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Ultimate List of Crowdfunding and Fundraising Websites

Understanding the fees and unique features on crowdfunding sites and fundraising websites can help you choose between the hundreds of options.

While almost all the media attention for crowdfunding sites goes to mega platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there are hundreds of other crowdfunding and fundraising websites to meet your campaign goal. Understanding the fees and unique features at each will help you take full advantage of the boom in alternative funding.

I've updated this list of 18 crowdfunding platforms and fundraising websites with a list of sites and crowdfunding resources to help you raise money online. Besides fees and the types of projects allowed on these crowdfunding sites, pay attention to which categories seem to do the best on the site and which resource tools you can use to make your campaign go smoothly.

crowdfunding ebook and fundraising ideasIf a fundraising site has a forum or some type of community, spend some time to see if it leans toward any particular category or demographic. This will give you an idea of the kind of audience you can expect from the site and how appropriate it is for your campaign.

Don’t become another crowdfunding statistic. Get everything you need to raise money in the crowd with Step-by-Step Crowdfunding. An Amazon best seller in the crowdfunding and non-profits categories with almost 1,800 copies sold.

Click to get your copy of Step-by-Step Crowdfunding and learn what it takes for crowdfunding success!

I have included a rough classification of the best crowdfunding sites and fundraising websites at the bottom of the post. It’s not an exact classification but might help you decide which crowdfunding website or fundraising site is best for your needs.

Want to see how other crowdfunding campaigns are using the fundraising websites below? Check out two prior posts on which platforms are being used for church fundraising ideas and school fundraising ideas to raise nearly $1 million for 22 non-profit crowdfunding projects.

Please use the comments section at the end of the article to add any crowdfunding platforms or fundraising websites that didn’t get listed.

Choosing the right tools for your crowdfunding and fundraising campaign

Before we get to the list of best crowdfunding and fundraising websites, I thought I would include a list of the best crowdfunding sites and resources for your campaign. I've included a few of the ones I have used here but check out the blog for a full review of resources. Once you've selected a crowdfunding or fundraising website for your campaign, these are a few tools that will make your campaign much easier to manage.

One of the first things you should consider before launching your crowdfunding campaign is putting together a simple website and blog. You can set up a few-page site and blog quickly and it will help give credibility to your campaign. Posting to your blog once a week will also help draw visitors from Google search and help push your campaign. If you haven't yet got a website, I've used BlueHost and found their site builder tools easy to use. The webhost usually offers promotions that makes it extremely inexpensive to launch your website.

See How You Can Set Up a WordPress Blog in 15 Minutes

One of the most important parts of any fundraising campaign is your social media outreach. Despite what most think, there really is no ‘crowd' in crowdfunding. You have to use sites like Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your campaign and build enthusiasm. Hootsuite is a online social media tool that makes this easier by linking all your accounts and allowing you to send out messages from one page. You can schedule social shares and messages as well as respond to messages.

Fiverr.com is another useful tool for outsourcing the things you can't do or for which you just don't have time. Freelancers post their ‘gigs' on the site starting at $5 and then offer upgrades. Getting little tasks done can be remarkably cheap and I've used it for everything from marketing to search engine optimization.

Crowdfunding and Fundraising Websites

Fundly

Fundly is a crowdfunding website that’s helped raise over $330 million. Designed specifically for individuals and nonprofits, Fundly’s simple crowdfunding model allows campaign creators to instantly build a custom donation page and accept donations directly from supporters.

Fundly, launched in 2009, was one of the first crowdfunding websites and has helped pioneer the industry. From easily customized fundraising pages which help you tell your story with images and videos to multiple social media integrations which help you promote your cause, Fundly is designed to help you raise funds quickly.  And Fundly is not an all-or-nothing service so you don’t have to hit a specific goal in order to receive the donated funds.

Products: Fundly offers two crowdfunding products:

  • Fundly, which provides individuals with an easy way to raise money for any cause they care about or need to raise funds for.
  • FundlyPro, which provides nonprofits with robust tools to run a successful crowdfunding / peer-to-peer fundraiser for their organization.

Fees:

It’s free to start a campaign with Fundly. You only incur a fee if you successfully raise money, in which case Fundly charges a 4.9% platform fee in addition to the standard credit card processing fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. The platform fees also go down if you run a big fundraiser.

Create your Fundly fundraiser today.

YOUCARING

YouCaring offers crowdfunding for personal and charitable causes and charges no fee to fundraising organizations. That could make a huge difference compared to the 5% fee charged on the GoFundMe platform. For example, you would lose $250 in fees on a GoFundMe campaign versus no fees charged on YouCaring.

The site specifically offers categories of Medical and healthcare costs, Memorial & funeral costs, Education & tuition fundraising, Family & adoption costs, Faith-based service projects, Pet & animal expenses, Community or Cause.

