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. Before we dive into the top crowdfunding sites in 2019, here are four key considerations to keep in mind as you compare platforms.
Crowdfunding sites compared: four key services to look for
Ease of use
Before you start a fundraiser, navigate through the site. The best crowdfunding sites make you want to spend time on their pages, learn more and get involved. If a crowdfunding site is difficult to use, choose a different one.
Does the site offer email support, live chat or a phone help line? 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 easy-to-use tools that make it easy to share your fundraiser on Facebook, Twitter, email and more. Because 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 your 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.
Keep these four key factors in mind as you review the top crowdfunding sites in each category.
Crowdfunding for education
This not-for-profit crowdfunding platform makes it easy to raise money for any classroom in need of funds. 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 not-for-profit.
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.
Personal crowdfunding and fundraising for not-for-profits
GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform for individuals, teams and not-for-profits 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 Happiness agents available 24/7. Take a look at honest GoFundMe reviews.
Fees: Powered by donors™, GoFundMe offers free fundraising. There is a 0% platform fee plus standard payment processing fees of 2.9% plus $0.30 per donation.
This platform helps individuals, not-for-profits and companies to raise money for causes they care about. They offer both keep-it-all fundraisers or as all-or-nothing fundraisers, meaning you don’t get access to your funds until you’ve reached your goal.
Fees: individuals can choose a free fundraising model with no platform fee (supporters are asked for optional tips) and organisations can choose a “professional” model with a 5% platform fee.
With Fundly, either individuals or not-for-profits 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 30 cents.
CrowdRise helps not-for-profits use social fundraising to make a difference. They can help with ticketing and registration, offer you donor data and team fundraising. CrowdRise is owned by GoFundMe.
Fees: platform fee: 3% to 5% of funds raised, plus a payment processing fee of 2.4% to 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Premium and enterprise models with advanced features and service available
Classy is designed for not-for-profits and social enterprises and the site comes with a fundraiser reporting tool to help track fundraising progress. Another site feature helps teams organise volunteer events, including ticketing and event registration.
Fees: the platform doesn’t disclose pricing for premium offerings (contact the site for a quote), but services start at $499 per month.
Crowdfunding for 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: service fee of 5%, along with 3% + $0.20 per transaction for payment processing. 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 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. In other words, you may find the fee structure a bit confusing.
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.
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.
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.
This equity crowdfunding platform allows businesses to sell shares to accredited investors. Crowdfunder has a network of 15,000 venture capitalists and angel investors.
Fees: subscription models range from $299 per month to $999 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
This funding 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 loan-to-value ratio usually under 75%.
Fees: 0.25% to 1% service 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. Fees charged to those who list investments, not investors.
18. Realty Mogul
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.
Fees: minimum investment of $1,000.
For engaged couples or newlyweds, this crowdfunding site helps raise funds for a wedding, honeymoon or even the deposit on a new home.
Fees: it’s free to register for gift cards and honeyfund balance 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 crowdfunding platform
Use this list of the best crowdfunding sites to find the platform that works best for your project or cause. For more crowdfunding inspiration, take a look at these fundraising tips and ideas. Start your free fundraiser today.