Nepal earthquake relief efforts
May 14, 2015 · IGG

How Personal Fundraisers are Raising Millions for Nepal Relief Efforts


Nonprofit organizations are reporting faster, more effective responses to Nepal than any other recent disaster.

On Indiegogo Life, donors from over 100 countries have already raised over $2.3 million collectively for relief efforts – that is double the initial commitment from the American Red Cross and a new record for the crowdfunding platform.

This milestone proves that crowdfunding platforms are playing a significant role in continued relief efforts. It also demonstrates the impact of individual stories and the ability to connect through personal fundraisers.

How does personal fundraising differ from more traditional efforts in a time of crisis?

stock-photo-tibetan-prayer-flags-85695189 (1)In the past, only those few people most connected to a disaster would donate. With personal fundraisers, anyone who is personally moved by the impact of a disaster can make a donation and rally his or her network to recruit additional support. That one donor can become ten, one hundred or even a thousand.

After hearing about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th, Andy Dunn said he felt helpless. “Then it dawned on me: do something. Your sympathy is worthless to people in need without action. I walked over to my computer, started this Indiegogo Life campaign, called it Entrepreneurs for Nepal, emailed friends and launched on social.”

In just two days, Andy was able to amplify his impact, raising $35,000 – more than three times his initial $10,000 donation – for Oxfam. Andy said on his fundraiser page, “The mission is to make us all feel a little less helpless. The vision is to translate sympathy into action in times of crisis.”

When it comes to personal fundraisers – the rising tides lift all boats

The depth and breadth of personal fundraisers means increased donors and dollars for well-known nonprofits as well as smaller, hyper-local organizations and individuals.

Dr. Bijay Acharya of Massachusetts General Hospital was already involved in Nepal medical efforts. He and the America Nepal Medical Foundation (ANMF) were able to communicate their progress, and more importantly, their needs directly to thousands of supporters through a personal fundraiser­–practically from the moment the quake hit. Updates are still coming as pictures, supply lists, and personal stories, and have helped bring in over $430,000 for the ANMF.

Madeline Sheldon created a personal fundraiser to help the Thapa family who hosted her during her time studying abroad in Kathmandu Valley in 2012. She asked people in her trusted network to donate and was able to communicate the family’s updates directly to people who may not have otherwise had a direct connection to the cause or country. Over 50 people raised $3,670 to support the Thaba family and their neighbors.

Pat Johnson, a contributor to Madeline’s fundraiser said, “Sometimes when tragedy strikes a world away, it’s hard to appreciate the individual pain and suffering that result. Madeline’s request let us see the beloved faces of a family devastated by the earthquake, and provided a tangible way to help.”

The long-term impact of personal fundraising

There is no denying the importance of established fundraising methods like collecting donations through online pledges and corporate donations. Reports on Nepal relief claim the American Red Cross received over $8 million in donations, the U.S. Fund for Unicef has collected over $3.7 million, and with the help of Facebook, hundreds of thousands of people raised more than $12 million for the International Medical Corps (IMC).

Personal fundraising has become a complementary effort that harnesses the power of real-time progress and individual stories. They reach new donors and amplify donations in a critical time of need and are poised to be a permanent component of disaster fundraising strategies in the future.

To see more personal fundraisers for Nepal @IndiegogoLife, please visit:

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