Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites

Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites

 

If you have an idea for a new product, a start-up business or a compelling cause, you’ve probably thought about how to raise the funds you need, meaning you’ve probably thought about raising funds on the internet.

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way for individuals and small businesses to raise money. As it grows in popularity, though, more and more fundraising websites become available. All crowdfunding platforms are not  created equal. Every crowdfunding platform is different, so you need to choose the one that is right for you. 

Which crowdfunding platform should you use to raise money for a charity, business, start-up, innovation or personal need? How to evaluate.

Consider the platform fees, credit-card processing fees, waiting periods to receive the funding and the types of campaigns associated with the website:

 

  • The platform fee is the percentage of the money you raise that the website charges you to raise that money. The average fee is 5%, though some platforms charge as much as 10%. However, there are a few platforms that don’t charge a fee at all.  
  • The credit-card processing fee is the charge that the bank puts on each credit-card transaction.
  • Certain platforms will only let you raise funds for specific types of projects. For example, some sites only allow creative projects, some only take small businesses or inventions and others won’t accept personal projects or memorials.

 

You want to look for a website with the lowest platform fees that best suit your unique fundraiser. That way, you can tell your potential contributors that 100% of the money you raise will go to your cause. Try to avoid the “all-or-nothing” approach, which requires you to meet your fundraising goal to receive funding, as opposed to receiving donations regardless if the goal is met.

You should also consider how much time you must wait to receive the funding you raise. Let's say you're raising money for a family whose house burned down. You would want that money immediately, not at the end of the campaign.

The following are some great websites for choosing the best platform for your campaign:

 

KickStarter

Who it’s good for:

Kickstarter only funds projects or inventions. At the end of your campaign, you need to have created something tangible.

Pros:

  • Offers a Creator Handbook on how to get started
  • Allows you to test projects in a global market
  • Doesn’t charge funders’ credit cards until the project meets its goal

Cons:

  • Limits campaign types (creative and performing arts only) 
  • Charges a 5% platform fee
  • Charges a 3.0% – 5.0% credit-card processing fee +$0.05 – $0.20 per donation
  • Implements an all-or-nothing approach (lose what you raised if goal is unmet)

 

UHelp

Who it’s good for:

UHelp is open to all campaign types and provides immediate access to all donations. They also offer a discount for nonprofit organizations.

Pros: 

  • Doesn’t charge a platform fee (keep everything you raise)
  • Charges a discounted credit-card processing fee for nonprofits 
  • Is a service of GrantWatch, a trusted and ell-known website.
  • Offers Daily Marketing Plan to help start your campaign
  • Provides free consultations with a fundraising specialist
  • Has solid customer support (phone, email and live chat)
  • Gives you immediate access to funds

Cons:

  • Is only one year old (product of GrantWatch)
  • Charges a 2.2% – 2.9% credit-card processing fee +$0.30 per donation

 

GoFundMe

Who it’s good for:

GoFundMe has no restrictions on its website. Anyone who wants to start a campaign is welcome.

Pros:

  • Offers 6 Steps to help you get started
  • Welcomes all campaign types
  • Is well known

Cons:

  • Does not accept donations under $5
  • Charges a 5% platform fee
  • Charges a 2.9% credit-card processing fee +$.30 per donation

 

Indiegogo

Who it’s good for:

Indiegogo only allows campaigns pertaining to creative, entrepreneurial or community projects.

Pros:

  • Provides a Crowdfunding Field Guide
  • Has partnerships with businesses like Amazon and Brookstone
  • Offers reward and equity crowdfunding

Cons:

  • Limits campaign types (creative, entrepreneurial and community projects only)
  • Charges a 5% platform fee
  • Charges a 3.0% credit-card processing fee +$0.30 per donation

 

FundRazr

Who it’s good for:

FundRazr has various tools, customizable options and support to help your fundraiser become successful. Anyone can start a campaign on FundRazr for any reason.

