How to Choose the Best Crowdfunding Website for Your Next Fundraiser
Crowdfunding has become essential when raising money for everything from new product launches to medical debt to scientific research. But with so many crowdfunding sites out there now, you might wonder which one will fit your unique needs.
When researching the best crowdfunding sites, you need to consider a few important factors, including site features, community, and fee structures. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of five key considerations to keep in mind. With this information, you’ll feel more confident in choosing the right platform for your crowdfunding needs.
How to compare crowdfunding sites: 5 key services to look for
If you’re wondering, “How does crowdfunding work?” the concept is fairly simple: Someone starts an online fundraiser to meet a financial need, and then their network of friends and family members donate to their cause.
From there, the organizer withdraws the donations and is sent to their bank account. Below, we list the most important services to watch for in any online fundraising site.
Ease of use
Before you start a fundraiser, navigate through the crowdfunding platform site. The best crowdfunding sites make you want to spend time on their pages, learn more, and get involved. If a crowdfunding site requires a complex process to begin, choose a different one.
Does the site offer email support, live chat, or a phone helpline? Remember that your friends and family members will be donating money, and they might need help, too. The company must demonstrate honesty, responsibility, and availability while always prioritizing customer satisfaction.
Tools for spreading awareness in your community
Take a look at the social networking tools the crowdfunding site offers. The best crowdfunding websites have easy-to-use tools that make it easy to share your fundraiser on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, email, and more. Since your social network is a vital piece of your crowdfunding fundraiser’s effort to reach your audience, features like these are essential.
Crowdfunding fees comparison
A platform fee is when a crowdfunding site takes a percentage of all the money you raise through your fundraiser. Typically, crowdfunding platform fees range from 5% to 12%. Look out for punitive fee structures. Some platforms increase fees if you don’t meet your goal. Others have an all-or-nothing model, meaning you only receive the money based on whether or not you meet or exceed your goal.
Brand recognition and trust
It’s crucial to consider the reputation of a crowdfunding website before using it. A well-known company is more likely to inspire trust and loyalty from users. Its familiarity breeds confidence in the product or service. Moreover, a positive brand image indicates a company’s honesty and other desirable traits.
Consider these five key factors as you review the top crowdfunding sites in each category.
Crowdfunding for education
This nonprofit crowdfunding platform makes it easy to raise money for any classroom in need of funds online. Public school teachers across the US use the site to create classroom project requests.
Fees: Third-party payment processing charges of 1.5% represent the weighted average of fees across all payment methods used by donors. Credit card or PayPal donations include a fee of about 2.5%. The site charges no platform fee, as operating expenses are covered by voluntary donations to the nonprofit.
GiveCampus partners with colleges to help students, alumni, parents, and faculty launch fundraisers for school-related projects. Funds raised go directly to the school itself. They also offer a volunteer management system.
Fees: Schools can opt-in for a monthly subscription to use GiveCampus. Schools can contact GiveCampus for a quote.
Piggybackr provides a school fundraising platform where parents and students can raise money (as a team or individually) for school projects. Piggybackr gives students points and badges for their fundraising efforts.
Fees: Platform fee of 4%, along with 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for payment processing.
Crowdfunding sites for individuals and crowdfunding sites for nonprofits
GoFundMe is a trusted, well-known social fundraising platform for individuals, teams, and nonprofits with a giving community of more than 100 million worldwide. It is one of the best crowdfunding sites for personal fundraising. More than $15 billion has been raised, and GoFundMe offers the first and only donor protection guarantee: the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee. Additionally, GoFundMe has a customer care team that offers customer service every step of the way. Check out how it works in the video below and read honest GoFundMe reviews.
Fees: In the US, there is no fee to start or manage your fundraiser. A transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 is automatically deducted from each donation. Learn more about GoFundMe’s pricing.
This platform helps individuals, nonprofits, and companies to crowdfund for causes they care about. They offer both keep-it-all fundraisers or all-or-nothing fundraisers, meaning you don’t get access to your funds until you’ve reached your goal.
Fees: Individuals can choose a fundraising model with no platform fee for organizers (supporters are asked for optional tips). Organizations can choose from a “Standard” or “Pro” model. The “Standard” model has a 5% platform fee plus a payment processing fee. The “Pro” model has a flexible platform fee and payment processing fee.
With Fundly, either individuals or nonprofits can create digital fundraisers for a wide range of causes, including fraternities and sororities, military, and politics.
Fees: Fundly has no platform fee, only a payment processing fee of 2.9% plus 30 cents. The credit card processing fee varies for Stripe and international fundraisers.
Classy is an online fundraising site that is designed for nonprofits and social enterprises. The site comes with a fundraiser reporting tool to help track fundraising progress. Another site feature helps teams organize virtual events, including ticketing and event registration.
