Crowdfunding is in no way a new concept, not even in India. The idea has been around for ages! 1962 marks the first (and the biggest) crowdfunding Indian campaign that ever took place. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, brought together thousands of men and women who contributed all the money and gold they could, to sustain the inevitable war against China. It is believed that he managed to collect over $220,000 in cash and more in gold.
When crowdfunding moved to the online space a few years ago in the West, it was picked up by the public quickly and soon, it became a trend to crowdfund for a crazy whimsical idea or activity (remember Zack Danger Brown’s potato salad campaign?). Other campaigns in the west are usually created to fundraise for an innovative invention that the public goes mad over (like the campaign on Indiegogo for wireless earphones).
India’s crowdfunding scene is a world apart. Most of the crowdfunding space on Indian platforms focuses on causes than relate to philanthropy rather than a quirky idea or innovation that has the potential to go viral on the world wide web. Crowdfunding in India is usually limited to more serious causes like eradicating poverty, bettering quality of education, preventing malnutrition among underprivileged children, affording medical treatments, providing shelter and food to street animals and the like.
Crowdfunding in India and other countries is a simple enough process and for the most part, similar between all platforms: in three simple steps, a campaigner can create a fundraiser. In the following steps, campaigners include a well-written story that contains all details of their project, provide visual aid in the form of images and video content to prove their authenticity and in a few clicks, they share the campaign incessantly on social media with their contacts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, emailers, and so on to create and constantly widen a network of supporters and donors.
As more of the public continues to educate itself on the concept of crowdfunding in India and how it works, the number of campaigners and donors continues to shoot up, and so do the funds raised on Indian crowdfunding platforms. Recently, more of today’s youth has started turning to crowdfunding, often for their creative pursuits and other times simply to raise awareness and funds for a cause they care deeply about.
If you’re contemplating starting a fundraiser and are new to the concept, take a moment to look at a few fundraising tips that Impact Guru has listed on their website to learn how to start writing your story and for tricks on managing your first fundraiser.
To understand what kind of stories convinces readers to push the donate button, campaigners are advised to turn to existing crowdfunding Indian campaigners that made a hit of their fundraisers and sift through their stories to see what works and what doesn’t.
Few of the most accomplished platforms for crowdfunding in India include Ketto, Milaap, BitGiving, Wishberry, GiveIndia and Impact Guru. Ketto, launched in 2012, has supported every cause under the roof through their fundraising journeys, raising 100 crores since its inception. It is a cost-effective choice and has a fairly transparent process. Recently, Ketto has partnered with BookMyShow to launch “BookaSmile”, an initiative to encourage NGOs to raise funds for their causes. Milaap, launched in 2010, has seen campaigners raise over 200 crore rupees on their platform and is popular for its many successful medical crowdfunding campaigns and chooses not to support a large variety of causes. BitGiving, launched in 2013, is stringent in its “all or nothing” policy where campaigners are not permitted to keep the funds they’ve raised unless the total matches the goal amount. However, BitGiving has managed to create happy endings for many fundraisers on its website. GiveIndia gives donors a platform to choose the NGO of a cause they relate to and ensures the donation reaches where it is promised.
Wishberry is the singular crowdfunding platform in India, launched in 2011, that specializes in creative causes of all kinds, including musical endeavours, documentaries and films and other artistic projects. The crowdfunding website has raised over 10 crore rupees since its inception, aiding artists, musicians and filmmakers around the country pursue their passion.
Impact Guru is a crowdfunding Indian platform that has raised the highest amount of funds in the country at a whopping 329 crore rupees. Incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab in 2014, this Indian crowdfunding website charges one of the lowest fees in the country. While Impact Guru has commendable experience aiding campaigners in fundraising for non-profit ventures and medical treatments for anyone who cannot afford it, the website supports all causes and projects, including creative endeavours. One of Impact Guru’s most attractive offerings is that the website has a tie-up with the UK crowdfunding platform Global Giving to offer US and UK donors tax benefits.
One can create a fundraiser in three simple steps after choosing a cause on the website and the platform provides space for the campaigner’s story, documents, images, videos and more. Impact Guru’s crowdfunding platform also allows a supporter, perhaps a friend or family member or anyone interested in the campaigner’s cause, to create a support fundraiser. The money these support fundraisers collect will be pooled with the main fundraiser collection. Impact Guru also lets a campaigner post updates as frequently as they see fit, to keep their donors in the know and share the progress of their project. Crowdfunding on this platform is fairly simple for first time campaigners as well – the support team behind the website is solid, and consists of compassionate, understanding individuals who have experience guiding campaigners through their fundraising journeys.
Fundraising on Impact Guru entails no pressure for campaigners. This is another attractive offering – fundraising with ease. The crowdfunding website does not follow the “all or nothing” policy that few other platforms do and lets you keep the funds you’ve managed to raise, despite your chosen goal amount. Though a deadline will have to be decided by the campaigners before the launch of the fundraiser, the process of stretching this deadline is a simple one, and so is the one for increasing the determined goal amount.
As for the question of the best crowdfunding Indian platform, it’s not one that can be answered, or should be. Crowdfunding is an innovation meant to encourage the act of giving by making it convenient, easy, affordable and transparent. The concept is meant to bring people together (as it visibly has); whether that’s donors and campaigners, rich and poor, privileged and underprivileged, and strives to bridge the gaps. There is no competition amongst crowdfunding platforms, but rather a singular focused goal – the progress of every community, betterment of every society and the happiness and uplift of every individual in need.