Deposit a Gift Adds Crowdfunding to Its Cash Gift Registry Business

7/16/13Follow @jpruth

New York-based Deposit a Gift relaunched its platform Tuesday morning to push its new crowdfunding services for fundraising needs that range from school donations to even buying a first home.

Deposit a Gift started out as a cash gift registry for weddings, babies, and other events (and items people want). CEO Dana Ostomel says she relaunched the site after seeing a growing segment of her customers use it as an ad hoc way to raise funds for such things as relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. She believes Deposit a Gift was already in the crowdfunding sector, albeit with a different approach from the likes of Indiegogo or Kickstarter.

“If you think about crowdfunding at its very core, it’s about using your network to raise money for what you need,” she says. That may not be the most politically correct way to talk about wedding and baby registries, but Ostomel says she founded her company on the psychology of gift giving.

She started work on Deposit a Gift in 2008, has thus far bootstrapped its development, and launched the site in 2010 letting users—who pay fees to set up their campaigns—raise cash gifts for trips, birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal needs. After about one year though, she noticed customers also used the site for charitable efforts and even to fund the expansion on a restaurant.

Ostomel believes there are more opportunities to reach parts of the market, such as nonprofits, that do not realize crowdfunding can be an option to address their financing needs. With her platform’s new focus, she says, the cash-gift aspect of the site will not vanish.

“You can use us to raise money for a cause or as a registry,” Ostomel says.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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