One of the best parts of crowdfunding is pitching in and helping ideas that you care about come to life. These ideas need people like you to bring them to life. After all, the word “crowd” is right there in the name. 

When you contribute to a crowdfunding campaign, you are donating money to the Campaign Owner for the purpose they state on the campaign page. Someone who contributes to a crowdfunding campaign is called a “backer,” and not a “customer,” even if they are getting a physical product as a perk for their donation. That’s because crowdfunding isn’t shopping. In fact, that physical product probably doesn’t exist yet. A Campaign Owner usually runs a crowdfunding campaign to get donations and help their idea become an eventual reality. 

Thanks to people like you, lots of great ideas have become full-fledged products that the entire world can enjoy. And those early backers? They get to shape that product’s journey with their feedback, and more often than not, receive the product at a steep discount for believing in it at such an early stage. 

And just like anyone else getting in on an early-stage project, there are risks. Your campaigner might see changes, delays, and unforeseen challenges. It’s also possible that the product might not come to fruition at all. It’s your responsibility to use your own judgement about what campaigns you want to back. Indiegogo doesn’t screen any campaigns or endorse any user content, nor does Indiegogo investigate or guarantee the truthfulness of any claims made by the Campaign Owners. When you choose to make a donation, you do so at your own risk. 

There are some key things to consider when making a decision. Luckily, most crowdfunders use their campaign page to give you information to get to know them and the reasons they are crowdfunding. Here are some ways to assess the next crowdfunding campaign you support. 

Who are the people behind the campaign?

One of the best things about crowdfunding is that it affords you an opportunity to get to know the people who make these products. The Campaign Owner and other team members are listed in the Campaigner Profile Cards, located below the Campaigner’s name. Click on “About” below their name to see more information.

Beyond the information on the Profile Cards, you can also look at their campaign page to see what information they’ve shared about themselves. Some questions to answer:

  • Who are they?
  • Why are they raising money?
  • What is their background and experience?
  • Have they run a crowdfunding campaign before and, if so, what does the comments section on their previous campaign page look like?
  • Why are they passionate?
  • Are photos of the team members included?
  • Does the campaigner appear in the campaign’s video?
  • Are external links included (websites, news/media coverage, etc.)?

What is the campaign raising money for?

Crowdfunders are a diverse bunch, and as such, they have a diverse set of reasons for running a crowdfunding campaign. Some campaigners are raising money to put their product into production. Other campaigners are running a campaign to help them get feedback on a product that’s already in production. And occasionally, crowdfunders are only a few months from shipping. You should be able to figure this out from the campaign page: the pitch should be clear, transparent, and reflect the team’s passion and hard work.

  • Is the pitch transparent and personal?
  • Check out what their product stage is and read the correlating section in their pitch. Did they include clear images of the production stage they’re in and provide context around it?
  • How about the perk info? Any images of the perks? Descriptions?
  • Does the pitch text provide any perk fulfillment information?
  • When would you get your perk?
  • Is the campaign in InDemand?

Has the campaigner added content to their “updates” tab?

The “updates” tab is where campaign owners provide updates about their project. Campaign owners are supposed to keep their backers updated at least once a month on how their campaign is going: How is production progressing? Will they be offering new perks soon? Checking their updates can help you understand.

  • Is the campaign owner maintaining a commitment to transparency?
  • Are they upholding Indiegogo’s requirement to keep backers informed?
  • Have they been treating backers with respect?
  • When you look through the comments section on their campaign page, do you see that the campaigner is giving substantial and thorough replies to any questions?

Where else can you find information about the project?

If you want more information on a campaigner’s background and motivation, you can search the web to learn about their professional experience and how it may relate to the project. Do a quick web search to find out who they are and whether you’d want to do business with them.

  • What websites do they list on their Campaigner Profile Page?
  • What’s the campaigner’s prior experience?
  • How have the campaigner’s past business ventures panned out?
  • Have they run a crowdfunding campaign before, and did they deliver their perks?
  • Has the campaign received any press, and if so, what’s the tone?

How Indiegogo helps.

We conduct manual and automated reviews of campaigns and investigate negative feedback. We work hard to ensure that you will have a positive experience on Indiegogo. We want you to find a campaign that you can be proud to participate in, and to back an idea for a product that you’ll truly love and that wouldn’t exist without you.

When a campaign is delayed, it’s almost always because a campaigner is new to making a product and misjudged how long it would take to come to fruition. It can be frustrating, but patience is important when it comes to crowdfunding. After all, you’re taking a chance on a someone who is probably new to entrepreneurship.

Pitching in and making a new idea come to life is the best part of crowdfunding.

Any journey worth taking is going to have some bumps along the way. That’s what makes crowdfunding so special — you get to be a part of that journey and form a connection with the campaign. So many wonderful things have come out of Indiegogo over the years. Indiegogo backers like you have helped more people get around on electronic bikes, have made it easier to curb single-use plastics, and have allowed Black filmmakers to create meaningful art. So let’s get started.

Ready to explore some campaigns? Check out our current favorites.