Fees: The platform doesn’t disclose pricing for their plans (you can contact the site for a quote), but there are fees for using Classy Pay. Classy Pay is nonprofit payment processing. Fees vary depending on the type of credit card that is used, but most credit card transactions are processed at 2.2% + $0.30 for each transaction.
Crowdfunding sites for musicians and creative projects
Creators seeking funding for particular projects can use the site to bring the project to life. Creators (ranging from individual designers and inventors to large corporations that want to test new product ideas) offer backers rewards, such as a small piece of the project, the first available prototypes, or the products that they are raising money to manufacture. You must raise all the funds you need, or get nothing.
Fees: A service fee of 5%, along with 3% + $0.20 per transaction for payment processing. Pledges under $10 have a discounted micropledge fee of 5% + $0.05 per pledge. All or nothing.
If you want help at every stage of your creative or entrepreneurial project, this site offers tools to help you get the job done, from pre-launch to crowdfunding and distribution. You can choose either an all-or-nothing fundraising experience or flexible funding.
Fees: Platform fee of 5%, along with 3% + $0.20 per transaction for payment processing. They have an international transfer fee of $25 when sending funds to banks outside of the US.
This platform allows you to build a fundraiser to gather recurring patronage for your art or other creative projects in the form of monthly subscriptions from fans. Patreon encourages users to offer rewards to fans as a way to repay them for their support.
Fees: Patreon offers two different plans: Pro and Premium. The plans take 8% and 12% of the income you earn on Patreon, respectively. In addition to payment processing, currency conversion, and payout fees, and applicable taxes.
Crowdfunding sites for business
Fundable is just one of the crowdfunding sites for startups, entrepreneurs, and companies to raise capital from the public through business crowdfunding. The site allows users to offer either rewards or equity in return for financial support.
Fees: $179 a month to fundraise, along with 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction for merchant processing.
If you want to grow your existing business, WeFunder can help you get funded. Your investors receive a small stake in your company, and the platform aims to increase their emotional investment in your success.
Fees: It’s free to start a company profile but they charge a service fee. For Reg CF, there is a 7.5% charge of the total amount raised only if the fundraiser is successful. For Reg A+, there is a flat fee of $375k.
This equity crowdfunding platform helps entrepreneurs connect with accredited investors to raise capital. EquityNet has a network of over 25,000 investors including venture capitalists and angel groups.
Fees: Subscription models range from “Starter” to “Full Service.” The “Starter” subscription is free, while the “Premium DIY” model costs $299 per month. The “Full Service” option costs $2,990 per month.
As an equity crowdfunding platform, SeedInvest allows startups to raise funds from individual investors and venture capital firms. Entrepreneurs must meet their minimum funding goals before investments are made final.
Fees: They have a 7.5% placement fee with a 5% warrant coverage or equity, plus a $0 to $10,000 fee for escrow, marketing, and legal expense reimbursements.
Real estate crowdfunding sites
This donation website offers private real estate loans from accredited investors. As a testament to its transparency, the site also opens up past investments to review and scrutiny. Loan duration is between six and 24 months, with a loan-to-value ratio usually under 75%.
Fees: 0.25% to 1% servicing fee on the total loan amount.
A crowdfunding site for commercial real estate equity investments, RealCrowd aims to take the middleman out of real estate investing. Accredited investors can browse, compare, and invest.
Fees: They have a base listing fee of $15,000 plus varying investor processing fees.
This site brings its users together to invest in residential and commercial real estate. Both accredited and non-accredited investors can use the platform. Each investment has a fee that varies depending on whether the investment is a loan or an equity purchase. It is a solid choice as far as real estate crowdfunding sites go.
Fees: The minimum investment is different for every investment, but it can be as low as $5,000.
Niche crowdfunding sites
For engaged couples or newlyweds entering the next stage of life, this crowdfunding site helps raise funds for a wedding, honeymoon, or even the down payment on a new home.
Fees: There are no fees for gift cards. For cash gifts, the money is automatically deposited into your bank or PayPal account for a fee. For a bank account powered by Stripe, the fee is 3.5% + $0.59.
Slated is an equity crowdfunding site for movies. This start-to-finish platform helps with funding film projects, finding talent, and distributing the final project. It also provides the option of extended services such as script and financial analysis for an additional cost.
Fees: If you find a distributor or sales agent with Slated’s help, Slated will get a fee of 4% of gross sales plus an “In Association With Slated” front card and end credit.
A crowdfunding site dedicated to scientific research, Experiment helps researchers raise the funds they need to pursue new discoveries and technology. Backers can review their impact through open access to data and the resulting journal publications.
Fees: Platform fee of 8% with 2.9% + $0.30 payment processing fee. They only offer an all-or-nothing fundraising model.
Choose the right crowdfunding platform for your needs
Use this list of the best crowdfunding platforms to find the one that works best for your project or cause. For more crowdfunding inspiration, check out these fundraising tips and ideas. Start your fundraiser today.