What is OFAC?
OFAC is the Office of Foreign Asset Control and is a branch of the U.S. Treasury that enforces economic sanctions against various countries, individuals, economic institutions, and groups in order to enact U.S. foreign policy and security goals.
What does this have to do with my Indiegogo campaign?
Good question! This simply means that Indiegogo is prohibited by the federal government from sending money to, doing business with, or allowing funds to be raised for certain countries, individuals, or activities.
But I'm Canadian! My country doesn’t have these restrictions!
Since OFAC is a part of the U.S. government, it’s regulations apply to U.S. citizens and U.S. companies. While your country may not have the same restrictions as the U.S., Indiegogo is still a U.S. company and we are required to adhere to the regulations. That means that even if you are not a U.S. citizen, by using our platform you are subjecting yourself to the same restrictions as U.S. citizens for the purpose of OFAC.
What happens if my campaign violates one of these restrictions?
If our bank or OFAC believes that your transaction or campaign violates the regulations, they will freeze your funds. When this happens the funds are held by OFAC indefinitely and can only be released if they approve your appeal. If they do not though, the funds unfortunately can’t be sent to you or returned to your contributors.
To help prevent this from happening, Indiegogo will reach out to you if we believe your campaign may be in violation of OFAC regulations. We will usually ask for additional information and ask you to sign a form certifying that the activity in your campaign does not violate any OFAC regulations. If we believe your campaign is clear of OFAC violations, we will allow it continue. However, if we can confirm that your campaigns violates OFAC regulations we will have to freeze your campaign and refund all contributors. Please note that we may also need to temporarily suspend your campaign during our review process. These are actions that we are required to take by the U.S. government.
What are the restrictions?
The restrictions mentioned in this article are by no means an exhaustive list of OFAC’s regulations. For a complete list the regulations, please go to OFAC’s website.
With that said, the most common restrictions that will impact your crowdfunding endeavors are the sanctions placed against the following countries:
- The Balkans
- Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- North Korea
In general, these sanctions prevent Indiegogo from sending money to or doing business with these countries and people residing within these countries. This also means we will be unable to accept contributions or campaigns from these countries. There are also more specific regulations for each country, which you can see here.
What types of campaigns are allowed under OFAC?
You can raise funds for the following purposes:
- Cuba: Family visits; religious, journalistic, or educational activities; humanitarian projects; professional research
- Iran: Humanitarian projects, including food, clothing and medicine
- North Korea: Travel
- Sudan: South Sudan, legal services, personal remittances, certain academic and professional exchanges
- Syria: Humanitarian projects, non-commercial development projects, personal remittances.
For any questions on this or any other campaigns you'd like to run in these regions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.