YouCaring Free Fundraising Website

YouCaring Free Fundraising Website

YouCaring does not permit fundraising for legal defense, litigation, bail bonds or other legal matters.

Fees:

YouCaring does not charge admin or service fees though donors are given the option to donate to the website to support operations. PayPal and WePay offer third-party payment processing and charge 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

KICKSTARTER

The largest crowdfunding site with more than 13 million visitors every month, Kickstarter hosts crowdfunding campaigns from comics and crafts to technology and Theater. The site does not allow campaigns for social causes so you’ll need a product or event to promote.

The platform has helped nearly 80,000 projects get funded with a strong community of repeat backers. Nearly 300,000 people on Kickstarter have backed 10 projects or more. About the biggest drawback for Kickstarter is that it only offers the all-or-nothing funding model which means that if you do not reach your funding target, you get none of the funds pledged.

Fees:

Kickstarter collects a 5% fee for successfully funded projects. Payments are processed by Stripe which charges between 3% and 5% of the amount.

Average Backer Pledge Kickstarter

Average Backer Pledge Kickstarter

INDIEGOGO

Similar to Kickstarter, except that here, you can raise funds for any project (so long as it’s legal), including donations for charity. This opens the crowdfunding site up to campaigns for personal finances, medical needs and just about anything. Kickstarter has gotten better about supporting international campaigns but I still hear from some campaigns that they prefer Indiegogo for raising money from international sources.

The flexibility and ease of international crowdfunding on Indiegogo has helped its popularity and campaign success is slightly higher at 44% compared to Kickstarter. The site receives upwards of nine million visitors per month.

Fees:

Under the flexible funding model, Indiegogo charges a 9% fee on the funds raised. If you reach your goal, you get 5.0% back, for an overall fee of 4%. Fees for the all-or-nothing model are a flat 4% of contributions. PayPal or credit card processing is available with fees ranging between 3% and 5% of the amount.

Indiegogo offers a 25% discount on their platform fees for any campaign raising funds for a nonprofit institution with a 501(c)(3) registration in the United States. Contributions for these campaigns are tax-deductible.

Kickstarter Indiegogo Categories

Kickstarter and Indiegogo Categories

Image courtesy of Simran Khosla at PandoDaily

ANGELLIST

AngelList is not necessarily a crowdfunding website but a platform for startups to meet investors, candidates and incubators. In the past, angel investing was one of the best forms of funding for startup companies, similar to venture capital, and was typically the first round of funding after friends and family. Angellist is an equity crowdfunding site where companies offer an ownership stake in exchange for funding. Click through to this post for more about how to find angel investors and raise money for your small business.

Syndicates – An angel or fund forms a syndicate, picking which investments it likes and wants to support. Private investors then support the syndicate to invest indirectly or directly in the separate projects.

Cost:

For Startups – No fees to receive an investment from a syndicate
For Backers – 5-20% carried interest per deal to the syndicated lead and 5% carried interest to AngelList
Out-of-pocket setup costs for each investment: $8K in the US and £8,300 in the UK

Self-syndication – Allows accredited investors the opportunity to make direct investment in individual campaigns.

Cost: Investors pay a 10% carried interest to AngelList and a fixed setup cost.

APPBACKR

Appbackr is one of the two popular crowdfunding websites for applications development. It aims to index the world’s apps, helping developers raise funding and to build attention around their apps and app ideas.

Developers can sign up and post their apps, whether they are still in development or currently for sale in a mobile app store. Backrs purchase wholesale copies on appbackr and makes a 26% profit when he backs an app. If the app is already available, funds are immediately transferred to the developer’s PayPal account. If the app is pre-launch, the funds will be available when the app is ready to be released.

As the app sells, appbackr counts the number of sales and pays the developer and the backrs when the mobile app store distributes the money.

appbackr crowdfunding website model

appbackr crowdfunding website model

Products

AppBakr has three main products

  • Appscore, which provides incentives and rewards to developers based on a ratio between the appscore and its current market performance;
  • Xchange, which provides a platform to developers to receive offers from stores and platforms to port their apps; and
  • Marketplace, which has helped developers to crowdfund $1 Million to develop and market their new apps.

While it's not necessarily a crowdfunding platform, Como.com is a great tool for app publishing and can be used with some of app crowdfunding platforms. After you've raised money developing your app, you'll want to launch it to a larger audience with some of the features on Como.com like scratch cards and in-app coupons.

Como App Maker: Start Free Trial Now!

ROCKETHUB

RocketHub is one of the more popular crowdfunding sites after Kickstarter and Indiegogo and has a great support system with the crowdfunding site’s Success School series. The platform offers the flexible funding model where you keep any pledges made whether you meet the funding goal or not.

RocketHub has partnered with A&E Project Startup for a huge potential boost to campaigns. Campaign owners have the chance to be featured on television and on the A&E website, as well as featured in the channel’s bi-annual magazine.

Fees:

If you reach your goal, 4% commission fee + 4% credit card handling fee. Fees for flexible funding if you don’t reach your goal are higher at 8% plus the 4% processing fee.

RocketHub Crowdfunding Success School

RocketHub Crowdfunding Success School

CROWDRISE

CrowdRise allows you to create a fundraiser online for your favorite cause. The fundraising website runs on the flexible funding model where you keep all pledged donations. The site is one of the largest for social cause crowdfunding and used by some of the largest non-profits including the Red Cross, UNICEF and the Boston Marathon. Crowdrise offers a unique point system that helps track the impact charities are making through their reporting numbers.

Edward Norton co founder Crowdrise fundraising website

Edward Norton co-founder Crowdrise fundraising website

CrowdRise offers three pricing plans for crowdfuding:

  • The Basic Plan has no annual fee but charges 5% plus credit card fees of 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction
  • The Featured Plan includes a $49 per month fee but reduces the donation fee to 4% plus credit card fees.
  • The Royale Plan charges $199 per month but lowers the donation fee to 3% plus credit card fees.

FUNDABLE

Fundable is one of the few crowdfunding platforms to offer both equity crowdfunding and rewards-based crowdfunding. One of the most interesting features on Fundable is that it charges no fee associated with how much your campaign raises, i.e. the 5% fee on Kickstarter. This means you keep any money pledged and makes the site more attractive to those looking to raise a large amount.

Two ways to Fundraise – Equity-based Fundraising and Rewards-based Fundraising.

Pricing and Fees:

Fundable charges $179 per month plus a merchant processing fee of 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction for rewards-based crowdfunding.

The site charges $179 per month for equity crowdfunding campaigns.

SEEDINVEST

SeedInvest is a platform that enables equity-based crowdfunding by accredited investors in startups. Crowdfunding campaigns must reach their funding goal to receive any funds. Companies should expect to take a minimum of 60 – 90 days to complete equity crowdfunding.

SeedInvest Equity Crowdfunding Website Model

SeedInvest Equity Crowdfunding Website Model

The crowdfunding site charges no investor fees and allows you to invest alongside with institutional investors.

Costs:

  • 5% placement fee, to be charged on the value of the fundraising upon successful completion.
  • Between $3,000 and $5,000 in due diligence, escrow, marketing and legal expense reimbursements.

WEFUNDER

WeFunder is another equity crowdfunding site but offers lower minimums for investment. You still have to be an accredited investor but can invest as little as $100 for an individual company.

Startups receive most of the funds committed, minus an admin fee. Investors also pay a $10-$75 admin fee on top of their investment.

Fees:

WeFunder charges 10% carried interest, and a nominal admin fee between $2,000 to $4,000 upon the successful close of the funding.

Wefunder Equity Crowdfunding Platform

Wefunder Equity Crowdfunding Platform

CROWDCUBE

CrowdCube is a U.K. crowdfunding website backed by Balderton Capital and more than 400 private investors who have collectively invested more than £1.8M across multiple rounds of funding. You can find investment opportunities in a variety of industries or raise funds for your business. Currently, they only support British businesses.

  • Equity – Raise investment in exchange for an equity stake in your business.
  • Mini-bonds – Give the crowd the opportunity to lend you expansion capital and share in your growth.

Fees:

Success fee – 5% (VAT Exempt) of total funds processed
Administration – £1,250 (ex. VAT)
Corporate services – £1,250 (ex. VAT)
Payment Processing Fees: 2.4% of the funds processed + £0.20 per transaction

GOFUNDME

GoFundMe is one of the most popular fundraising websites for personal fundraising causes. The platform offers a little more personalization in campaigns and three models for fundraising: personal campaigns, charity fundraising and all-or-nothing campaigns.

Under the personal campaign model, you set up your campaign and request donations. This is a good option for those looking to fund medical expenses, memorials, and travel because you don’t have to offer rewards. For personal campaigns, you do not have to set a deadline or funding goal.

The charity model allows you to choose one of the non-profit organizations listed on the site and promote it through your social network. Crowdfunding promotion is one of the toughest parts of crowdfunding so it's nice to have another option.

The all-or-nothing campaign model is similar to Kickstarter where you create a crowdfunding campaign and offer rewards for backer contributions.

In the United States, GoFundMe deducts a 5% fee plus a processing fee of about 3% and $0.30 from each donation you receive. International fees range from 6.9% to 7.9% depending on the country. Charities pay a 5% platform fee and a 4.25% fee to FirstGiving.

If you do go with a non-rewards based fundraising website like GoFundMe, make sure you check out our mega-resource of 33 expert ideas to boost fundraising ideas and crowd campaigns.

