26 Best Crowdfunding Sites for Business, Personal, & Charitable Fundraising

100 years ago raising money for a new business, invention, or even a loved one in need was hard.

In order to successfully find and raise “real money” you typically had to know the right people…

And depending on where you lived and who you were, knowing the right people wasn’t always possible.

Luckily, in 2017, the situation isn’t so grim.

Ever since the inception of online crowdfunding, it’s become easier than ever before to raise boatloads of cash (for any cause) in a relatively short amount of time.

However, with the so many crowdfunding sites to choose from, the task of finding the right crowdfunding site for your specific needs can feel overwhelming.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve compiled a list of the 26 best crowdfunding sites from around the web.

Whether you are looking to build a school in Africa, raise capital for a new startup, or just need some help paying for your child’s medical expenses, we will help you find the platform that will fit your needs.

Let’s dive in.

Crowdfunding sites for any cause

26 Top Crowdfunding Sites

1. Kickstarter

If you are familiar with the crowdfunding world, then it should come at little surprise that Kickstarter is at the front of our list. Founded in 2009, Kickstarter was created to “Help bring creative projects to life.” And during their short tenure in business, they have accomplished this goal admirably.  

Kickstarter has been the proud home to many impressive projects from innovative smartwatches to gaming platforms to “smart” sleep technology.

But one of the coolest features of Kickstarter is how they enable campaigns to raise money.

In lieu of traditional fundraising, Kickstarter allows you to offer unique “Investor Perks” in exchange for funding.

So, for example, if you decided to use Kickstarter to help fund a new coffee machine that you designed, you would offer investors tiered perks ranging from a handwritten “Thank You” card all the way up to a limited edition machine with a custom made design.

Who Should Use Kickstarter?

A quick scroll through the “Popular” section of Kickstarter’s website will tell you everything you need to know about who their ideal user is.

Their website is filled to the brim with creative new gadgets, compelling novels, stunning photography projects, and exciting new video games.

Basically… If you have a creative idea but lack the funds to help it see the light of day, Kickstarter is perfect for you.

And if you aren’t a creative-type? Then you should probably keep reading through this list.

They expressly prohibit fundraising for any charity, political campaign, agricultural products, medical technologies, and non-inventive personal projects.

What Are the Fees and Funding Process Like?

You know the old saying “Better to shoot for the moon and hit a stump than to aim for a stump and miss”?

Yeah… You should probably ignore that advice when using Kickstarter.  

With Kickstarter, your projects operate on an all or nothing basis. Meaning that if you set the goal of raising $25,000 in 30 days and you only raise $24,999… You don’t keep a penny.

As far as fees are concerned, Kickstarter takes 5% of everything that you raise (the industry average) and their payment processor takes another 3-5% depending on the amount in question.

Funding high cost of funerals

2. GoFundMe

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform boasting 40+ million users and over $4 billion in total capital raised.

Whereas Kickstarter is the perfect platform for blossoming geniuses and soon-to-be prolific creatives, GoFundMe is ideal for anyone with a charitable cause or personal need.

Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe doesn’t rely on creative perks and ethical bribes to raise money.

Their platform is built entirely upon compassion and storytelling.

If you have a genuine need and know how to share it in a compelling way, GoFundMe can help you raise more money in a month than most people could earn in a year.

Who Should Use GoFundMe

GoFundMe is, first and foremost, a charitable fundraising platform.

This fact was well illustrated when, only four short days after the Las Vegas massacre, GoFundMe users banded together and raised almost $10,000,000 to support the victims of the tragedy and their families.

And while GoFundMe has raised billions of dollars for charitable organizations they have also become well known in the industry for charitably serving individuals.

GoFundMe has helped families raise money for their children’s cancer treatment, funded the rehabilitation of public parks and nature reserves, and even helped send a World War II veteran on a trip around the world.

What Are the Fees and Funding Process Like?

Like Kickstarter, GoFundMe charges a 5% fee, their payment processor charges another 2-3%. However, unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe doesn’t have an “All or Nothing” policy; even if you do miss your goal, you can still keep the funds that you raised.

