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Toronto crowdfunding site offers perks in exchange for donations to campaigns

TORONTO - A Toronto-based crowdfunding campaign website is giving Canadians material incentives to donate. was originally set up as a fundraising site for registered charities with daily deals that users can unlock by donating.

It relaunched this year as a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, so the public can also upload their own campaigns and raise money themselves.

Perks come in the form of savings on a variety of options such as a Niagara Wine Tour, an in-home yoga package, a gun shooting course, French macaroons, car service and many more.

Savings — promotions from socially responsible brands — usually start at 50 per cent off.

Users can also opt for gift cards for major national brands like American Eagle, Indigo, Milestones, Victoria's Secret, the Hudson's Bay Company and Forever 21. They are usually valued at $10.

Using the perks offers will cost the person seeking crowdfunding 25 per cent of their campaign goal, on top of's fees of five per cent if their make their goal and nine per cent if they don't.

Apostolos Sigalas founded in April 2013, and says the thing that separates it from other crowdfunding campaign sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo is that users don't have to provide their own perks.

"I think that goes back to our model, 'Give More, Get More.' People tend to give more if they get something in return," the 40-year-old said.

"Donate $10 and you can get a free Starbucks gift card. Donate $10 to get 50 per cent off a dinner for two in Toronto." is also making fundraising easier for charity Anything-A-Thon organizers with the launch this month of its Give Back program this month.

They raise money by listing their events on the site and then encouraging their participants to create campaigns. For every dollar raised, donates a portion of the revenue back to the charity.

The Canadian Cancer Society was the first to sign up its upcoming Relay for Life event in June.

Relay for Life co-ordinator Brittany Russell says it's an amazing and new idea to help organizations raise much needed funds.

"People are looking to contribute to the stories and issues that affect their families and their communities, but they are struggling to part with their hard-earned dollars," Russell said.'s marketing director Sabrina Nicosia also points out that people don't like asking others for money.

"Our model puts the power into the hands of the fundraiser," Nicosia said.

Nicosia says users can upload their own perks or let take care of providing perks.

"Some campaigns lend themselves to cool perks, others are grasping at straws," she said.

John Wong, senior development officer at Hospice Toronto, a charity partner since January 2013, thinks the reason some people are giving have changed.

"It's very specific to a demographic of people who are looking for more than just that feel-good feeling, but something material in return for supporting a cause," Wong said.

"We clearly recognize that there is this demographic informed by media and digital technology - the millennial generation - and that's why we signed up."

Outside of crowdfunding, the website works with about 35 charities, such as Autism Ontario, Because I Am a Girl and Sunnybrook Foundation.

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