Chances are you’ve heard of Kickstarter. But Kickstarter is just one of the myriad choices people have when it comes to crowdfunding. It is important to remember that each crowdfunding site is different – each site putting a different emphasis on the types of projects it supports. For example, if you want to start a non-profit to help the homeless in your city, Kickstarter isn’t your best option – their platform is designed for creative projects.
Doing research into which crowdfunding site is right for your project is essential to making sure your crowdfunding campaign is a success. Here are a few crowdfunding sites, broken down into categories based on the types of projects each site supports.
Probably the most well-known crowdfunding site, Kickstarter has been used by amateur and established artists to find funding for their creative projects. As mentioned above, Kickstarter funds only creative projects, so if you’re an artist, filmmaker, or musician, Kickstarter is a great place to go to for capital. There is a submission process, so make sure to take the time and fill out all the project details. Kickstarter reserves the right to reject your project if they feel it doesn’t fit into Kickstarter guidelines.
It is also important to note that Kickstarter operates under an all-or-nothing crowdfunding model. What that means is that if you meet your fundraising goal, at the end of your campaign you get the full amount of your pledged money. If you don’t reach your fundraising goal, however, you don’t receive anything. Money that has been pledged is never charged to the pledger’s account. The all-or-nothing crowdfunding model puts a lot of pressure on the entrepreneur to do whatever he or she can to drive people to the fundraising site and get people to give. Projects can originate from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Similar to Kickstarter in its layout, Indiegogo is more flexible than Kickstarter in many ways. First, Indiegogo accepts any kind of project, including charity drives. Second, Indiegogo is more international than Kickstarter in that the project can be started by anyone not a citizen of a country on the OFAC sanctions list. Finally, even if you don’t reach your fundraising goal, you will still receive the money you were able to raise. The only difference is that Indiegogo will take nine percent of your money raised as their fee, instead of four percent if you reach your goal. It pays to reach your goal!
For Social Entrepreneurs
Developed for both non-profits and for individuals with a desire to help, CauseVox provides a network for organizations and people to help raise money for social causes. There are different monthly plans that give you different sets of tools you can use to reach out to donors. The trial period for CauseVox means that no monthly fees are charged to you until you raise $5,000. This site isn’t so much about a campaign with a codified beginning and end date, but more of a constant campaign, using social media to reach out to potential donors at all times. If you’re a non-profit that is in perpetual need of funds to operate, CauseVox can allow you to actively fundraise using social media networks.
2. Start Some Good
Dedicated to linking donors with projects needing help getting started, Start Some Good is a great place to start if you have a great idea that can change the world. Start Some Good is an incubator for great social needs ideas, so if you’re just starting out, look at Start Some Good. You don’t have to be a non-profit, either. Start Some Good welcomes individuals, non-profits, and for-profits as long as the venture is improving the community.
The Next Big thing in Business
Crowdfunding gets a little more complicated when you’re dealing with small business ventures. With a site like Crowdfunder, you no longer are dealing with hundreds of people giving you $10, but Accredited Investors, investing in your business with the agreement being reached in Crowdfunder’s digital “Deal Room.” Crowdfunder is good for a business with a big idea in need of major capital.
2. Rock the Post
This is another crowdfunding site dedicated to linking up big time investors with entrepreneurs with a great idea and business plan. Again, it’s not about the number of investors you have with this site, it’s about the quality of investment.
There are a lot more crowdfunding sites out there – have you considered others for an idea or project?
Allison Rice is the Marketing Director for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in custom engraved pens and other items such as calendars, bags, and water bottles. Allison regularly contributes to the Small Business Know-How blog, where she provides actionable business tips.