3. Plumfund

While this might be shameless self-promotion, we have worked hard to build the world’s best FREE online “crowd-gifting” platform, and we are pretty darn proud of it!

We designed our platform to ensure that people could make their dreams happen without paying ridiculous fees, and since we launched Plumfund a few years ago, we have helped people raise more than $500,000,000 in charitable crowd gifting!

Who Should Use Plumfund?

Plumfund is designed for anyone who is looking to raise money for a project but doesn’t love the idea of directly asking friends, family, and next door neighbors for a donation.

With our platform, you can set up your own Plumfund in a matter of minutes to raise money for birthday parties, anniversaries, honeymoons and charitable projects.

If you want a crowdfunding platform that has a proven track record, is free to use, and makes giving and receiving FUN, then Plumfund is the site for you.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Plumfund is completely free for all users and the only thing you have to pay for is the 2.8% + $0.30 payment processor charge.

You don’t have to hit any goals in order to keep your funds either. What is yours is yours, and with Plumfund, it stays that way.

Funding for business or personal causes

4. Indiegogo

Founded one year before Kickstarter in 2008, Indiegogo has raised more than $1 billion from more than 11 million contributions and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

The great thing about Indiegogo is that they don’t really have one particular specialty.

Kickstarter is great for new inventions, GoFundMe is great for personal and charitable support, and Indiegogo is great for either one!

Successful Indiegogo campaigns have included biometric door handles, funding for community animal shelters, and (my personal favorite) the upcoming movie, Super Troopers 2.

Who Should Use Indiegogo?

Although Indiegogo is technically a jack of all trades, I have noticed that the most successful campaigns tend to be very innovative in nature.

Sure they showcase plenty of charitable campaigns for community projects, human rights, and even environmental conservation, but their bread and butter lies in the world of technology and art.

If you are trying to launch a new product or idea but can’t find the funding for it, Indiegogo allows you to do so without having to hit a specific deadline (which we will talk about in a minute).

If you are trying to raise money for a personal or charitable reason, you certainly shouldn’t count Indiegogo out, but I would strongly recommend looking into a platform like GoFundMe or Plumfund first.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo doesn’t have a stringent “All or Nothing Policy”. Instead, they offer two types of campaigns, fixed and flexible funding.

Fixed funding is used whenever you have a specific amount of money that you must raise in order to keep your promise to donors (e.g. you need a set amount of capital to cover production costs and deliver a product)

Flexible funding, on the other hand, allows you to create a campaign where you keep all of your money so long as you can send donors the promised perks.

Regardless of the campaign that you use, you will be charged a base fee of 5% to use Indiegogo’s platform and you will be charged an additional processing fee of 3% plus $0.30.

However, if you are creating a campaign for charitable purposes, you can use Indiegogo’s platform “Generous” to create a fundraiser with a 0% platform fee. 

5. Crowdrise

Unlike the other crowdfunding sites we have discussed so far, Crowdwise is completely dedicated to charitable giving.

Under the GoFundMe umbrella, Crowdrise is partnered with more than 30,000 different charities and has raised billions of dollars to help support people in need.

Who Should Use Crowdrise?

Crowdrise is for anyone interested in or involved in the non-profit and charitable giving worlds.

Whether you or your corporation is looking to raise money for a cause, Crowdrise makes it easy to create and launch any charitable campaign in a matter of minutes.

What Are the Fees and Funding Process

With Crowdrise, you don’t have to abide by any deadlines or hit a certain amount of money for your funds to go to the charity of your choice. Instead, you will pay a modest 3-5% fee plus a 2.9% + $0.30 processor fee.

Sites for inventors

6. RocketHub

RocketHub is possibly the most interesting crowdfunding website on our list, not because their platform directly offers anything wild or unique, but because of their partnership with the A&E TV channel.

Because of their partnership, A&E regularly selects projects that will be featured on the air, online, and in their magazine, The Idea Book for Educators. In addition to all of this, A&E also invests in select projects making them a potential powerhouse for up and coming entrepreneurs.

Who Should Use RocketHub?

RocketHub is a platform created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. They offer a service known as an Elequity Funding Room, where entrepreneurs can pitch their business ideas and then receive custom feedback and guidance for creating the ideal funding campaign on RocketHub’s platform.

