The Top Crowdfunding Websites
You have a dream – to start a business!
No more pandering to the ol’ 9 to 5.
No more ‘yes, boss.’
YOU are going to be your own boss.
You have all the details documented and a business plan to go with it. And… you’re ready to launch.
… you could arrange for the funds.
You’ve heard a lot of entrepreneurs vouching for crowdfunding. You want to give it a try… but there are so many crowdfunding platforms out there, which one should you go with?
‘Is one better than the other in any way?’ you wonder.
After all, they all serve the same purpose—help you raise money.
And, the answer is, Yes.
Now you raise the most important question, which crowdfunding platform is the best?
The answer is… it depends.
It depends– on what you’re raising funds for.
If you’re raising capital for a creative project like a stage act production, some crowdfunding websites will turn out to be better than others.
You need funds for a tangible product, you say? Then the platform you use for your creative pursuits may not work.
This post is an attempt to classify the crowdfunding platforms on the basis of the nature of your project.
There could be any reason you could be raising funds for, but the purpose of this study we have identified 9 pursuits:
- Crowdfunding for Individuals
- Crowdfunding for Creative projects
- Crowdfunding for Products
- Crowdfunding for Non-profits
- Crowdfunding for Schools
- Crowdfunding to raise Equity
- Crowdfunding for acquiring Loans
- Crowdfunding for Real Estate
- Crowdfunding for Religious purposes
Now, let’s see where the crowdfunding platforms fall.
1. Crowdfunding platforms for individuals:
Supposing you need funds for your personal needs. Like for covering medical expenses or emergencies. Then you’d go to those crowdfunding platforms that cater to such projects like…
All these are crowdfunding websites which help you raise funds for expenses which are personal in nature.
If you are doing this for the first time, I would suggest that you go with fundly. You are going to need some hand-holding and Fundly has a simple interface and you’ll find setting up easy. They have a good team of people to support and hand-hold you whenever you find you’re getting stuck.
This doesn’t mean GoFundMe and MyCause aren’t good. They are good as well. GoFUndMe even has a mobile app. And they boast a 5 minute email support.
MyCause is an Australian platform. It has a choice of social sharing buttons to promote your cause. This makes it better at marketing than the other websites out there.
2. Crowdfunding websites for Creative pursuits
You are the creative type, you say? No problem. Here are websites that help you crowdfund your next artistic endeavour.
Now, kickstarter is designed with creative projects in mind. The only drawback being, it lets you have the funds ONLY if you reach your funding goal, which in crowdfunding parlance is called the ‘all-or-nothing’ method. This is similar to Pozible. Pozible is being used in over 100 countries making it a globally accessed platform.
Indiegogo, on the other hand, is much more flexible. It allows for a flexible fund raising model as well. Which means you can keep whatever amount you raise, even if you don’t reach the goal. This is a boon for the newbies and first-timers who are just dipping in their toes into the world of crowdfunding.
WeMakeIt scores when it comes to social media integrations and email tracking. It shows how many times a project campaign was viewed and how many times it was shared. This helps you build social proof for your campaigns.
3. Crowdfunding platforms for product developers
Are you developing a new type of product, that’s likely to create waves in the market? You might want to go here to raise capital.
All these are crowdfunding websites that will fund raise your next custom t-shirt project. Bonfire is designed for the non- designer. It’s easy-to-use interface makes using Bonfire a breeze. Bonfire also allows you to collect donations in addition to your t-shirt sales.
NiftyCampaigns has a nifty feature. It allows you to collect funds using Paypal. This means the funds are available to you for use almost immediately, compared to a waiting period that most platforms have. And, you’ll also be able to check your campaign getting shared using their tracker.
Teespring sells millions of apparel on their website every month, making it really popular. They use a clever countdown timer on each campaign thus driving scarcity.
Represent is really easy to use and can get your campaign up and running in just 3 steps. They don’t charge any upfront fee and this makes it really user-friendly.
4. Crowdfunding for a social causes
Have a social cause you need funds for? Try these crowdfunding platforms for the non-profits.
If you’re confident of the universal appeal of your campaign and want to give it a quantum leap, you might want to use Double the Donation. It is a gift matching database that you can use to double or, in some cases, even triple your funding revenue. DoubleTheDonation embeds their database into your campaign page seamlessly and displays the employers matching gifts with their minimum and maximum threshold, thereby encouraging visitors to donate more.
If most of your donors are individuals, then Fundly Pro is a crowdfunding website you might be looking for. With a peer-to-peer and social sharing features to market your campaigns effectively it makes marketing your crowdfunding campaign easy.
Similarly, FirstGiving is also a peer-to-peer fund raising platform. It allows you to recruit your very own army of canvassing agents who, in turn, can carry out on their own marketing activities. With their custom API, FirstGiving makes it very easy to launch and run your own fund raising campaign.
If you are just starting out in the field of crowdfunding and are looking for a low cost option, then YouCaring is for you. It’s a leader in the field of crowdfunding with pioneering features such as daily access to fund and 0% fees. It is easy to set up and use, mobile friendly and boasts of real-time support. This makes it very popular with its patrons.
If flexibility is what your desire then look at Plumfund. It has over 2700 campaigns running at any given time. It’s flexbility allows you receive offline contributions into your plumfund campaigns.
Once you have tested the crowdfunding waters, you become ready for FundRazr. It is a straight-forward fund raising site for non-profits. They are the no-frills, get- down-to-the-job kind of approach. Its best suited for those who are already aware of crowdfunding and what they want.
