Fundraisers know that it’s prime fundraising season, and if you aren’t online making use of the best crowdfunding sites, you are missing a ton of opportunity to help fund your ambitions. Online crowdsourcing is one of the best ways to get money for your cause, and offers you the biggest reach you can get – a global one.
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Read on to become of crowdfunding pro and start earning money towards your cause today!
What is a crowdfunding platform and how does it work?
Crowdfunding platforms are websites that connect fundraisers with people who want to donate, by allowing the users to search for causes they relate to and want to donate to, and then make a secure donation. Fundraisers explain their cause and set a goal, and promote the campaign until they meet their goal.
One of the great things about these sites is that they set up secure payment options, and allow you to watch the campaign continue to receive donations. You can see whenever someone else donated, how much money has been contributed, what the average donations were, and so much more.
As a fundraiser, they are a great way to raise money because instead of just connecting with people you already know, you can make your cause known to people all over the world. You can also get publicity from online publications or celebrities with an online presence, who might relate to your cause and want to support it as well.
How can I use crowdfunding for my cause?
- Choose a crowdfunding site that best suits your needs based on your cause.
- Create an account on the site for your organization.
- Create a campaign and set a fundraising target.
- Use social media sites to raise awareness for your campaign.
- Reach your target and take the money out of the site.
It’s that simple! Crowdfunding sites can help you hit your targets much faster, as they give you a global reach – especially if you utilize social media website like Facebook to help make as many people aware of what you’re doing as possible.
If you’re ready to find the right site for you, then check out our list below of the best crowdfunding platforms you can choose from.
9 of the best crowdfunding platforms
Kickstarter.com is a no-brainer when it comes to crowdfunding. Probably the most popular way to do online fundraising, you can set up your cause so easily, and get access to thousands of active users who want to help donate money to you. Kickstarter has also been around for quite a while compared to some of the other fundraising websites, so it has many more active users that other sites can give you access to.
With Kickstarter, you can advertise for any project you have in mind, setting a fundraising goal with a deadline for when you need the money by. Then, people can pledge money to your cause, and if you don’t meet your goal in time, the money is returned to donors. Many people on Kickstarter offer a gift for money pledged, such as a t-shirt, free meals, or a result of your success when you raise the money required (for example, a completed item you are creating).
If you want to learn more, be sure to check out our free course with Kickstarter step-by-step tutorials. You can learn all about how to create an account, use it, and make the most out of Kickstarter.
Probably the most popular of the sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe.com is a great fundraising website that can really help you meet your goals. You can set up a funding platform for any cause, and tell your story. Like Kickstarter, you set a funding goal, but you don’t have to set a deadline to achieve that amount – which means that you can actually exceed your target goal and continue running the funding platform.
A great feature of GoFundMe is the GoFundMe Guarantee, which will provide a full refund to donors if anything illegitimate takes place within a campaign. It also has “5-minute support,” where you can get a response from the customer service team within 5 minutes – 24/7. It’s also free to launch your campaign, and your donors are never charged to use the site – you simply must offer a small percentage of the donations for use of the website.
Ulule.com is the first crowdfunding platform that offers dedicated coaching to ensure you can make the most of your campaigns. Though this site isn’t quite as large as the previous two we’ve mentioned, it’s a great home for projects you may have that you’re trying to launch. From musicians to authors to charities to entrepreneurs – and everything in between – you can raise money to get your project off the ground faster.
This site seems to cater more to people who have specific business ideas in mind, but who don’t have the funding to get them started right off the bat. It’s free to sign up and use Ulule, as well as to launch a campaign.
Catering more to people with charitable or volunteer-driven passions in mind, Chuffed.org looks to help those who needs funds to help others. Many people on Chuffed have campaigns to help those who need legal representation, refugees, environmental groups, and many more. If your initiative is mainly for the benefit of others, then this may be the right crowdfunding site for you.
One of the best things about Chuffed is that because it only helps non-profits and social causes, it has no fees for its users (donors or campaign organizers)! You get to keep 100% of the money you raise, so you know it’s going entirely to the cause you are fighting for. Chuffed instead makes its money through partners and investors, as well as advertising.
Wix.com isn’t a crowdfunding website specifically; instead, it helps people with no computer science experience create their own website from scratch. Using a site like Wix, you can create a page for fundraising and customize it the exact way you want it to appear. Instead of filling out information that is plugged into the same template as everyone else using the same website, you can set yourself apart by making your site completely unique.
One of the nice things, however, is that you don’t have to spend too much time on it if you don’t want to. You can choose from one of Wix’s hundreds of templates, and then use the drag and drop technology to customize the site. From there, you can also share your unique Wix domain, or even buy your own and connect it with a premium plan.
If this seems more up your alley, click here to take a look at our course on how to use Wix.
Indiegogo.com is a crowdsourcing platform for entrepreneurs and those who have a business idea or product that they need to get to market. Most people already have a product developed – they’re just looking for a place to launch from. So this site provides a way to raise money to get your product manufactured, as well as access to a whole world of consumers who are ready to buy your product once it is ready.