If you have a small business idea or a plan for growth, then RocketHub is where you will want to be.

What are the Fees and Funding Process

Rocket Hub’s funding process and fee systems are simple. If you reach your funding goal, they charge a 4% fee plus a 4% processor fee. If you don’t, they bump their fees up and additional 4%.

7. JustGiving

Founded in 2001, JustGiving has been helping people raise money for great causes for over 16 years, and during their impressive business tenure, JustGiving has connected more than 22 million individuals who have raised over $4.5 billion dollars for causes in over 164 different countries.

Who Should Use JustGiving?

JustGiving is designed for people who want to raise money or donate to a charitable cause or person in need.

Campaigns range from paying for expensive chemotherapy to supporting hurricane victims to providing relief to families after tragic events.  

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Much like Indiegogo, the funding process for JustGiving is pretty straight forward. There are no deadlines and you don’t have to hit a certain goal for the funds to go to the cause of your choice.

However, JustGiving charges a 5% fee and their payment processor charges another 1.25-2.90% making them more expensive than other personal/charitable companies like Crowdrise or Plumfund.

Help for personal causes

8. YouCaring

Living up to their tagline of “Compassionate Crowdfunding” YouCaring is one of the only crowdfunding fundraising websites that is completely free to use.

Since launching the project back in 2011, YouCaring has generated more than $550 million in donations from 7.5 million supporters.

Who Should Use YouCaring

YouCaring was created to help people and companies raise the most money possible for causes that they care about.

If you’ve been dying to donate money to a cause or friend in need, but you just can’t bring yourself to pay the 5% processing fee charged by other platforms, then YouCaring is the solution that you have been looking for.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

YouCaring is supported entirely by their users and charge $0 and 0% in fees.

Their payment processor only takes 2.9% + $0.30 allowing you to use almost 97% of all the money you raise on their platform.

9. Patreon

Founded in 2013 by YouTube musician Jack Conte, Patreon pays homage to the royal patrons of the renaissance by allowing artists, musicians, and other creatives to receive financial support to pursue their artistic endeavors instead of being paid in exchange for their work.

For example, if you are a budding musician who can’t land all of the high paying gigs that you need to pursue your passion full time, you can create a Patreon account where your followers provide you with a monthly subscription fee in return for behind-the-scenes access to your new recordings, tickets to your upcoming shows, and even live Google hangouts where you unveil some of your epic music making secrets.

Whereas Kickstarter is primarily focused on raising money around an idea, Patreon allows you to raise money around your talents.

Who Should Use Patreon?

Patreon is the ideal platform for anyone with an artistic flair who wants to support their creative endeavors in an equally creative way.

Whether you want to create a new podcast, publish a new album, paint a new public mural, or build your very own online TV show, Patreon gives you the tools you need to make it happen while enjoying the process.  

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Patreon allows users to collect monthly subscription charges from their patrons and charges the industry average 5% fee. The payment processing fees are an additional 2-3%.

Funds for business startup & growth

10. Fundable

Designed to help entrepreneurs all over the world raise the capital they need to launch and grow their companies, Fundable has helped raise more than $377 million to support new and innovative companies across the U.S.

They are one of the fastest growing business crowdfunding sites on the planet and their unique monthly payment structure helps you keep more capital in your pocket (or rather in the company’s pocket).

Who is Fundable Right For?

Fundable is for entrepreneurs and innovators who have great ideas, businesses, software, and solutions, but lack the resources and connections to raise capital on their own.

They have a vast network of investors and mentors who can help you bring your business to life or scale it at a speed that you previously thought impossible.

What is the Processing Fee?

Fundable doesn’t charge the traditional 5% fee, instead, they charge users a monthly fee of $179.

While this might seem pretty steep, when you actually crunch the numbers, you will quickly realize that this flat fee could save you thousands of dollars.

For example, if you used Fundable to raise $25,000 for a new SaaS startup, you’d have saved $1,071 that would have otherwise gone to the crowdfunding platform.

