The crowdfunding landscape has gotten pretty, well, crowded. It's not just Kickstarter anymore —when entrepreneurs and artists want to take their projects to the masses, they've got dozens of platforms to choose from. How can you tell which one suits your project best?
We've broken down the best crowdfunding sites by industry and project type, and collected crucial details from the fine print to help you decide.
Crowdfunding for Non-Profits, Charitable Causes, and Social Activists
Causes.com Their cut: Nothing. Causes runs on ad revenue. A 4% transaction fee still applies. Perks: Free analytics to perfect your campaign along the way. Caveats: Must be a registered 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) to fundraise on Causes. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
Crowdrise Their cut: Crowdrise takes 5%, plus 2.9% transaction fees. Perks: Donors don’t need to make an account in order to contribute to your campaign. Two campaign types: individual or non-profit. Caveats: Page design options for the free version are limited. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
Fundly Their cut: Choose from three pricing tiers, depending on how many projects you want to run at once. The basic plan for a single project has no monthly fee, but Fundly takes a 4.9% cut for donations up to $50,000, plus 3% transaction fees. Perks: Helpful guides and tutorials are automatically sent to you at each step of your campaign. Caveats: Every project must have a video and a photo gallery. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
StartSomeGood Their cut: 5% for a successful campaign, plus 3% transaction fees. Perks: A member of their team will be assigned to your campaign and act as your personal guide, providing advice and resources at each step. Caveats: Projects must have a positive social impact, and need to be approved before they’re posted to the site. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
YouCaring Their cut: Nothing. YouCaring is supported entirely by donations, just like the campaigns it hosts. 3% transaction fees do apply. Perks: Funds are available in your account as soon as they’re donated. Caveats: Once you post an update, you can’t edit it. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
Crowdfunding for Small Business
Bolstr Their cut: Bolstr’s attorneys review each campaign before it’s launched, to protect both your business and potential investors. Legal fees range from $500-$1,000 (you can also use your own attorney). Other costs include a listing fee and regulatory filing fees. Perks: They help you raise funds from those most likely to continue supporting you after your campaign ends: your local community. Caveats: Not for struggling businesses. If your small business is thriving and you need funds to expand, Bolstr is for you. Must be incorporated (no sole proprietorships allowed) and pass their background checks. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Community Sourced Capital Their cut: A one-time $250 launch fee. Once your campaign is successful, you’ll be charged $100 per month until the principal amount on your loan is repaid. Perks: Your $250 launch fee covers tech support, marketing assistance, and administrative help. Caveats: This is a loan, not a donation. Pledges are set at a fixed amount of $50. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Fundable Their cut: $179/month. No fees are charged on the funds you raise, but transaction fees apply. Perks: Use their profile creation wizard to set up an attractive campaign page. Caveats: You can offer backers rewards or equity, but not both. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Funding Community Their cut: Successful campaigns are charged an origination fee of 2.5%. Perks: You’ll receive better loan rates than from banks or other traditional lending agencies. Caveats: Loans are limited to $10,000 and must be repaid within 9 months. Interest rates depend on the type of company and your credit score. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Localstake Their cut: Choose from three plans with varying support features and fees. For a business that has raised some funding but wants to access Localstake’s investor audience through their Boost plan, there is a one-time fee of $500, plus a fee of 3.75-7.5% for successful campaigns. Perks: With the Boost plan, you’ll get a dedicated advisor to help you run your campaign. Caveats: Must submit an application before your campaign is approved. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Crowdfunding for Creatives, Artists, and Filmmakers
Pozible Their cut: Depends on how much you raise. For successful campaigns that raise up to $100,000, the fee is 5%, plus 2.4% transaction fees. Perks: Take advantage of their Ambassador Network, made up of successful project creators who offer expertise and advice. Caveats: Once your successful campaign ends, pledges made via credit card are not immediately transferred to your account (approximate delay of 7 days). All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Pubslush Their cut: 4% fee, plus 3.5% transaction fees. Perks: Join the Pubslush Prep program for helpful resources, and take advantage of market analytics. Caveats: Literary projects only. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes
Seed & Spark Their cut: 5%. However, they give your backers the opportunity to add 5% to their pledge at checkout, so you get the full amount. (Seed & Spark says 90% of supporters choose to add that 5%.) Perks: Their CINEMA streaming video distribution platform is available for projects that are accepted on the site. Also, backers don’t need to create an account to support your project. Caveats: Each project is reviewed before being accepted by Seed & Spark. If your project isn’t accepted, they’ll give you some pointers to help you successfully resubmit. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? You must reach at least 80% of your goal.
Slated Their cut: Nothing; filmmakers submit their projects for free. Investment agreements are made between individual users, without Slated's direct involvement. Perks: Access to the Slated community, which includes wealthy investors, plus sales agents and distributors. Caveats: Only the film's rights holder, or his/her designated representative, can start a campaign. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
Sponsume Their cut: 5% of successful campaigns. Transaction fees are 3.4%, and are paid by backers. Perks: Once you’ve reached your minimum funding target, donations are immediately available in your account. No need to wait until your campaign expires. Caveats: Your project must be submitted and approved before it’s posted. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? If you choose to set a minimum fundraising target, then yes. If you choose the “Keep it All” campaign type, you set an “optimum” funding target and keep whatever you raise.
