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- Date Established
- San Francisco, CA
- Crowdfunding for both tech and creative projects
- Can choose all-or-nothing funding or keep-it-all funding
- Can run a Patreon-style ongoing crowdfunding campaign after your initial campaign succeeds
- No platform fee for charitable campaigns
- Good customer support
- Does not prescreen campaigns as Kickstarter does
- Limited communication between campaigners and backers
- Backers don’t always get promised rewards
- Less site traffic than Kickstarter
If there’s one characteristic that defines Indiegogo, it is flexibility. Launched in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival as a crowdfunding platform for independent films — hence the name — Indiegogo has since broadened its reach and is now one of the leading crowdfunding platforms for creative projects.
Indiegogo’s flexibility gives the whole enterprise a bit more of a “wild west” cast than crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter have. For one thing, Indiegogo is available to creators and backers from just about every nation. Another unique feature of Indiegogo is that you have the option of setting up either an all-or-nothing campaign (where your fundraising goal must be met before any funds are transferred) or a flexible campaign (where you keep whatever funds you raise).
Furthermore, while you can offer rewards (referred to by Indiegogo as “perks”) to your backers, you aren’t required to do so. Combine that with a comparatively broad array of project categories that qualify for Indiegogo approval, and you’ve got a crowdfunding platform with wide reach and appeal.
Of course, the flip side of this flexibility is that shadier campaigns have a better chance of slipping through the cracks on Indiegogo than they would on more restrictive crowdfunding platforms.
Read on to get a full picture of Indiegogo.
Table of Contents
Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform in which users can raise funds from individual backers for business projects. When launching a fundraising campaign, you can choose from the following categories:
- Tech & Innovation
- Camera Gear
- Energy & Green Tech
- Fashion & Wearables
- Food & Beverages
- Health & Fitness
- Phones & Accessories
- Travel & Outdoors
- Other Innovative Products
- Creative Works
- Dance & Theater
- Podcasts, Blogs & Vlogs
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Series & TV Shows
- Writing & Publishing
- Other Creations
- Community Projects
- Animal Rights
- Human Rights
- Local Businesses
- Other Community Projects
Additionally, Indiegogo now offers InDemand, a service you enroll in after you complete your initial rewards crowdfunding campaign, whether your campaign was on Indiegogo or another website. With InDemand, you continue raising money for an indefinite period — and without fixed fundraising goals. If your initial campaign was an Indiegogo campaign, your original fundraising page is left up and used as a validating factor for your project.
I should note that in addition to its rewards crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo previously offered equity crowdfunding through a partnership with MicroVentures called First Democracy VC. However, this project has since been discontinued, as Indiegogo has left the equity crowdfunding field.
Indiegogo spells out the kind of crowdfunding campaigns it supports on its website:
- For-profit campaigns
- Campaigns benefitting nonprofit organizations or nonprofit beneficiaries
- Campaigns for products
- Anything within “Community Projects” that is not a personal cause
- Educational campaigns in the Tech and Innovation category
Regarding personal campaigns, Indiegogo states: “If you are planning to create a personal cause campaign, please know that this is not allowed to run on Indiegogo. Instead, we encourage you to launch your campaign through GoFundMe, our partner for personal cause campaigns.”
Terms & Fees
These are the terms and fees for Indiegogo’s crowdfunding campaigns:
|Funding Duration:||Up to 60 days|
|Indiegogo Fee For Business/Creative Projects:||5%|
|Indiegogo Fee For InDemand Campaigns:||5%|
|Payment Processing Fee:||2.9% + $0.30 per pledge|
Indiegogo uses Stripe as its credit card payment processor. PayPal is no longer an option for payment.
When you launch an Indiegogo campaign, you can choose between a flexible campaign and a fixed campaign. With a flexible campaign, you can keep whatever you raise from backers, even if you don’t reach your funding goal. By contrast, if you’ve launched a fixed crowdfunding campaign, you must reach your funding goal to collect what you’ve raised. If your fixed campaign doesn’t meet its fundraising goals, all contributions are refunded (and therefore, no fees are taken).
With Indiegogo, you have the option of offering perks to your contributors, but you’re not required to do so. Indiegogo recommends that you do offer perks, though, as it increases the likelihood of you meeting your funding goals. It estimates that campaigns offering perks raise 143% more money than those that don’t. You can offer up to 20 levels of perks to your contributors based on the amount they contribute to your campaign.
Keep in mind that while your Indiegogo campaign can run for up to 60 days, Indiegogo advises that a funding period of 30-40 days is optimal for success, according to the company’s data. Additionally, while the limit is 60 days, Indiegogo states that “we may choose to offer an extension in our sole discretion.”
Indiegogo places a greater emphasis on flexibility than other platforms — such as Kickstarter — do. When you fill out the application and apply to start your campaign, approval is automatic — you won’t have to wait to be approved. In fact, there are cases of crowdfunding projects that were suspended from Kickstarter that subsequently moved over to Indiegogo, where their campaign was allowed to run to completion.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Crowdfunding platforms typically aren’t heavy on deception sales-y gimmicks, and Indiegogo is no exception. Everything is spelled out quite thoroughly, and there are no nasty surprises for project creators. For backers, it’s a different story, but that’s part of having a flexible crowdfunding platform.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Indiegogo’s customer service is well-regarded by crowdfunding standards. There’s an extensive help section, and if your question isn’t answered in the information given, there’s a contact form you can use to get in touch with Indiegogo. Surveying the opinion landscape, Indiegogo’s responsiveness to user concerns seems to be above average for the industry.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Indiegogo is, by design, a loosely-regulated crowdfunding arena, intended to give the widest possible range of creative and charitable causes the ability to attract funding from a community of backers. However, this entails a great deal of caveat emptor for backers.
Indiegogo currently earns a grim 1.1 out of 10 average user rating on Trustpilot, and a vast majority of these complaints come from miffed backers. People find themselves backing lots of projects that never come to fruition, that do not distribute the promised perks, or that distribute defective/deficient perks. Users also fault the limited communication Indiegogo facilitates between campaigners and backers.
If you’re backing a project on Indiegogo, you have to go into it with a certain mindset. You’re not necessarily making a purchase or an investment but rather contributing to a project or cause you’d like to see succeed, with no guarantee that you’ll see anything in return. A more controlled crowdfunding platform might provide better value to the backer, but it could also cut against Indiegogo’s ethos of providing the broadest possible opportunity to the broadest range of campaigners.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Professional reviewers are mostly positive about Indiegogo, praising the ease with which one can set up a crowdfunding campaign and the wide variety of projects and causes that qualify for funding. The fact that you can set up a campaign as either fixed (all-or-nothing) or flexible (keep-whatever-you-raise) also comes in for plaudits.
Users have found plenty to applaud about Indiegogo as well, citing good customer service, a solid interface, and the option to use flexible funding. Others noted that they were able to use Indiegogo after Kickstarter rejected their projects.
Indiegogo doesn’t have the following that Kickstarter has, and that can be an issue when it comes to attracting backers. However, the platform makes a strong play for being the crowdfunder for the rest of us.
Certain kinds of expertly-conceived projects may be better off going with another crowdfunding platform, but for projects and causes that might have a hard time qualifying for funding on Kickstarter, Indiegogo is a solid choice. It provides the opportunity to solicit funding from the widest possible range of folks from all over the globe. Given that the raison d’etre of crowdfunding sites is supposed to be democratizing the ability to funnel money to people and causes shut out of traditional funding means, it’s hard not to admire Indiegogo.
Backers may be taking a risk by sinking their hard-earned cash into an Indiegogo campaign, but risks are inherent in Indiegogo’s open-armed approach. Despite its flaws, Indiegogo is a credit to the spirit of crowdfunding.