This site helps you at every stage of development, from concept to funding to manufacturing and then on to distribution. It also doesn’t require fundraising targets or deadlines, so you’re not quite as limited as you are with some of the other websites.
RocketHub.com is a site that focuses on helping you find equity investments for your business ideas. The success stories on this website have been able to raise hundred of thousands of dollars for their ideas, and launch their products in exciting new marketplaces. There are even businesses that raise dollar amounts up into the millions. If you’re trying to launch a new business and get a lot of money to push it further, this site may be worth checking out.
Though it is a paid service, RocketHub helps you with social media outreach, connecting with potential investors, and much more. You are required to set a fundraising deadline, but you can still continue to raise money even if you don’t meet your fundraising goal. That’s a great feature that sets this website apart.
CrowdRise.com isn’t too picky about who uses their site, as they aim to help non-profits, companies, small groups putting on an event, and more! They do, however, focus on social outreach, helping you connect with the greatest number of people you can in order to meet your target fundraising goals.
CrowdRise has partnered with some of the most well-known non-profits and companies in the world, including:
As a result of these partnerships, its combined donation amounts total in the billions of dollars! If you want to find a quick and easy way to connect with thousands more people for your cause or event, then CrowdRise is probably the way to go – especially if your business or organization has already established a bit of a name for itself.
Fundly.com is a great site because it has absolutely no start-up fees and no raise requirements – so it’s the fundraising site for anyone. You can completely customize your fundraising page to make it stand out from other campaigns on the site. The site also features great campaign ideas in the many easy-to-navigate categories, including Staff Picks. These are the cream-of-the-crop campaign ideas which can help you get more exposure – and, in turn, more money.
One of the great features of Fundly is its focus on social media outreach. This makes it easy for you and your friends, family, and colleagues to help share your story and raise money. You can easily keep track of your social media contacts and how much they have helped you raise individually. So if you believe your story is one worth sharing, then Fundly will be a great place to get started.
5 tips for running a successful online fundraising campaign
These tips may be just the thing you need to bring your campaign up from connecting to only the people you already have connections with from your own social media, to stretching your campaign out to multiple countries and reaching thousands of people
1. Do some research to know your audience and learn how to appeal to them.
Doing research before publishing your campaign is key to its success. You should browse around on some of these websites to look at similar campaigns that were successful. You can also look through the donation lists to see what types of people donated (age, location, etc.) so you can determine who your target audience should be.
This will help you craft your campaign and message to more accurately appeal to those who would be interested in what you’re trying to accomplish. Then, work on writing a description and biography that will appeal to these people successfully (see more tips on crafting a bio below!). You’re much more likely to meet your target if you put the effort in and do some research beforehand.
2. Check out other similar successful campaigns to model yours after.
While you’re doing your research, check out how successful campaigns that were similar to yours were structured. Here are a few key things to look at:
- What their fundraising goal was
- What they wrote in their bio/description
- When they published the campaign (e.g. was it during a specific season?)
- How long they left the campaign open
- How successful they were in trying to improve on what they’d already done
3. Set a realistic budget so people believe they can make a difference.
If your fundraising target is too big, people may not want to put money towards it for two reasons:
- They think you’re unlikely to reach it, and so your project probably won’t ever be completed.
- They think the amount they’re planning on donating won’t make much of a difference in reaching your goal.
Try setting a realistic budget that’s attainable. As a ballpark, try to aim for an amount where donors would feel that a donation of $50 or less would be a significant contribution.
4. Know how to make use of the social media game.
This is an absolute necessity if you’re trying to make use of a crowdfunding platform. The most successful campaigns have always made use of social media networks to make their campaign “go viral” (i.e. be shared very broadly in a short period of time). Some people are able to spread their message (with a link to their crowdfunding page) and reach thousands more people to donate to them.
Make sure you share your campaign on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. If you need help getting set up, make sure you check out the rest of our site to learn about the most popular social media sites and how to make use of them. It may just be the difference between reaching a few more people… and reaching a few thousand more!
5. Carefully craft a bio for your cause.
This is one of the most important steps. As we mentioned above, getting people to relate to your cause and actually care about it is very important. In many cases, it will be the difference between someone just looking at your campaign and them actually clicking that Donate button.
One great way to do this is with the research you did already on who your target audience should be. But it’s also important to understand what would encourage someone to donate. Here are some things you should think about including in your bio or the description of your cause:
- Think about the reasons why you started caring about this cause in the first place. If there was a reason you started caring, it may encourage others to care as well.
- Write about how much work you have put in already. This helps convince people that your project is off to a good start and is likely to be successful in the end.
- Remind people of who is being affected by the work you’re doing, and what changes will be made if your fundraising is successful.
- Make sure to mention exactly where the money is going. People won’t be as likely to donate if you aren’t clear about how you’ll be spending the money they are offering you.
- Provide links to resources that might help explain what you’re attempting to do. If you have your own website, or are affiliated with any kind of organization, be sure to link to them for more information.
Once you think about all of these points to write about, your bio is sure to encourage more people to donate to your cause.
With all that in mind, we hope you can get your fundraising campaign off the ground and get more donations than ever. Be sure to keep working towards your goals, and do your best to create a good campaign to encourage people to donate to you!