GIVEFORWARD

GiveForward is an online fundraising website that claims to be the #1 crowdfunding platform to start a medical fundraiser and the only site with fundraising coaches providing guidance. Specific categories include medical bills, veterinarian bills and funeral expenses.

Each fundraiser is assigned a personal coach that is available to answer questions and provide advice via phone or email. Besides the personal coach, an attractive feature is that the fundraising campaign can distribute funds to the recipient any time and in chunks or all at once.

Fees:

Giveforward charges 5% for the platform plus 2.9% + $0.50 goes to their online payment service provider.

GiveForward Fundraising Platform Coaches

GiveForward Fundraising Platform Coaches

PATREON

Patreon Crowdfunding Website

Patreon Crowdfunding Website

Patreon was launched to enable fans to support their favorite creators and is geared towards ongoing projects of music, video and other creative projects. The site offers a really unique model in that backers pledge to support creators on an ongoing basis, usually for each project, until the backer cancels the promise. Pledges are generally for smaller amounts than the one-time donations on other crowdfunding sites but can grow over time with multiple projects.

Patreon can be a great way for those in the creative space to fund their ongoing projects without having to constantly worry about raising money for each individual campaign. Rewards are offered but are usually only deliverable one time.

Fees:

Patreon charges 5% on pledges with credit card processing adding another 4% off the donation. Beyond these fees, creators also pay billing partners for payment processing between 2% and 5% of the amount.

ALUMNIFUNDER

AlumniFunder aims to help build deeper relationships between students and alumni by providing a platform to fund creative and innovative projects within the university community.

People who register on AlumniFunder are divided into two groups: Students and alumni looking to create a project (“Doers”) and Alumni and the general public who are looking to browse and fund these projects (“Alumni”). Crowdfunding campaigns run for a limited time (30-60 days) and operate on the all-or-nothing model. As of this writing, there were no active projects listed on the site.

The idea of an alumni networking crowdfunding platform makes a lot of sense as alumni have been strong supporters of campaigns on other sites.

APPSTORI

AppStori is a crowdfunding and fundraising platform connecting mobile app consumers and developers before an app becomes available on an app store.

Developers can raise funds, find beta testers, build an audience, advertise their needs and wants and create a “Stori”, essentially allowing friends, family and consumers to be part of the team that brings the app to the market.

When consumers find a team or an app they would like to support, they can make a contribution. Depending on the amount, each team offers different rewards to supporters/backers. Payments are facilitated with Amazon Payments.

Fees:

  • AppStori deducts 7% of total collected funds
  • Amazon Payments deduct 2-3% for credit card processing.

CIRCLEUP

CircleUp is an equity crowdfunding platform that connects accredited investors with innovative consumer and retail companies. Companies must typically have substantial revenue (> $500,000 annually) or other indicators of potential success and are evaluated by private equity investors before being allowed on the site. Average funding time is between two and three months and funds can be raised through convertible debt or equity. Companies pay a commission to FundMe Securities LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CircleUp.

Minimum investment size is $1,000 and up, depending on the offering. There are no fees for investors and your investment is returned if the company fails to meet their target funding.

An interesting feature of CircleUp is the ability to follow “circles” based on an affiliate company, usually a private equity analyst or an investment firm. The affiliate publishes their opinion on deals and investors are allowed to co-invest through a fund managed by the affiliate. Investors pay carried interest to be a part of the fund.

CAUSEVOX

CauseVox is another fundraising platform developer with tools to create your own website for online fundraising. The fundraising site tool works similar to WordPress with custom themes and templates available.

At the time of this writing, Causevox was offering development with no monthly fees until you raise $5,000 online. At that point, the site offers three pricing plans.

  • Starter plans carry no monthly fee but charge 5% on each transaction and limited features.
  • Impact plans charge $49 per month but charge only 4.25% per transaction. Users can develop an unlimited number of fundraising sites and have access to more features.
  • Pro plans charge $129 per month and a 4% transaction fee with unlimited sites and full access to features.

Payment processing is available through Stripe or PayPal and will amount to another 3% fee per transaction.

causevox fundraising websites

causevox fundraising websites

While some crowdfunding sites or fundraising websites may allow multiple types of campaigns, I’ve tried to offer some kind of classification below to help you pick the best for your fundraising campaign or crowd project. This is only a guide to make it a little easier but in no way absolute. Read through the descriptions of crowd and fundraising sites and consider talking to other campaigns to find the best for you.

Best Crowdfunding sites for rewards-based campaigns

crowdfunding sites fundraising websitesKickstarter and Indiegogo are by far the largest crowdfunding websites in terms of traffic and popularity. That can go a long way in attracting a crowd to fund your campaign. Kickstarter only accepts rewards-based campaigns while Indiegogo is a little more lenient on requirements. It’s a good idea to check one of these two out unless another crowdfunding site has a specific feature in which you’re really interested.

