Top Crowdfunding Sites: Pick the Right One for Your Needs
Crowdfunding has become an essential tool for raising money for everything from new product launches to medical bills to scientific research. But with so many crowdfunding websites out there now, you might be wondering which platform will best fit your needs.
Before answering that question there are a few things to consider, including site features, community, and fee structures.
Crowdfunding sites compared: Four key services to look for
Before we dive into the top crowdfunding sites in Canada, here are four key considerations to keep in mind as you compare platforms.
Ease of use
Before you start a crowdfunder, navigate the site to see how easy it is to use and find the features you need. Any good crowdfunding platform should make it simple to start your own fundraiser or donate to someone else’s, and it should also be easy to find a specific fundraiser, especially if you know the name of the campaign or the person who organized it.
Creating or contributing to a fundraising campaign should leave you feeling motivated or fulfilled, not frustrated – if all you feel is the latter, consider choosing another platform.
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. It’s important for the people behind the site to be honest, responsible, and available.
Tools for spreading awareness in your community
Take a look at the social networking tools the crowdfunding site offers. The best ones have tools that make it easy to share your fundraiser via Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other ways. Since your social network is a vital piece of your crowdfunding effort, 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 you raised if you meet or exceed your goal.
Personal crowdfunding and funding for nonprofits
These sites give anyone the opportunity to set up a crowdfunder, for almost any purpose, whether that’s a charity cause, to raise money for someone going through a difficult time, or for a personal goal or dream.
GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform for individuals, teams, and nonprofits with a giving community of more than 50 million worldwide. More than $5 billion has been raised, and it’s the first and only platform with a donor protection guarantee. GoFundMe has Customer Care agents available 24/7.
Fees: There is a 0% platform fee for organizers plus standard payment processing fees of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation.
This platform helps individuals, nonprofits, and companies raise money 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) and organizations can choose a “professional” model with a 5% platform fee.
With Fundly, either individuals or nonprofits can create fundraisers for a wide range of causes, including fraternities and sororities, military, and politics.
Fees: It’s free to start a fundraiser on Fundly, but every donation will have a 4.9% platform fee deducted, as well as a payment processing fee of 2.9% plus $0.30.
Classy, which is owned by GoFundMe, is designed for nonprofits and social enterprises, and the site comes with a fundraiser reporting tool to help track fundraising progress. Another site feature helps teams organize volunteer events, including ticketing and event registration.
Crowdfunding for creative projects
Acquiring funding for creative projects can be challenging, but crowdfunding is an effective way to raise money for something that you’re passionate about. It gives you the opportunity to tell the story of your project, explain what it means to you and how the funding would help. The following platforms are commonly used to fund creative projects.
Creators seeking funding can use Kickstarter to bring their project to life. Fundraisers, who can range from individual designers and inventors to large corporations that want to test new product ideas, offer their donors (known as ‘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: Service fee of 5%, along with 3% + $0.20 per transaction for payment processing. All or nothing, so you must reach your fundraising goal to receive any money.
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 all-or-nothing or flexible funding.
Fees: Platform fee of 5%, along with 3% + $0.30 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 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: They have a Patreon fee of 5%, along with 3% to 5% plus $0.25 to $0.35 for payment processing. They also have “payout fees” of either $0.25 to $0.35 or 1% per payout (capped at $20 for PayPal disbursements). Additional fees apply to payments made by international donors.
Businesses and entrepreneurs looking for funding can use these crowdfunding platforms to raise the money they need to make their business plan a reality.
Fundable focuses on helping entrepreneurs, startups, and companies raise capital from the public through business crowdfunding. The site allows users to offer either rewards or equity in return for financial support. Note that Fundable is available to any organizations headquartered in Canada that also have a presence in the US.
Fees: $179 a month, along with 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction for payment processing.
If you want to grow your existing business, Wefunder can help. Your investors receive a small stake in your company, and the platform aims to increase their emotional investment in your success. Note that Wefunder is not available to people located in Quebec, Ontario or Alberta.
Fees: It’s free to start a company profile but they charge a service fee ranging from $7 to $75 depending on the investment size and 7% of total funding volume for Regulation Crowdfunding.
For Regulation D they charge up to 20% Carried Interest, and for Regulation A+ Wefunder does not charge any fees.
Real estate crowdfunding
Whether you want to buy a home or invest in real estate to make money, you’ll need capital to get started. These crowdfunding platforms specialize in providing funding to real estate investors.
This site brings its users together to invest in real estate, and by doing so unlocks opportunities that might have otherwise been beyond the reach of a single investor. It works by splitting real estate investments into $1 increments and then giving people the opportunity to invest as much as they want.
Fees: There are two tiers of accounts: the free version lets you invest from $1 to $1,500 in a single property, and the premium tier – addyONE – costs $50 per year and allows you to invest up to $2,500 per property.
Lotly is a crowdfunding platform that helps people buy a home. Unlike real estate investment trusts (REITs), crowdfunding through Lotly means investors will own a share of the property.
Fees: Lotly charges a 2% fee to investors and 0.5% annual management fee. Homebuyers are charged 3.5% on the capital raised for the purchase, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Crowdfunding has proven to be an effective way of raising money, such that there are crowdfunding sites available for a wide range of niches and special interests. The platforms below are designed to raise money for causes in specific areas and industries.
For engaged couples or newlyweds, this crowdfunding site helps raise funds for a wedding, honeymoon, or even the down payment on a new home.
Fees: It’s free to register but bank deposits cost 2.8% + $0.30. They offer Honeyfund Elite which offers more in-depth fundraising services for $39.99.
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 offers extended services such as script and financial analysis for an additional cost.
Fees: Their Executive Producer Services fee is 2% to 10% of the project’s budget and 5% to 10% of the back-end after recoupment plus 20%.
A crowdfunding site dedicated to scientific research, Experiment helps researchers raise the funds they need to pursue new discoveries. 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 you
Use this list of the best crowdfunding sites to find the platform that works best for your project or cause. For more crowdfunding inspiration, check out these fundraising tips and easy fundraising ideas. Start your fundraiser today.