If you opt to use one of their rewards campaigns (allowing you to offer investor perks instead of equity), then you will be charged an additional 3.5%+ $0.30 processing fee.

11. Fundrazr

Launched in 2010 with a small team of 5 people, Fundrazr has quickly grown to become one of the most prominent and well known crowdfunding platforms on the web.

Similar to Indiegogo, Fundrazr approaches crowdfunding with a “Wide not Deep” mentality, and they allow almost anyone to quickly raise funds for almost anything.

In the past 7 years, Fundrazr’s projects have generated more than $110,000,000 from people and companies all around the world.

Who is Fundrazr Right For?

While they allow you to crowdfund for just about anything, the most successful campaigns tend to be personal or charitable in nature.

If you are looking for support with medical bills, building an animal shelter, or paying off your college tuition, then Fundrazr should be one of the biggest blips on your radar.

Although you can use Fundrazr for an entrepreneurial endeavor, most of these projects end up raising only a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and for those of you looking to break into markets with a high barrier to entry, you’d be better off opting for something like Fundable or RocketHub.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Fundrazr, like most crowdfunding platforms charges a 5% fee plus a payment provider fee of 2.9% + $0.30. However, there are no additional fees or penalties if you don’t hit your funding goals or deadline.

Animal rescue

12. Razoo

Founded in 2006, for the purpose of offering service to underfunded non-profits and people in need, Razoo has raised more than half a billion dollars during their 10+ years in business.

Their teams offer an incredible level of support for nonprofits and donors to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to make the fundraising project a success.

Who Should Use Razoo?

Like many of the platforms on this list, Razoo is devoted to supporting charitable and personal causes only. They give people and charities the opportunity to raise money for any worthy cause and they provide a seamless and easy to use platform to help you accomplish your goals.

What Are the Fees and Funding Process?

If you are raising money for a charity or nonprofit Razoo charges a 4% fee and their processor charges 2.9% plus $0.30. If you are raising money for a personal cause, Razoo increases their fee by 1%.

There are no deadlines to meet and no penalties if you don’t reach your goals.  

13. Experiment

Experiment is a niche crowdfunding platform dedicated entirely to funding the next wave of scientific research.

Operated by a team of engineers and scientists located in New York City, Experiment has raised more than $7,000,000 and funded more than 734 different projects.

Who Should Use Experiment?

While it is true that Experiment is built around the scientific community, you don’t need to postulate a groundbreaking new theory or have some sort of supercomputer prototype to get funding.

Projects vary wildly and range from analyzing the correlation between personality and religious views to discovering the dietary effects of Chinese herbs to researching possible breast cancer cures.

To maintain the integrity of their platform, they do have stricter project requirements than many other websites and require that users clearly record and report all data.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Experiment, like Kickstarter, is an all or nothing platform. If you don’t raise all of the money that you need to thoroughly conduct your experiment, then you funds are returned to the donors and you are left to hypothesize about how you can improve your next campaign.

Unlike the Charitable fundraising crowd, the scientific community needs money to power all of their high-intensity lasers and 3D printers… which is probably why Experiment charges a hefty 8% fee in addition to the 3-5% fee charged by their payment processor.

Funding business


14. EquityNet

Marketed as “The only patented business crowdfunding site in the world”, EquityNet provides entrepreneurs and investors with an intuitive and easy to use platform where they can either pitch or invest in new businesses.

Founded by a small team of entrepreneurs in Fayetteville, Arkansas, EquityNet has grown its reach and impact over the past decade and has helped fund more than 10,000 businesses receive funding from over 4,000 investors.

Who Should Use EquityNet?

EquityNet is designed for only two kinds of people.

The first are entrepreneurs who are looking for extra capital (specifically in the form of a business loan or equity investment).

The second are investors who are looking to find and invest in promising new businesses.

Their screening process is nowhere near as stringent as some of the other business crowdfunding companies on this list which can be both a blessing and a curse.

While their leniency does allow some amazing businesses (who don’t have amazing numbers) to get funding, it also makes it much more difficult for potential investors to decide where they should allocate their resources.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Since EquityNet is not a registered broker-dealer, they are not allowed to charge commissions for any transactions that take place on or because of their website. And while many of their basic features are free, for the more serious entrepreneur/investor, premium subscriptions start at $300 a month.