RocketHub is also a popular rewards-based crowdfunding site though not quite as trafficked as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The crowdfunding platform has developed a great program with A&E TV so might be able to offer huge exposure if you can get noticed by the site.

Patreon offers a unique crowdfunding model for people with recurring funding needs like artists, writers and others that create multiple projects regularly. If you’ve got an active group of people that regularly follow and support your work, this site is definitely worth checking out.

Best Crowdfunding sites for equity crowdfunding and angel investing

Even before the SEC clears non-accredited investors to invest in crowdfunding projects, equity crowdfunding has become a great source for business funding. As with traditional angel and venture capital funding, you sell an ownership stake in the company for funding.

Fundable offers rewards-based crowdfunding as well but one of the rewards-specific platforms would probably be better suited for a non-equity campaign. The upside to equity crowdfunding on Fundable is that you pay only a monthly fee instead of a percentage of funds raised.

SeedInvest, CircleUp and WeFunder are also equity crowdfunding websites with fees slightly lower on WeFunder. CircleUp has a strong investor community and has developed the investing circles concept on its platform. This might help to reach larger investors and influencers for your equity campaign.

For those business owners in the U.K., CrowdCube is a good choice for equity crowdfunding. The opportunity to raise money through equity funding or through bonds helps to match investor needs and risk appetite.

Best Crowdfunding sites for Apps

Appbackr and AppStori are both crowdfunding websites for application developers and look fairly similar. You can raise money for app development as well as sell your app through the sites. I’ve never used either and would love to hear from people that have used the sites and can help with feedback.

Best Fundraising websites for non-profit fundraising

Fundraising websites and platforms account for a little over a quarter of total crowdfunding pledges each year. A few fundraising sites have become the standard for the group while others offer special features.

Crowdrise and GoFundMe are the two most popular crowdfunding fundraising websites. As co-founder of Crowdrise, Edward Norton has done a lot of press on the cause and really helped to bring the spotlight to the site. GoFundMe doesn’t have the boosters but has the most campaigns and higher visitor traffic.

YouCaring does not charge a project fee, making it one of the low-cost fundraising site options, but still charges payment processing. The fundraising coaches at GiveForward are a nice feature though I have never used the service.

CauseVox is a fundraising website developer and not necessarily a fundraising site where you can directly raise money. If your non-profit is an ongoing organization with regular funding needs, you might consider creating your own fundraising site for the purpose.

Choosing the best crowdfunding site or fundraising website is only one step of the process you’ll need to be successful. Crowdfunding sites have opened up a whole new world for small business and non-profit fundraising but you need to learn the process of promoting and managing your campaign to meet your goals. Check out the entire process with Step-by-Step Crowdfunding, the only crowdfunding ebook to take you from start to finish

 

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About Joseph Hogue

An investment analyst by profession, I run two blogs (Crowd101 and PeerFinance101) in personal finance, peer lending and crowdfunding. I've been on both sides of the table as a lender and a borrower and am excited to be a part of the peer movement. With the power of the internet, people are helping other people manage debt and raise money in ways never before possible.

Comments

  1. Good article – well done- very helpful! Thank You!

  2. GoBigRiver has a great crowdfunding module for nonprofits as well. The free version is perfect for organizations that want to try crowdfunding and avoid fixed costs. A more robust version allows an organization to run unlimited concurrent campaigns and take advantage of advanced configuration.

  3. Ivan Pavlovic says:

    Hi,

    The article was well written and very informative information for those wanting to learn more about crowdfunding options in the market. I wanted to make a comment on one of the alternatives as well for those looking to build their own crowdfunding websites. Thrinacia is whitelabel crowdfunding software built for those wanting to make their own crowdfunding website. It offers a fully customizable experience with powerful features. Yet is easy and simple to use with great support.

    • Camille. Hill says:

      My beautiful daughter, is a young woman, who lost all of her gorgeous teeth due to the negligence of a doctor. She desperately needs dental implants to make her a whole woman again. We can’t afford the cost and people think that the loss of all of your teeth is no big deal. Would you have any advice for me on which crowd fund to use. Having teeth that are permanent would change her life put that stunning smile on her face again. Thank you…. Mom

      • Hi Camille,
        The best platform for these kind of social cause campaigns is GoFundMe since you don’t have to offer any rewards to supporters. Make sure to reach out to all your personal network, family and friends.

  4. Good article. Very informative and useful for crowdfunding. Thanks for sharing it.

    Regards
    Bilbo

  5. Great article! You could add http://www.GiveSendGo.com to the list. We are the #1 Free Christian Crowdfunding platform similar to Gofundme. We do not charge a platform fee unlike most other site. There is a payment processing fee of 2.9% +.30 from Stripe but it goes to them not us! Check us out!