Crowdfunding for Science & Tech
Experiment Their cut: Successful projects are charged a 5% fee, plus a 3% transaction fee. Perks: Backers don’t have to sign up or become members in order to support campaigns. Caveats: Research and results are the rewards, not t-shirts and bumper stickers. Backers don’t receive any incentives from campaigns, other than the satisfaction of contributing to scientific progress. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Petridish Their cut: Unknown. Their site says they do charge a fee for their services, but does not specify the amount. Perks: Projects that don’t qualify for government funding, or whose needs surpass what’s usually covered through grants, can supplement their research funds through Petridish. Caveats: Petridish is currently in beta, so you’ll have to wait to submit until the site is accepting new projects. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
TechnoFunding Their cut: Successful campaigns are charged 5%, plus transaction fees. Perks: Check out their TechnoFunding lessons for tips from successful projects. Caveats: Projects must adhere to TechnoFunding guidelines in order to be published to the site. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Crowdfunding for Startups
Crowdfunder Their cut: Choose from two plans with varied features: $299/month and $999/month. Perks: Campaign plans include confidential document protection, investor analytics, live support, and access to their network of investors. Caveats: You’ll need certain documents in order to use their platform: a Term Sheet, Executive Summary, and an Investor Pitch Deck. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
SeedInvest Their cut: $250 per month technology fee; 7.5% fee for successful campaigns; and up to $3,500 in due diligence, escrow, and legal fees for successful campaigns. Perks: Experience. The founders are investors themselves, and their support team has overseen billions in private investments. Caveats: Their vetting process is thorough, so make sure you've got a professional proposal and expect it to take some time before your project is approved or rejected. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
SeedUps Their cut: 5% fee for successful campaigns. Perks: When the SeedUps team reviews your submission, they’ll give you suggestions for your campaign before setting up your live project page. Caveats: Fundraising range is between $25,000 - $500,000. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
StartUpValley Their cut: 5% of successful campaigns. Perks: Check out their blog for tips on successful crowdfunding tips for startups. Caveats: Currently in beta. They’re an equity-only platform, so you must be willing to accept investments in exchange for a stake in your company. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
For Miscellaneous Project Types
Tilt Their cut: 2.5% for a successful campaign, plus 2.5% transaction fees. Perks: Flexible campaign options: Fundraise (hit a monetary goal); Sell something (sell a certain number of items); or Split an expense (attract a certain number of people to join the group). You can set your minimum goal, and also set a "dream goal." Caveats: Limited publicity makes it more difficult to get funding from complete strangers. Tilt's homepage doesn’t highlight current campaigns, so you’ll need to use your existing social networks to raise funds and help spread the word. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
Indiegogo Their cut: Choose from two funding models: flexible or fixed. With flexible funding, if you reach your goal, Indiegogo takes 4%. If you don’t, the fee is 9%. With fixed funding, Indiegogo takes 4% from fully-funded campaigns, plus transaction fees. Perks: Use the campaigning section of the Indiegogo Playbook for tips on making your campaign a success. Caveats: Projects are promoted on the site based on their “Gogofactor,” which determines where your project ranks in search, and whether it’s featured by Indiegogo on their homepage, newsletter, or blog. Gogofactors are determined by how active your campaign is, so boost your rank by frequently updating and sharing your page, and by earning new backers. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Flexible Funding lets you keep what you earn, and Fixed Funding is all-or-nothing.
Kickstarter Their cut: 5% of a successfully funded campaign, plus transaction fees between 3-5%. Perks: Easily the most well-known crowdfunding platform, with the widest audience. Caveats: Countless projects launch on the site every day, so standing out among the crowd can be more difficult. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Yes.
RocketHub Their cut: 4% if you meet your fundraising goal (8% if you don’t), plus 4% transaction fees. Perks: Enroll in RocketHub’s Success School and get helpful hints at every stage of your campaign. Caveats: RocketHub pushes you to use your existing support network to help fund your campaign. Be prepared to ask your Facebook friends and Twitter followers for donations. All-or-nothing fundraising goals? Keep what you raise.
Since publishing this post, a few crowdfunding sites have reached out to us and asked to be included on this list. After reviewing the sites, here are the details on a few more worthy platforms:
StayClassy (For Non-Profits, Charitable Causes, and Social Activists) Their cut: Varying subscription plans: $99/month with a 4% project fee, or $499/month with a 2% project fee, plus standard transaction fee of 2.2% + $0.30 per donation. Perks: Use the DonateDouble feature to take advantage of corporate donation-matching programs. Caveats: This site is meant for long-term fundraising, not time-sensitive or one-off projects All-or-nothing?: Keep what you raise.
MoolaHoop (For Small Businesses) Their cut: 9% for successful projects, plus 2.6% + .30 per transaction Perks: MoolaHoop is a rewards-based platform, so there are no loans to repay. Caveats: This platform is exclusively for women entrepreneurs. All-or-nothing? Yes. But, you can set different milestones, detailing what you can accomplish at each amount. As long as you reach your first milestone, you're funded.
PlumFund (For Gifts and Charitable Causes) Their cut: No platform fees. 2.8% or $0.30 processing fee for online credit/debit card payments. Perks: This "crowd gifting" platform has 10 years of success behind it. Caveats: Built for personal gifts and family support, not businesses. All-or-nothing? No.
Thrinacia Reach (For Miscellaneous Projects) Their cut: No platform fees. Credit card processing fees apply through Stripe. Perks: Use the provided snippet of code to display a donation widget on your existing website, making it easy for visitors to contribute. Caveats: You must sign up with Stripe in order to create a campaign and receive funds. All-or-nothing? No.
If you're looking for information on a specific platform that you don't see listed here, check out Crowdsourcing.org's Crowdfunding Directory, or search CrowdsUnite.com to read reviews of hundreds of platforms from experienced crowdfunders. Good luck finding the best crowdfunding site for your purposes!
And if you're gearing up for your first ever campaign, be sure to read our post on the 10 Essential Elements of a Successful Campaign.