New Crowdfunding Site ifundi Lets You Collect Money For Pretty Much Anything

Categories: Culture

A few of ifundi's ongoing campaigns, soliciting donations for a kidney transplant, a dog's veterinary surgery, and travel expenses for high school cheerleaders.
Sometimes, we're short on dough. Hey, there's no shame, it happens to the best of us -- especially if you happen to be a "non-essential" government employee at the moment. And though some might be a little shy to reach out to family and friends to throw us a bone in person, asking for help can be much easier online.

Enter crowdfunding or crowd-sourcing websites. You might be familiar with existing ones like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, but the latest venture to hit the World Wide Web is based here in South Florida -- and it's far less restrictive than most of the better-known sites out there.

Meet ifundi (pronounced i-fund-e). ifundi was created with the average person in mind, says founder/CEO Mark Wenzowski; you can create a fundraiser to raise funds for a new iPad for school, for your favorite charity, and even to help raise money for expensive surgery. Unlike Kickstarter, which primarily raises funds for business launches and artists' projects, there are no limits here.

Wenzowski explained how ifundi works: When a campaign is created, "there are no time limits... it will remain live until the campaign creator decides to deactivate it." We repeat: no time limits. Another fundraising perk that ifundi offers is allowing creators to withdraw funds at any time during the campaign and reactivate said campaign if needed.

The main motivation behind launching ifundi for Wenzowski was simple: "I wanted to create an easier way for people to reach out to friends and family for financial support." Therefore, ifundi's services are "centralized around personal driven causes," adds Wenzowski.

Like its predecessors, ifundi pages are free to set up. But the site does deduct a 5% fee in order to keep its services up and running. "Iif no donations are made, then nothing is collected; no one will ever be billed or owe us money," Wenzowski says.

Since ifundi provides a platform for users to start a campaign for any need, what about fraud? Wenzowski says that users are required to sign up via their Facebook page (noting that they are the only crowd-funding website with such requirement), therefore, users are "establishing credibility and trust with potential donors." In other words, if you make up some fake heart-wrenching story in order to get money, your friends and family on Facebook will know and call your bluff. And if you create a completely fake Facebook account, he says, you won't have any real friends to share your cause with.

Furthermore, Wenzowski adds that donors "making a contribution to a cause or individual that they do not know personally is completely at their discretion, and most anonymous donations are made to campaigns with a lot of activity."

Wenzowski went on to explain in full detail (just how we like it) about other aspects of the funding website, so it's best to let him do the talking.

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