Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites

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Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites — If you have a start-up business or a compelling cause, you’ve probably thought about how to raise the funds you need, meaning you’ve probably considered raising funds on the internet.

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way for individuals, small businesses and nonprofits 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. So, what is the best crowdfunding platform to use if you want to raise money for a nonprofit, business, start-up, charity, or personal need?


How to choose the right crowdfunding website for you:

First, assess the platform fees, credit-card processing fees, and waiting periods to receive the funding. You should also examine the types of campaigns associated with the website:

  • The platform fee can be an outright fee or the website may take a percentage of the money you raise. 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.

Additionally, 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. Also, be wary and 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 of if the goal is met.


The Top 10 Crowdfunding Websites for you to Consider
:

When looking for a crowdfunding website, you ideally want to look for a platform with the lowest 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.


1. 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
  • Processing Fee is 3% + $0.20 per pledge
  • Implements an all-or-nothing approach (lose what you raised if goal is unmet)

2. YouHelp

Who it’s good for:

YouHelp is only for USA-based verified nonprofit organizations.

Pros: 

  • No platform fees
  • Donations go straight to the processor
  • YouHelp never touches your funds
  • Fundraisers are organized by verified USA nonprofits
  • YouHelp is powered by GrantWatch, a trusted and well-known website.
  • Learn Nonprofit Marketing modules (optional)
  • Immediate access to your funds
  • Low credit-card processing of 2.2%  and $0.30 per donation

Cons:

  • Nonprofits must be located within the USA
  • Requires proof of your IRS nonprofit status

3. GoFundMe

Who it’s good for:

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

Pros:

  • No platform fees
  • Offers 6 Steps to help you get started
  • Welcomes all campaign types
  • Is well-known

Cons:

  • Does not accept donations under $5
  • Anyone can start a campaign.
  • Charges a 2.9% credit-card processing fee and $.30 per donation

4. Indiegogo

Who it’s good for:

Indiegogo only allows campaigns from innovators and entrepreneurs for 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

5. FundRazr

Who it’s good for:

FundRazr is open to anyone 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:

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

6. Classy

Who it’s good for:

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

Pros:

  • Owned by GoFundMe

Cons:

  • You have to fill out a form to get pricing information

7. Fundable

Who it’s good for:

Fundable is a crowdfunding platform specifically for small businesses.

Pros:

  • Connects you with backers looking to invest in business
  • Provides guides for startups, investors and crowdfunding
  • Rewards and equity options
  • You keep 100% of your proceeds

Cons:

  • Charges $179 per month
  • Limits campaign types (businesses only)
  • Charges a 3.5% credit-card processing fee +$0.30 per donation

8. 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:

  • Limits campaign types (artistic and creative campaigns only)
  • Charges a 5%, 8%, or 12% platform fee depending upon your subscription type.
  • Charges a 2% – 4% credit-card processing fee

9. 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 multi-currency and is multi-lingual
  • Offers 24/7 customer support

Cons:

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

10. 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.