Kickstarter is one of the most well-known crowd funding websites and has financed thousands of creative projects over the years. Unlike many other crowd sourcing websites, you cannot use Kickstarter for businesses, charities, personal financing, or specific causes. The project you post must be purely creative, such as requesting funding for recording an album, filming a movie, or creating a video game. Kickstarter is a great crowd funding website for creative types looking for donations and support to get their projects off the ground. It does, however, charge a 5% fee on all successful projects.
GoFundMe is another big crowd funding website, but unlike Kickstarter, it doesn’t require a tangible product. Many people have used GoFundMe to raise money for things from creative projects to paying off medical bills. Unlike many crowd funding websites that require you to meet your goal in order to keep all donations, GoFundMe allows you to keep all donations even if the goal isn’t met. However, the site also requires a 2.9% fee.
Indiegogo operates much like GoFindMe in that it allows you to crowd fund for any type of reason (except, however, for personal investment). Indiegogo doesn’t charge a fee for setting up a project and also has a lot of useful how-to guides on how best to maximize your fundraising campaign. If you don’t meet your donation goal, the site allows you to keep all the money, but it does charge you a 9% fee.
Crowdfunder is a crowd funding website dedicated primarily for investments rather than personal projects or finance. Crowdfunder allows people to invest money into a business or allows entrepreneurs to put their business on the market for individuals to invest in. Crowdfunder is a popular investment website that currently only allows equity crowd funding from individual contributors, angel investors, or VCs.
RocketHub is a crowd funding website that is very similar to GoFundMe and Indiegogo in that it’s a website that is very focused on any type of creative project. What makes RocketHub different from other crowd funding websites is that is has a partnership with A&E, which has a chance of giving your project a ton of television exposure if it’s something A&E chooses to support. Additionally, RocketHub allows you to easily connect with any potential marketing or promotions partners to help you better promote your campaign. Like with many of the other sites, RocketHub also charges fees to posting a project: 4% commission if you reach your fundraising goal and 8% if you don’t.
CrowdRise is a crowd funding website that it primarily focused on charitable donations and causes. The website doesn’t allow any personal or business projects (however, personal projects such as raising money for medical bills or school tuition do count as a “charitable cause”). CrowdRise is tax deductible and takes a 3%-5% fee for all projects.
Peerbackers is another crowd funding website that is focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators. The website has hosted thousands of projects and has recently partnered with student organizations so that teenagers and young adults can also search out funding for their business ideas. Because crowd funding can be a risky business, Peerbackers has a section of their website named Crowdfunding Academy that offers support and tutorials to those who are new to crowd funding.
SoMoLend is a peer-to-peer crowd funding site for small businesses looking for lenders or investments. The website works with mostly brick-and-mortar businesses that are well established (having been in business for at least one year), and who have enough cash flow and customers that they’re able to service debt. It facilitates individual, bank, and accredited investor loans to businesses that are looking for funding.
Appbackr is, as the name suggests, targeted towards people looking for funding for mobile apps. Mobile apps have grown significantly over the past few years and designing and building them can become pretty costly. Appbackr allows you to launch a campaign to help promote your app and seek investors.
FundRazr is a crowd funding website that offers its services to anyone looking to raise money, whether you’re an individual, a business, or a non-profit organization. It boasts a user base of over 40,000 people in 20 different countries. Projects are free to post, but cost a 5% FundRazr fee and 2.9% Payment Provider fee when you transfer the raised amount to your bank.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell)