Contributing to a campaign on Indiegogo is not the same thing as making a purchase in a store. Contributors are backing an idea, not purchasing a pre-made project. Like anyone contributing to an early-stage project, you accept the risk that the project might not come to fruition. We leave it up to you to make your own judgment about the merit of a campaign before making a contribution.
That said, Indiegogo has a comprehensive fraud check system in place to protect our contributors from potentially fraudulent campaigns. All campaigns and contributions go through a fraud review, which allows us to catch any and all cases of fraud. [Related Forum Article: How does Indiegogo deal with fraudulent campaigns?]
If you see a campaign that you believe to be fraudulent, you can inform us immediately by flagging the campaign as prohibited content. Simply click on the "prohibited content" link on the right hand side of every campaign page, or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's how you can evaluate a campaign before making your contribution:
The More Information, The Better
The democratic nature of crowd funding makes it easy to judge a campaign's likelihood of success. In order for any campaign to be successful, campaign owners have to put thought and effort into their pitch and convince a crowd of people to support their cause. Campaigns that are not transparent with their goals and project status tend not to attract contributors.
Before you contribute to any campaign, read through the campaign page. Ask yourself a few questions:
Who are the people behind the campaign? The campaign owner and any team members will be listed at the bottom of the campaign page under "Created By" or "Team". Read through the campaign pitch to find out the campaign team's story.
What is the campaign raising money for? Information in the campaign pitch and pitch videoshould be clear, transparent, and reflect the passion and hard work the campaign owner put into the campaign.
Has the campaign already raised funds? Campaigns usually start out raising money by reaching out to family and friends and others who know the campaign owners personally and can validate their legitimacy.
Have the campaign administrators added any announcements or media to their Gallery or Updates tabs? The Updates tab is used by campaign owners to update their contributors on the progress of their project. Any new updates are emailed out to the campaign's followers at the end of the day. The Gallery tab will only be visible if the campaign owner has added any additional media to their campaign page.
Where else can you find information about the project? Check the bottom of the campaign page to see if the campaign owner has listed any external sites that you can find more information about the campaign's project. Any relevant websites, Facebook accounts, Twitter pages, and etc. will be listed at the bottom of the campaign page, under "Also Find This Campaign On".
Fixed Funding vs. Flexible Funding
Campaign owners can choose between two different funding options before launching their campaign that will determine whether or not they will receive all funds raised by the end of their campaign, depending on whether the campaign has met its funding goal by its deadline:
Flexible Funding campaigns will receive all funds raised, regardless of whether or not the campaign has met its funding goal by its deadline. Campaign owners will be required to fulfill all perks claimed.
Fixed Funding campaigns will only receive funds raised if they meet their funding goal by their deadline. If the campaign does not meet its funding goal by its deadline, we will refund all contributions within 5 days after the campaign's end and the campaign owner will not be required to fulfill Perks.
To check whether a campaign is running a Fixed Funding campaign structure or a Flexible Funding campaign structure, look above the Contribute Now button on the right hand side of any active campaign page. The campaign page will state whether a campaign is a "Fixed Funding campaign: This campaign will only receive funds if at least [funding goal] is raised by [campaign deadline]" or a "Flexible Funding campaign: This campaign will receive all of the funds contributed by [campaign deadline]". [Related Forum Article: Fixed vs. Flexible Funding]
Fiscal Sponsorship and Tax Deductions
Not all campaigns can offer tax deductions. Indiegogo offers FirstGiving as a nonprofit payment processor to ensure that your contribution will be tax deductible by U.S. tax law and disbursed directly to the campaign's nonprofit beneficiary. Campaigns that use FirstGiving will be marked with a badge that reads "Verified Nonprofit Campaign". Any campaign marked by this badge will be able to offer tax receipts to U.S. contributors. [Related Forum Article: How to Check if Your Contribution is Tax Deductible]
Questions about the Project? Contact the Campaign Owner
If you have any questions about the project or perks, we encourage you to reach out before making your contribution! For instructions on how to contact the campaign owner, please see: How to Contact the Campaign Owner