Since crowdfunding emerged as a promising funding source, it continues to expand into new industries. Today, the crowdfunding phenomenon is visible in businesses across the board, from charity to real estate to scientific research. If you have a brilliant idea or a cause you are passionate about, crowdfunding is the perfect tool to utilize to raise both money and support. Now you may be wondering, what are the top crowdfunding sites?
With so many crowdfunding websites out there, it can be hard to determine which one will fit your needs and help you raise the most money.
Here are 4 things to consider before deciding which site is best for you:
1. Fundraising Tools
Take a look at the resources and tools your crowdfunding website offers. The best crowdfunding website will have social tools to assist in sharing your fundraiser on social media. Make sure the website has Facebook and Twitter applications as well as an easy way to share via email. With new social media sites popping up daily, it isn’t necessary to have every tool but make sure there are buttons for the ones you use daily.
Look for a library of additional resources, too. Some crowdfunding sites focus only on raise money; thus, their audiences are only seeking donations. The best websites, however, have strong, supportive networks of past users and current fundraiser. These sites provide blog posts about different medical and fundraising topics.
2. Customer Support
Check to see if the people behind the website are accessible. Do they have email addresses, a live chat, a phone line, or all three? Because friends and family members will be donating money online, it is very important that you feel the website and the team behind it are honest, responsible, and legitimate.
3. Crowdfunding Platform Fees
Most crowdfunding sites charge fees. Normal fees for personal fundraising sites range from 7% to 12%. Any website charging a fee over 20% should be a red flag. Additionally, some sites charge varying flat fees that appear low but also charge a credit card processing fee on top. Make sure the fee is clearly stated and easy to understand for you and your donors. The fee is usually a 50/50 split between the credit card fees and operating costs of the organization. However, YouCaring is unique because they do not charge fees like other platforms.
4. Ease of Use
If the crowdfunding website is difficult to use or understand, choose a different site. Before you start a fundraiser, navigate through the website. Does it make sense to you? Do you like how the pages look? Can you easily update and edit the information? The best crowdfunding websites make you want to spend time on the page and learn more!
Overall, finding the best crowdfunding website is often a matter of personal tastes, but make sure to review these 4 items before starting your fundraiser.
Here are the top crowdfunding sites broken down by category to help you find the best fit for your needs.
Crowdfunding for Education
This crowdfunding platform is entirely dedicated to education-related causes for individuals or organizations. Fundraiser organizers, called dreamers, create and share video campaigns explaining their education-based cause and goal. Donors, or believers, can then contribute. They have an all-or-nothing crowdfunding model. Meaning, if you do not raise the funds by the given deadline, the believers receive a refund. The site’s service fees range from 5 to 8 percent with a 3 percent payment processing fee.
GiveCampus partners with educational institutions to help students, alumni, parents, and faculty launch crowdfunding campaigns for school-related projects. Each school has guidelines for what type of campaigns people can create and the funds raised go directly to the school itself. Schools can pick between two fee options. The first is a monthly subscription and the second is a small percentage of the funds raised. It is free for people to create a campaign on the site, as long as their school is partnered with GiveCampus.
This site is unique because it is the only platform that kids under the age of 13 can use without their parent’s help. They aim to instill the value of effort and learning for students by helping students track their efforts in points. The platform uses different badges that indicate a student’s level as a way to motivate the kids. They offer three different pricing tiers. For instance, the basic pricing plan includes a service fee of 5 perfect for each donation and 2.9 percent payment processing fee.
Dedicated entirely to public schools, this platform allows teachers to submit requests for school supplies. Charity Navigator gave them a four-star rating due to their transparency and the amount of control given to each donor. Each project has a $30 fee for shipping and handling, on top of a 2 percent credit card fee. There is an option to give 15 percent of the project’s cost to DonorsChoose to support their efforts.
Personal Causes, Nonprofit, & More
YouCaring caters to several different crowdfunding categories, from education to disaster relief to medical expenses. To make your online fundraising experience easier, they offer live chat for customer service as well as daily access to your funds. YouCaring is the leader in free online fundraising for personal and charitable causes. It is the only platform on this list of top crowdfunding sites that will never charge a fee, because they know that every dollar counts. Like all other crowdfunding sites, small payment processor fees do apply.
Crowdrise focuses on assisting people to raise money for charitable causes. They do not have a goal requirement or deadlines. You can earn Impact Points when you donate to causes on their site. The site has a 5.9 percent platform fee plus a 2.9 percent credit card fee. But they do offer donors the chance to cover these fees.
People can organize crowdfunding campaigns for various categories, from personal to charitable causes. Its simple interface allows users to easily share their campaign via social channels. They take a 5 percent fee per transaction, and there is a 2.9 percent payment processor fee.
GiveForward allows you to raise funds during a challenge and is most commonly used to fundraise for medical expenses. They offer various services like sending words of encouragement, giving a meal, and fundraiser organizers can create a wishlist that donors can buy directly. There is a 5 percent platform fee and a 2.9 percent payment processor fee. They too allow donors to cover fees.
Crowdfunding for Creative Projects
This platform is a hub for creative people and projects. Once a creator has a clear project idea, they can use Kickstarter to raise the funds that will help bring their project to life. Creators can offer their backers a small piece of their project, like a CD of the album they are raising money to make. Kickstarter used all-or-nothing funding. Their service fee is 5 percent of the total funds raised with a 3 percent credit card fee.
If you want help at every stage of your creative project, from the moment you have the idea to getting it on the market, this crowdfunding site offers the tools to get the job done. They help from pre-launch to crowdfunding to joining the marketplace. You can pick between all-or-nothing funding or flexible. They encourage their fundraiser organizers to offer perks to engage their fans. The site charges a 5 percent platform fee with a 3 percent payment processing fee.
This crowdfunding site works a little differently. It allows you to gather monthly subscriptions from fans to help fund your creative projects. They also encourage their users to offer rewards to fans as a way to repay them for their support. They charge 5 percent for successful payments and there is a payment processing fee as well as an international transfer fee if payments are passed between two countries.
Crowdfunding Sites for Entrepreneurs
Fundable has built a platform focused on aiding entrepreneurs, startups, and companies raise capital from anyone. They allow users to pick between offering either rewards or equity in return for their support. They utilize the all-or-nothing crowdfunding model. It will cost you $179 a month and a 3.5 percent merchant processing fee per transaction.
If you want to grow your business WeFunder helps startups and small businesses grow. Your investors receive a small stake in the company, making them passionate about your company’s success in the long term. It only costs $195 to start fundraising on their platform and they charge a 4 percent fee for Regulation Crowdfunding, but only if you reach your funding goal.
This equity crowdfunding platform allows businesses to sell shares in their company to accredited investors. They have a network of 12,000 venture capitalists and angel investors. The cost starts at $399 per month but can reach up to $1,999 per month, depending on the service your pick.
As an equity crowdfunding platform, Seedinvest allows startups to raise funds from individual investors and venture capital firms. Entrepreneurs must raise at least a minimum funding goal before the investments are final. Depending on the offering type, the placement fee is between 5 to 7 percent with a 5 percent warrant coverage or equity. There is a zero to $4,000 fee for escrow, marketing, and legal expense reimbursements.
Real Estate Crowdfunding
PeerStreet offers private real estate loans from accredited investors. It even opens up past investments for investors to review, making a point to be transparent in its operations. Their service fees range from 0.25 to 1 percent. The duration of the loans is between 6 to 24 months and their loan-to-value ratio usually under 75 percent.
This site’s primary focus is commercial real estate equity investments. They offer one of the largest amounts of investment out there. They aim to take the middle man out of real estate investing. It simplifies the process, allowing you to browse, compare, and then invest. Make note that their offerings are only available to accredited investors. Their minimums are $25,000 to $50,000, which are higher than the industry average.
This site is a hub for people to come together in order to make investments in residential and commercial real estate. Both accredited and non-accredited investors can use the platform. Each investment has a fee that will depend on whether it was a loan or equity purchase. And minimum investments can be as low as $2,500.
For engaged couples or newlyweds, this crowdfunding site can be used to raise funds for a wedding, honeymoon, and even the down payment on a new home. You can sign up for a honeymoon registry for free, but offer a $39.99 deal called Honeyfund Elite that offers more services. Credit card processors take a 2.8 percent fee.
Slated offers an equity crowdfunding site for movies. It is an all-encompassing platform that helps with funding film projects, finding talent, and distributing the final project. They offer extended services like script analysis for an executive producer for a higher cost. You have to be referred by a current member to become a member yourself.
Out of this list of top crowdfunding sites, this is the only one dedicated to scientific research. They aim to empower people to change the world by funding scientific discoveries. Their platform works on an all-or-nothing model. Backers are able to see their impact because the scientists offer open access to their data and often produce journal publications. There is an 8 percent platform fee and the funding success rate is 47.1 percent.
This unique platform allows people to purchase what they call carbon offsets by sponsoring greenhouse gas reduction projects. They want to empower people to make an impact by becoming part of a solution to climate change. They even offer employee engagement programs to help get companies on board.
Top Crowdfunding Sites: Pick Your Platform
Utilize this list of top crowdfunding sites to find the platform that will best work for your project or cause and make it a success. For more inspiration, check out these tips and ideas. Start your free fundraiser today. For help deciding on a paymore processor read Which Donation Processor is Right For Your Fundraiser?
For a more in depth look at crowdfunding read Crowdfunding Expert Roundup: 13 Pros Make Predictions.