Pros:

  • Offers a choice between “keep-it-all” approach and “all-or-nothing” approach
  • Accepts a variety of currencies
  • Offers good customer support with campaign advice           

Cons:

  • Charge a 5% – 7% platform fee
  • Charges a 2.9% +$0.30 credit-card processing fee
  • Requires proof of your nonprofit status

 

Classy

Who it’s good for:

Classy offers a variety of features for nonprofits and individuals looking to raise money.

Pros:

  • Is optimized for mobile devices
  • Gives you the option to tailor a vanity URL
  • Has solid customer service (phone, email and live chat)                  

Cons:

  • Charges a 5% platform fee (basic package)
  • Charges $499.00 per month for a 2% platform fee (Classy Pro)

 

Fundable

Who it’s good for:

Fundable is a crowdfunding platform specifically for businesses.

Pros:

  • Connects you with backers looking to invest in business
  • Provides guides for startups, investors and crowdfunding   

Cons:

  • Is not well known
  • Charges $179 per month
  • Limits campaign types (businesses only)
  • Charges a 3.5% credit-card processing fee +$0.30 per donation

 

Patreon

Who it’s good for:

Patreon is designed for artists and creatives. This is a great platform for freelance artists as well as small-shop or Etsy-store owners.

Pros:

  • Supports freelance artists
  • Offers monthly donation option
  • Provides content analytics

Cons:

  • Is not well known
  • Limits campaign types (artistic and creative campaigns only)
  • Charges a 5% platform fee
  • Charges a 2% – 4% credit-card processing fee

 

Charidy

Who it’s good for:

Charidy is a crowdfunding site dedicated to nonprofit fundraising.

Pros:

  • Offers a wide range of campaigns (auctions, dinners, membership drives, etc.)
  • Allows personal campaigns for medical and disaster relief

Cons:

  • Limits campaigns to 24 hours
  • Requires three donors willing to match smaller donations
  • Charges a 2.9% platform fee
  • Charges a 2.9% credit-card processing fee +$0.30 per donation

 

DonorsChoose

Who it’s good for:

DonorsChoose is a website where public-school teachers can start a campaign for necessary materials and experiences for their students.

Pros:

  • Partners with individuals who may match donations
  • Has been supporting teachers and students since 2000
  • Offers gift cards for purchase (for use on DonorsChoose)

Cons:

  • Limits campaigns types (classroom projects only)
  • Forces you to spend the donations on pre-approved classroom items manufactured by specific vendors
  • Requires school verification

Allocates 15% of each donation to overhead, teacher outreach, maintenance and buildout of the DonorsChoose website

In summary, choose the platform with the lowest platform fee (because that eats into the money your raise), immediate access to your funds, and the most marketing support.  

About the Author: A research associate prepared this document as part of her marketing fellowship activities.

UHelp | Crowdfunding on #GivingTuesday2017 Builds Holiday Cheer for Forgotten Children

Home for the holidays can take on a somber meaning for girls in theVillage’s residential treatment programs.

The nonprofit, organized to build healthier families and prevent child neglect and abuse, does its best to ease the loneliness and abandonment felt by the girls in-residence who either can’t go home or just don’t have a place to return to at all. But, too often, inadequate funds can get in the way of the best intentions of any charitable organization.

Jory Barrad, Vice President of Development and Marketing at theVillage, learned of UHelp while scrolling through mental health funding resources on Grantwatch.com. Barrad's staff jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the free crowdfunding platform to solicit support on #GivingTuesday for holiday trips and activities that will make the girls feel special this time of year.

“Blanket statements asking people to give to a charity don’t usually work very well.  People respond when they know where their money is going,” said Elizabeth Marafino Fiola, senior development coordinator at theVillage, in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “This year was our most successful #GivingTuesday campaign because we tailored our message to raise funds specific for trips and activities during the holidays.”