  6. Andres Arriola says:

    Hi Joseph,
    This post is awesome, it was one of the first ones everyone should read to inform themselves better on crowdfunding. I’m putting together a crowdfunding campaign and read your book “Step-by-Step Crowdfunding”. I’m still debating on which platform to use. The purpose of the campaign is to bring in more funds to a startup company. We don’t want to give up equity so I’m pretty much debating on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We are based in the US but I’m not quite sure if Kickstarter will approve our project. Another concern is the flexible or fixed dilemma. One brings certainty of some funds while the other creates security and urgency for backers. One last thing is, what task is the most budget draining in a crowdfunding campaign? I appreciate any insight you can provide.
    Best,
    Andres

    • All good questions Andres.
      1) Plan your budget so that the flexible/fixed goal doesn’t matter. Set your goal at about four or five times what you absolutely know you can raise on the first day through pre-launch. That will get you on Kickstarter/Indiegogo radar for a hot campaign and you shouldn’t have a problem meeting your goal.
      2) Outreach and marketing is usually the big budget buster, establishing connections and spreading the word. Start with personal connections and build a strong network that will help do the legwork for you. A strong team of initial contacts is how most campaigns go viral.

      Good luck on the campaign!

  7. Great list! Thank you really much!

  8. We have a small pet grooming salon in a rural area we opened 3 years ago. Our client base has grown beyond our expectations and we desperately need to build our own building designed to better meet the needs of our community. In a rural area like ours stray and abandoned animals desperately need a rescue facility which is what we want to incorporate. We can’t afford to do this without help however giving up equity would not leave enough for operating costs and a reasonable profit to sustain us. What suggestions might anyone have?

    • Hi Toney,
      Sounds like a crowdfunding campaign could help you raise the money. You’ve already got the community and customer base so raising the money will be much easier than starting a campaign from scratch. Your rewards are going to be discounted services, naming rights and other products/services related to your business. You’ll want to pre-launch you campaign to get an idea of how much money you can raise but it shouldn’t be a problem if you follow the process. Check out Step-by-Step Crowdfunding on Amazon Kindle or paperback for the 17 steps. Good luck.

  9. Joseph, what about music related crowdfunding platforms such as show4me.com and pledgemusic.com. I understand that these are niche crowdfunding platforms, but music is the top category on most crowdfunding sites. These two platforms are almost the same but the only difference is that Show4me platform is much better for concerts and gigs crowdfunding. The site has very good funding model specially for concert crowdfunding. So I should say that for music crowdfunding I would choose one of these two. For concert crowdfunding campaign I would choose Show4me without any doubts, for other music related campaigns I would also consider one these two. My personal opinion is that using non-focused platforms can be a big frustration for fundraisers. Joseph, I would be happy to see your article about TOP niche crowdfunding platforms. Everyone knows that crowdfunding becomes more and more allocated and directed from day to day. Thank you for good article!

  10. Adriana says:

    Hi, I belong to a church and we want to raise money for the poor kids in the north of Brazil, where there is a sports project, needing basic things such as water, energy, sports goods and facilities, transportation, coughing, food and bevarage, etc. In order to taking them out of streets where they learn crime, etc. In the future we also plan to build a school. What plattaform do you suggest me? Thank you.

    • Hi Adriana,
      The social crowdfunding sites are best for this kind of campaign. Check out the fundraising sites in the list like GoFundMe, Causevox and other charity sites. Don’t forget that there is still the crowdfunding process even for non-profit campaigns. Good luck.

  11. Great list and explanation.

    I recently found booster.com which has teamed up with customink.com to have campaigns around a shirt/sweatshirt/hoodie design. I wish they would tie in other products from customink, but they have to start somewhere, right? I will be doing a campaign to raise funds for training et al for a much needed service dog.

  12. Great article. Thank you.

    Here’s something that’s not clear to me – as a start-up that’s considering crowdfunding: How do you classify the money that you raise through the rewards-based crowdfunding? Specifically, is it a gift, a loan, income, or something else? How would the start-up account for expenditure of the funds received? (If you are a non-profit or raise equity based funds, I understand, but not as a for-profit, raising reward based funds). Thank you.

    • Good question and one that trips up most crowdfunding campaigns. Any money you raise through crowdfunding is considered regular income by the IRS (or most tax regulators). If it is for a business then you would consider it start-up capital that YOU provided into the business since the donors do not have a claim to it. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of all your expenses and everything you spend on your campaign because you’ll need to use it against the taxes you pay.

  13. Good Article, thanks. What if monies raised are going directly to let’s say to an adoption firm or lawyer, would that still qualify as income for the IRS?

