Crowdfunding, as the name suggests, allows people to raise money from a large number of people in small amounts for various causes. These crowdfunding online platforms help you raise funds, whether it is for a personal cause or disaster relief. Done through dedicated fundraising platforms such as Ketto, Crowdera, and Impact Guru, crowdfunding has been gaining popularity in recent times. Earlier this year Anamika Gupta (name changed) from Chhattisgarh faced a similar problem. One of her close relatives had a medical emergency and in the absence of a medical insurance cover, they faced a shortage of funds for the treatment. As Gupta was aware of crowdfunding, she was able to raise almost 50 per cent of the cost of the treatment through this route. More recently, during the Kerala floods this year, crowdfunding was used by a large number of people for raising disaster relief funds. The central of crowdfunding is social media. Similar to the impact in our day-to-day life, social media plays an important role in this process. Experts believe, sharing a campaign actively on social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook can create the right atmospherics to attract people and help you raise money. How to use it? Anyone can start a fundraiser using these platforms. To use a fundraising platform, you can create a campaign by filling out a form with your contact details and mentioning the reason or cause for which you want to raise money. However, it is easier to raise funds if the campaign is for a social cause. For instance, the beneficiary being a non-profit organization or a hospital, as compared to an individual for a personal reason. If you want to help and pay for someone, payment for these campaigns can be made either through a debit or credit card, net banking, Paytm and Unified Payments Interface. The fund disbursements are made directly from the crowd-funding platform to the beneficiary account. Experts from these platforms suggest people should generally come with around 20 to 30 per cent of the funds needed for each cause and campaign. Varun Sheth, founder, Ketto, says, \u201cFundraising platforms should be looked at as to fill up the shortage of money needed, but you can start raising fund even from zero for a personal or social cause.\u201d For example, for your educational cost, if you need Rs 5 lakh, you should arrange around Rs 1-2 lakh either from your savings or your guardian. The rest could be raised from crowdfunding because the money that is raised here is through donations of people you do not have to repay. Charges Most fundraising platforms do not charge any upfront money. However, as a success fee for any campaign, 8-10 per cent of the total money raised is charged. This also includes platform fee, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other payment gateway fees. Tax benefit Also, people donating for disaster relief funds, such as the recent Kerala floods, are eligible for tax-benefit u\/s 80G. However, it is not applicable to people raising fund for personal cause because the money goes to their bank account.