how polished the appeal is and by the peer pressure of friends and acquaintances.

Regardless, Crowdsourcing does put funding right at the fingertips of the individual, it totally democratizes the process of raising money. If you want to be altruistic, and offer support to causes you truly believe in such as Bullying, its totally up to you. 

Crowdsourcing is here to stay.