    • It’s still counted as income. If it went to an organization with a 501c3 status then you could write it off on your taxes as a charitable donation but then you have to itemize your deductions. Thanks for the question.

  14. Toni Anderson says:

    Hello. Any thoughts on which sites offer the simplest or best transaction to collect the funds, and which ones are most successful in a veterinarian life saving situation? I can’t decide between youcaring and giveforward, if you recommend those for veterinarian costs to save the life of a dear, young rescue dog (now our family member) diagnosed with a rare cancer tumor. I read negative things about wepay, but I don’t have any expertise with this. Perhaps you have a better option, or can clarify. Thanks for any thoughts.

    • Hi Toni,
      I don’t have quite as much experience with YouCaring or GiveForward as I do with GoFundMe. I have heard that GiveForward is a good site and easy to use. For visitor traffic, it’s hard to beat GoFundMe for non-profit causes. They are also pretty easy to work with on collecting funds.

  15. Martin McDonald says:

    Hello Joseph,

    Great article, I was just wondering if you could direct me.
    I am Hong Kong based with a company registered back in Australia.

    I have invented a sports product and built a sports brand around it from the trade marked name Eliminator.
    The trademark is registered in 7 countries and has a range of products ready to launch.
    I am hoping to rival all the major players in the industry but need help with funding.

    I am happy to give up equity but would like your thoughts on which may be the best platform for this type of crowdfunding.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards
    Martin McDonald

    • Hi Martin, I almost always recommend a rewards-based crowdfunding project before an equity campaign. This helps test and develop your idea without giving away equity. Natural choices for platforms would be Kickstarter or Indiegogo

      • HI Joseph,

        Great article, as are all the others. I was going to make one comment, then I read this question, which basically ties into my comment. Hence the reason for answering here:
        International business owners do not have much of a choice when it comes to crowdfunding platforms. At the moment Kickstarter is only in some countries, but fortunately for Martin, Kickstarter is in Australia and Hong Kong. However, to simply say go with Kickstarter or Indiegodo is not accurate, because you really have no choice in the matter. 🙂 Interestingly, if you are a backer, you can back from anywhere in the world on Kickstarter. However, as the project creator you can only be in the US and some other 19 countries.
        Keep up the good work. I have learned so much from you. -Joan

  16. crowdnuke says:

    Hello Joseph, Thanks for your posts about the crowdfunding and marketing techniques. All the posts are very useful for new crowdfunding campaigners as well as crowdfunding people who failed to get the success. Keep posting these post, BTW I’m a regular visitor of your blog.

  17. uFundingPortal says:

    Please add uFundingPortal into your list, a website that offers the Title III (or equity-based) crowdfunding service. A U.S.-based business entity can make funding request up to $1 million in a year by either selling its stocks or borrowing loans.

    The cost of using uFundingPortal.com is extremely low. For business owners, the website only charges success fees (5%-to-6%) on investment funds. For investors, the website only charges $0.50 per withdraw from a bank’s escrow account. The minimum investment an investor can make is $10.

  18. Lindsey says:

    They allow people to review different crowdsourcing sites in different categories such as design, content, funding, accommodation, services, and education. It can be hard to tell the merits of one site vs another one and The Crowder really helps with that!

  19. Jon Freeman says:

    Thank you for this very helpful list. I have a potentially huge social benefit project – a crowd-wisdom collaboration to create the template for a new economic model. From what you have said, GoFundMe and Crowdrise look the best fit. I am wondering if it makes any difference if the project is long-term and the amounts in six figures? I also would like to know if it is possible to work with more than one site?
    Thanks,
    Jon

    • Jon, It’s usually best to focus on one crowdfunding site though with social projects you can work fundraise on more than one. Longer-term, high-dollar fundraising projects are best split into more manageable chunks so you can show donors you’ve had success crowdfunding on the little projects.

  20. Scott Scott says:

    How would you use Crowd funding for starting a restaurant?

    • Your best bet would be to make it a very grassroots crowdfunding campaign. Reach out to local groups and on local websites. Rewards would be things like tickets to a private opening, special theme date nights at the restaurant, and gift certificates…and anything else you could think of.

  21. Bob Hadden says:

    Thanks for your in depth review of the above valuable information. We are considering crowd funding as an avenue to raise $1m for the purchase of 13 Gulf Front acres for a Condo/multi family development. We could offer equity or future discount weekly rentals as inducement for investment to perspective investors. We are a group of high school/college life long friends and do not want to turn project over to high rolling (persay) developers out to financially rape out grass roots efforts. Any ideas as to how to proceed? Which crowd funding effort would be best for us? Whether or not to offer equity or rewards? (Note: we envision this project to take from 3-5 years, 96 units with 24 homesites and $20m when completed. We have 13 presells ($3m) with only rough draft in hand.)Thanks

    • Bob, there are quite a few crowdfunding platforms specific to real estate development. Fundrise comes to mind immediately as well as RealtyShares and RealtyMogul. Would have to be an equity deal rather than rewards.

