Whether you want to raise capital for a business venture, launch a project that otherwise wouldn’t get off the ground, or are doing your best to help others in need, there has never been a better time in the history of humanity to reach out to countless supporters with the wide variety of crowdfunding platforms available online. On the other hand, new fundraising sites pop up regularly, and you need a reliable and dedicated platform that will reach a large audience ready and willing to contribute to your cause. To help you decide on a fundraising website that is the best fit for you and your passion, here’s a handy guide detailing nine of Sociality Squared’s favorite crowdfunding programs:
Chances are pretty good that you’ve at least heard of the crowdfunding giant, and for good reason: Kickstarter features an immense group of backers with incredibly diverse tastes. Just about any sort of creative project that you can dream up can be placed on Kickstarter, such as videogame development, book publishing, music albums and photography.
Kickstarter (as well as every other platform on this list!) is free to use, but only pays out to the creator of the project if their funding budget is reached within the allotted time limit. If the Kickstarter campaign is a failure, all donated funds are returned to backers. Note that 5% of the total funds raised from a successfully funded project are retained by Kickstarter, and that campaigns launched on this website have an impressive 44% completion rate!
Both Kickstarter and Patreon are commonly used to raise money for artists, but the biggest difference is that Patreon is intended to fund continuous creative activity instead of large finite projects that need a defined budget to be completed. Weekly webcomic artists, YouTube video creators, musicians, podcasters and bloggers are just a handful of examples of the people who could benefit from launching a Patreon campaign. Unlike Kickstarter, fans pledge each month on a subscription-like basis that pays out to creators depending on how often said creator releases content, up to a monthly limit set by the backer. If you have a dedicated group of followers and publish your creative efforts on a regular basis, Patreon is worth looking into.
Imagine a Kickstarter with a more flexible payment system, and you have Indiegogo in a nutshell: This fundraising platform is as fluid as possible when it comes to the range of projects that you can raise money for, including creative and humanitarian goals. Whether an Indiegogo campaign is launched to support a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica, or gain sponsorship for an independent film, the fundraiser may keep all money pledged to the cause, even if it doesn’t hit its initial goal. If a campaign fails, Indiegogo keeps 9% of all funds raised for the cause, but they skim only 4% off the top if you meet your minimum goal.
This fundraising platform is similar to Indiegogo on the surface, but sports a few key differences, including RocketHub’s partnership with major television channel A&E (Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, etc.) and that the site focuses on four main categories: art, science, business, and charitable projects. RocketHub allows campaigners to keep collected funds for failed campaigns as well, but what makes it stand apart from the competition is the chance of catching the eye of A&E, who may substantially fund and promote your cause on their network.
The only European-centric crowdfunding program on our list, Ulule is comparable to Kickstarter. Ulule’s commission fees differ by nation, but this lesser-known platform is a great way to reach out to potential supporters living in Europe to support your creative or humanitarian projects.
And now for something completely different: AngelList is the ultimate hub for start-ups to present their business plans and innovative ideas to prospective investors to quickly inject your budding enterprise with major funding from angel investors. This slick website clearly showcases a huge variety of creative products, original apps and other new businesses, as well as the investors waiting for just the right idea to be dangled in front of their noses.
GoFundMe is the largest crowdfunding website dedicated to personal causes such as medical bills, helping individuals with travel arrangements, and volunteer work. One of the greatest assets of GoFundMe is that it allows campaign starters to keep all funds raised, whether or not the noted goal was hit. Over 1 billion dollars have been raised through GoFundMe for charities, organizations and persons looking for help since the site launched in 2010.
The promise that at least $97 out of each $100 raised for your fundraiser sets CrowdRise apart from the pack, especially since the crowdfunding platform is completely dedicated to charitable causes. It’s heartwarming to see how popular CrowdRise is, considering that the only reward that backers are going to get will be the comfort that their donations will help feed the hungry, raise money for medical research, provide disaster relief and beyond.
Quirky as a platform is a unique crowdsourcing idea used to make unique ideas a reality. In a nutshell, anyone with an idea for a physical product can pitch their concept to the Quirky team and its large community, where the pros and cons of creating the item will be thoroughly discussed and dissected. If the idea passes the initial vote, Quirky’s passionate users will help fine tune the product’s design, name, suggested retail price, and otherwise enhance the invention’s core concept before the professional manufacturing crew at Quirky mass produces the new creation for sale. Once an idea becomes a real retail item, both the creator and major influencers on the product’s development will earn a percentage of the gross revenue of their invention.
We hope that our guide to our favorite fundraising platforms will help you to select the right crowdfunding website to host your next big project. With so many fundraising sites regularly popping up, we’ll be sure to let you know when a newcomer worth your time appears on our radar. Best of luck to all of the creators out there, and may you meet and surpass all of your campaign goals!