There was a paradigm shift in online fundraising between 2009 and 2010 when many NGOs came up with the best ways to connect with volunteers and donors. Many crowdfunding sites came up globally, whereby some of them catered for individuals, some for specific reasons, some for enterprises and many more. Founded by Chet Jain and Chaitanya Atreya in 2014, Crowdera realized that all crowdfunding sites were mimicking the Kickstarter model of commissions charging from NGOs created for campaigns. The commissions were getting into donor dipping and affecting both small and mid-sized NGOs. Furthermore, it was keeping many donors waiting. Jain also worked with Pearson and eBay apart from founding Silicon Valley-based SmartWe.
Jain believed that people should not talk about donors when they do well. He believed that any site that operates donations should be a free venture in that many volunteers were encouraged to give. This also helps to support many causes. He added that their mission was to assist people in doing the right thing for the next 30 to 40 years. Furthermore, they wanted to have in place a great human interface that is free of cost to give their campaigns a maximum reach. This is after realizing that the NGOs ran short of hand-holding despite being charged money by the platforms.
Based in Palo Alto, California, Crowdera carried a test with few Silicon Based NGOs that were mainly lending for social purposes in Africa and India. It got early support from Nopay startup based in California which is also a pre-seed venture fund and an accelerator. Apart from offering financial aid to ideas in their early stages, it also carries out community workshops at large scales for innovators and founders. Crowdera came to India after piloting in the US for almost one year and a half. The platform is found at gocrowdera.com, but it will soon be found in crowdera.in. The latter will serve specific campaigns in India launched by event organizers, celebrities, social enterprises, corporates, and non-profits.
The platform believes that it has unique features compared to other crowdfunding platforms. This is because it has a page for mobile funding and recipients can receive donations in their accounts instantly. This makes it user-friendly apart from being visually compelling and offering value-added services which allow the campaign to go viral. Apart from that, the platform makes good use of young generation making it a top marketing and donor engagement service. According to Jain people require lots of assistance in fundraising strategy, PR, marketing, developing social media presence, drawing up email lists and creating content. Many people also need education, and that is the agency services they are trying to develop while reducing the cost. He added that many organizations are already recommending the services they require to the platform. Moreover, the platform offers fundraising teams, curated reading materials, cross-site donation widgets, fund tracking, receipts donations and many more. Crowdera gives NGOs a chance to extend the campaign deadline if they have not raised the expected amount.
According to Jain, many fundraisers can be developed and run using a few buttons. People can raise funds without any leakage. He added that Crowdera has partnered with international payment gateways such as FirstGiving, PayU, PayPal and many more. All these make its operations in 200 countries easier. The platform has so far managed to conduct more than 2,300 campaigns for more than 5,500 registered and 500 non-profit donors in 35 to 40 countries. It has managed to raise not less than one billion dollars. Some of the top causes of the fundraiser on the platform are LGBT welfare, child and women healthcare, natural disasters and underprivileged education. The top fundraisers on Crowdera.in are Dr. Sunitha Krishnan social worker for Prajwala, RKR Kay’s actor/director Rajat Kapoor, first mountaineer and the blind paraglider in India Divyanshu Ganatra for Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation, Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma fame’s TV actor Gurcharan Singh, and Radio Mirchi’s vice president Rhea Mukherjee.
Crowdera has aided fundraising for Festival of Globe, Voice y Manos, Two Cents of Hope and Girls Write Haiti. The platform which has 19 members has an office in Nagpur in India and a Mumbai based front-end space. There is where many small and large NGOs have their headquarters. The platform is also developing some satellite centers in Tier 2 cities. According to the founder, the startup has 100% repeat rate in that all their donors have gone back to them and educated the audience as well. He added that the platform had not spent a single coin in marketing which has greatly been carried out by word of mouth. Jain also said that there is a need for India to grow up to accept that online is the best medium to donate. Many donors have a perception that NGOs have been put up for money laundering. According to Home Ministry, less than 5% out of more than 2 million NGOs are registered in India.
He added that many people are looking at the startup because it offers free platform. Moreover, the platform has linked itself to 9 out of 17 United Nation’s sustainable development goals. The startup depends on founders’ initial savings to run its activities apart from it being a No Pay’s grant. The startup raised the undisclosed amount in its pre-series A funding in May from various investors. The investors included Anil Advani attorney from Silicon Valley, Manish Satnaliwala, Pramod Jain, and Amarendra Reddy, all of whom are angels from Singapore, Anand Dega specialist of SME IPO and other investors from Bay Area. Crowdera is set for Series A round of funding in early 2019.