Since launching an appeal on UHelp, “Christmas at theVillage” has received more than $1,1000 in paid donations and with verbal pledges, is on its way to achieving its goal of $2,500. Fiola said the donations will help to sponsor trips for the girls, ages 12-18, to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, or places to ice skate or to see a live show, such as Panto at People’s Light, Disney on Ice, Stomp, and the Nutcracker.

“These normalizing activities are a great opportunity to boost self-esteem and make the holidays brighter for the girls in our care,” she said.

Crowdfunding is all about engaging potential donors and building momentum within “the crowd,” said Libby Hikind, CEO and founder of UHelp and Grantwatch.   

With limited human resources at their disposal, Fiola said past #GivingTuesday campaigns were somewhat overwhelming and produced less. UHelp, she said, simplified the process. Her task was much easier, using the UHelp platform, to draw attention to the crowdfunding page by emailing theVillage’s database, posting on Facebook and Twitter, and monitoring donations recorded to the tote board on the UHelp crowdunding page.

The mission of theVillage is to promote the healing of the spirits of children, families and communities broken by trauma including violence, neglect, addiction, poverty, mental illness, racism and other serious societal problems. 

theVillage provides a spectrum of child welfare and residential programs, as well as mental health and prevention services that help children impacted by trauma from abuse, neglect and mental health issues.

theVillage works with families to resolve the issues that lead to intervention and work toward a better future. Programs emphasize evidence-based methods and a caring environment that reflects our commitment to the Sanctuary Model of Trauma Informed Care. Programs include: Residential Programs; Outpatient Behavioral; Health; Foster & Kinship Care; Adoption; After School/Out of School Time; and In-Home Services.

About the Author: Staff Writer for Uhelp.

Sources:

Is This The Hero of Pompeii? Archaeology Crowdfunding Holds Key to Unlock the Mystery

A skull belonging to the Hero of Pompeii, the Roman philosopher and naval commander who helped save thousands of lives in the famous city during the deadly volcano eruption of Mt. Vesuvius 2,000 years ago, is about to be verified.

But, before the remains of Pliny the Elder can be conclusively identified, Italian scientists need to raise enough money to carry out tests, such as a stable isotope analysis, to determine where the skull that now sits in a Rome museum came from and if it belongs to the fallen commander of the Roman fleet.

Because Italian cultural and scientific institutions are mired in a budget quandary, the mystery behind the man who lost his life leading history’s first large-scale rescue operation may rest with a profitable archaeology crowdfunding campaign.

Relaxed funding for excavations and government support for the study of ancient cultures like the Pliny project have sometimes put the onus on crowdfunding to engage the archaeological community and get potential donors involved to back proposals.

Most of the crowdfunding platforms for archaeology projects require a processing charge — about 10 percent to 15 percent – based on whatever money is raised, said Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of the free crowdfunding platform UHelp.

“With so many tasks needed to ensure high-quality work, some projects have difficulty obtaining funds,” said Hikind. “Crowdfunding has become a valuable tool to foster collaboration between historical societies and academic institutions that promote the sponsorship of those quality research projects they feel passionate about.”   

Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, and smothered Pompeii, a city of 20,000, in deadly hot ash before many people had time to escape. Pliny the Elder, who commanded the Roman fleet from across the bay in Naples, used his ships to sail into Pompeii and rescue local citizens to safety.

Pliny the Elder sailed into danger and, like some 2,000 others who are believed to have perished in the molten ash, never returned from Pompeii. A body found a century ago “covered in jewelry like a cabaret ballerina,” may have really been his. But, those beliefs have never been confirmed. 

Some skeptical archeologists have argued that a Roman admiral would never have appeared so heavily decorated, like a "ballet dancer." But, Gennaro Matrone, an Italian engineer who was involved in an early excavation at Pompeii and discovered the remains of 70 people near the shoreline, has a hunch that one of the figures found away from the others is Pliny the Elder.

Once an estimated 10,000 thousand euros from crowdfunding is found, Matrone believes testing the isotopes in the teeth of the skull will validate his claim.

About the Author: Staff Writer for UHelp