5. Crowdfunding for Schools
Want funds for schooling projects or for teaching endeavors? Then here are some crowdfunding platforms for your specific requirements.
Want exponential leverage for your campaign? Go to Edco. Edco makes it easy to garner funds for schools and teaching institutions. Every member can individually donate as well as become a scout for funds. Individuals can share the crowdfunding campaign further to their email contacts or even on social media making it easy to spread the word.
Edco also offers multiple fund disbursement options such as direct deposit, cheque, and a prepaid Visa card, making your funds easily accessible.
If you’re strapped for time and want funds for schooling supplies then DonorsChoose might be the best option for you. Where DonorsChoose score in this area is, when your campaign reaches its goal, DonorsChoose sends the actually material to the school instead of sending over the funds. This saves the schools of the extra effort of having to shop around for the supplies.
If you are new to launching an educational fund raising campaign you should try StartSomeGood. Their global support team helps you tweak your campaign for the best results before the launch. This improves your chances of succeeding.
If you’re unsure of your goal and the amount you want to raise or how much you want to spend on such campaigns, then DepositAGift is meant for you. It lets you choose your own pricing plan instead of having to stick with the platforms plan. Don’t worry, it has competitive pricing to suit every budget. It even helps you make your campaign page attractive by offering pre-designed page templates to choose from to give your campaign the extra edge.
6. Crowdfunding for Equity
If you’re the entrepreneurial type and if you are looking for funds to scale up your venture but aren’t sure about seeking angel funding or venture funding, these types are what you should be looking for.
If you want to test the waters of crowdfunding for equity, Crowdfunder could be your go-to option. It allows you to be flexible and raise capital though equity, debt, convertible note, or, even revenue share. Crowdfunder will even coach you through the process with the help of their own success managers. This is a great help for those doing it for the first time.
If you’re an established business and also a veteran at crowdfundinng then Wefunder is your best friend. In terms of the dollar amount raised, Wefunder is the largest portal. This is because they understand the mind set and need of the founders of business.
A maverick, are you? Then go for Fundable. This is an equity funding portal that raised $80 million plus in its very first year. Maverick in its own right! The moment you sign-up you get access to the entire investor database who have signed up on their platform. This helps you hit the ground running.
If you’re based in Europe and want some option local, then CrowdCube is meant for you. It is a European crowdfunding platform. It is unique in the sense that it allows investors to invest as little as £10.
7. Crowdfunding for Loans
If you are looking to get a loan for personal, household expenses, etc. then the following portals might be of interest to you.
If you swear by the pioneers of the industry, then LendingClub is your choice. It was one of the first platforms to jump into the lending crowdfunding space. Its mission is to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. Its fast process allows you to apply for a loan and secure funding in a matter of days.
If you’re looking for a solution that takes a more holistic look at funding campaigns and go beyond the usual credit scores and credit ratings then Upstart will work for you. You can raise $1000 – $ 50,000 for between 3 – 5 years on UpStart.
Are you a small business? Then FundingCircle is you best bet. It exclusively focussed on lending to small businesses. It boasts of a 10 minute application process and offers you a personal support specialist to help you set up. It offers loans starting at 4.99%.
If have acquired multiple loand over the years and want consolidate them, then Prosper is your option. It offers loans for debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicle purchase, adoption expenses and special occasion related expenses. It offers fixed terms and low interest rates. Certainly a platform to look into for loans.
8. Crowdfunding for Real Estate
If you want to raise capital for real estate projects the the following platforms might be what you’re looking for.
If you’re tired of the same old investing options offered by stocks and bonds and are looking to invest in real estate then FundRise will attract you. It offers direct access to real estate investments to users. It allows Fundrise users to invest using a similar strategy to the ones used by professional portfolio managers.
If you’re launching a real estate project and want to raise capital for it, PatchOfLand might be an attractive choice. It is a peer-to-peer real estate funding platform. It lets you secure funding for your real estate project or invest in them. It has a transparent application process.
If flexibility is your requirement, then RealtyShares is a crowdfunding website that allows you to invest in debt or equity for commercial or private real estate project. RealtyShares users have funded over 550 projects so far.
If you are developing a commercial real estate project then go to RealtyMoguls. This is a specialised crowdfunding platform focussed exclusively towards commercial real estate projects. Investors can start by investing as little as $ 1000.
9. Crowdfunding for Religious purposes
The following crowd funding platforms help you raise funds for religious requirements.
Want a helping hand in raising funds for your campaigns, then sign up with GiveSendGo. It not only enables churches and religious institutions raise money for religious causes like funding a new mission, admission expenses or even medical costs, you’ll be glad to know GiveSendGo gives 10% of the donations they receive to projects that are on their site to keep them up and running.
Additionally, it is fully free.
If the success of your fund raising campaign is dependent on awareness creation, there’s no better option than FundedByFaith.
It allows you to spread the word with the help of social media so that you collect more donations. Unlike GiveSendGo, FundedByFaith isn’t free. It charges a payment processing fee and 1% as platform fee.
Looking to bond with your donors, then FundThisMinistry might interest you. It encourages users to share their stories. This helps in creating a bond with other users of the platform. It allows you to keep all the money irrespective of whether you reach your go or not. They believe every dollar counts and goes a long way to make your project successful.
If you are a newbie to collecting crowdfunds for your religious project, you should give FundThisMinistry a try.
Like I said in the beginning, which crowdfunding website will work for you depends on what you are raising the funds for. Once you have the objective nailed, half the battle is in the bag. Then it’s simply a matter of executing the campaign to perfection.