  22. Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for the wonderful and incisive post. I am currently based in the United Kingdom and plan on raising funds for a start-up that will be implemented in Africa. Its a hotel booking website and we plan on expanding to the whole of Africa and all other continents . Any ideas on how to go about crowd funding this start up ?

    • Hi David,
      Your project is may be best suited for equity crowdfunding since it is for a for-profit company. Many of the U.S. equity crowdfunding sites are limited to U.S. corporations but check out the recent post on 7 equity crowdfunding sites for the new crowdfunding rules. There are also international crowdfunding sites that are open to all.

      A rewards-based campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo could be a possibility but you would have to think about what to offer backers, maybe hotel stays and vacation deals if you could negotiate something with providers. Good luck.

  23. very helpful in distinguishing the categories and types of crowdfunding. I currently have a WordPress site as well, and was waiting for proper paperwork to put a contribution/donation page. I’m looking to file as a 501c3 as healingfathersministry(dba HFM WORX) .Today though, I would CF as a personal or offer rewards(shirt or donor plaque)acctble as income to the IRS with gofundme, crowdrise, youcaring, or givesendgo. After 501c3 connect with gofundme’s charity list and continue new crowdfunding as the non profit all decisions based on my personal pro/con list. Am I heading in the right direction? God bless you and am looking forward to gleaning knowledge in the future posts and the ebook(a future biz expense)

    • A 501c3 is a great start for crowdfunding because people know their contribution is going to a good cause and is tax-deductible. You’re right that you could also start with a small crowdfunding campaign now to raise money for the process. If it’s a good cause then people will support it on its way to a charitable organization.

  24. Alison Koenig says:

    Great article and the most in-depth I’ve read when researching crowd funding! My business idea is an app. I am not a developer, just an idea for an industry specific app. Would either of the app funding pages pick up the idea and help me build it? Or am I better off using my own developer and putting it on a different crowd funding source? The 2 am considering are indiegogo and rockethub. I have received quotes from app builders so know the cost and that is what I was planning on asking for. Do you suggest asking for a percentage above that figure to cover the funding costs? Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Hi Alison, The app crowdfunding sites have the benefit of being a targeted universe but really lack the reach of the other sites. If you already know the development process and have been in touch with a few developers, I would say go with the larger sites first (my preference would be for Indiegogo). You can always go back to the App crowdfunding sites later if the general crowdfunding doesn’t work out but the same can’t be said for vice-versa (you can get locked in to their distribution on the app crowd sites). I’m not really familiar enough with app development or pricing to say what you should do on setting a funding level but you need to make something out of it as well, especially to cover other expenses.

  25. Thank you for providing some very useful information in regards to crowdfunding, I really appreciate it. I am about the navigate the waters of crowdfunding, and I learned a lot thanks to your article. Wish me luck…fingers crossed.

  26. What is your opinion on Fundable? Also, 18 months strong of traction/ momentum I wanted to know if I could be of any value to you, would it be possible to get some more Qs answered?

    Thank you again Joseph. Great Article.

    Warmest Regards,
    Angel Mondragon

    • Hi Angel, I haven’t followed Fundable much but definitely a legit platform. The idea is that some of the smaller platforms may be better if they target a very specific group that clicks well with your project. Always open to answering questions.

  27. Do you have any suggestions as to where I should be putting my campaign. It’s travel, so I know it makes it difficult. I am currently using PlumFund, which is a nice site, but I’m going no where fast. I have had close to 60 shares and still have no contributors. Should I just delete this and go to a different site?
    Here is my story, description, pitch, or whatever they choose to call it.

    Short Story: I want to visit Georgia, so that I can tour the sets of Vampire Diaries and The Originals.
    Longer Story: In April 2014 I was diagnosed as having Bipolar Depression along with Severe Anxiety.
    I didn’t handle the diagnoses very well.
    The shows became a sort of comfort to me, and I watched them almost non-stop for a year
    Still today, if I am having a bad day, I’m stressed, or depressed,
    I just turn on one of these and it helps me relax.
    As strange as it sounds, I am emotionally invested in these two shows.

    • Hi Cynthia, I haven’t seen much on PlumFund but it is definitely one of the smaller crowdfunding sites. If you can put together a reward system, i.e. a walking tour of the trip and Vampire Diaries site, you could put the campaign on Kickstarter. If not, then GoFundMe would probably be a better bet. The biggest thing though isn’t the site but your own pre-launch marketing. You really need to reach out and develop the fundraising campaign, starting with everyone you know. It is amazingly easier if you get that initial little push from friends and family.

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