15. CrowdFunder

CrowdFunder was created to offer the same experience, deals, and terms as traditional venture capital firm through an online crowdfunding platform.

To date, they have generated more than $160,000,000 in committed funding and helped fund more than 100 deals at an average of $1.8 million per deal.

Who is CrowdFunder For?

CrowdFunder is for serious entrepreneurs only.

Not only do they charge a premium monthly fee (which we will discuss in a moment), but the platform caters to serious investors who are looking for an alternative to traditional VC. The entire purpose of the platform is that you can sell actual shares in your company to accredited investors and CrowdFunder takes special care to vet and analyze every business before they are allowed to pitch their deal.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

As with most of the startup-related crowdfunding programs that we have talked about, CrowdFunder isn’t a registered broker-dealer and therefore doesn’t charge any commission fees. Instead, they require all users to pay a monthly premium that starts at $449.

Funding for the arts

16. Seed & Spark

Seed & Spark is possibly one of the most unique crowdfunding platforms on the market because, at their core, they aren’t just a crowdfunding company.

In addition to their traditional crowdfunding platform, Seed & Spark marries crowdfunding and streaming services in a beautiful way.

The concept is simple, every user pays a monthly fee comparable to Netflix and a portion of that fee goes to various projects. While you don’t get to directly decide which projects receive funding, every month, users are sent poll where they have the option to choose which project they want to fund.

The winners of the poll win the funding for that month.

Who Should Use Seed & Spark?

If you have ever dreamed of creating and starring in movies or TV shows, Seed & Spark is here to give you a fighting chance.

In addition to their ingeniously designed crowdfunding + subscription platform, Seed & Spark also offers a traditional crowdfunding platform where you can make pledges to support specific projects that pique your interest.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

A monthly subscription to Seed & Spark only costs $6.99, however,  if you want to pledge money to a specific project, Seed & Fund charges 5% and their processor charges $0.30 plus 2.9%.

It should be noted that all donors are given the option of covering the 5% fee at checkout and many of them choose to do so.

Seed & Spark claims that the average campaign will keep around 95% of the money pledged (roughly 2-3% more than other platforms).

And although they are not technically an all or nothing platform, you only get to keep your funds if you hit at least 80% of your goal.

17. GoGetFunding

GoGetFunding was created in December of 2011 with the simple goal of disrupting the crowdfunding industry and providing people with an easy and flexible way to generate money for any cause.

They provide their users with ongoing access to their funds, a “keep it all” policy, and deadline free projects so that anyone in need can start raising and using money today.

Who Should Use GoGetFunding?

While GoGetFunding promotes their platform to just about anybody interested in raising money, their most popular and successful campaigns tend to be related to personal, medical, and charitable projects.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

GoGetFunding uses a “Keep it all” model and gives users access to their funds on a rolling basis. They charge a modest 4% in addition to their processor fee (typically $0.30 + 2.9%)

Crowdfunding for the UK

18. CrowdCube

UK based investment crowdfunding platform CrowdCube is one of the most successful business crowdfunding companies in all of Europe.

They have raised more than $450,000,000 (or $357,000,000 pounds) since their inception and are backed by several big names like Balderton Capital and Numis.

Who Should Use CrowdCube?

If you are a UK based entrepreneur or business who is unable to use any of the aforementioned services on this list, CrowdCube is your saving grace. They have been behind 578 successful raises and have an impressive user base or nearly 500,000 people.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Because of the legal differences in the UK, CrowdCube is able to charge a success fee on all fully backed projects. They charge a 7% fee for successful raises in addition to the processor fee which, as usual, charges 2.9%.

19. Pledgie

While they were founded in 2011 (around the same time as many of the bigger companies on this list), Pledgie’s growth has happened at a much slower pace.

However, just because they aren’t as popular and well known as many of the other sites doesn’t mean that they don’t offer an equally awesome service.

Their lower fees and “Keep it all” campaign option makes Pledgie an excellent alternative to many of the bigger platforms.

Who Should Use Pledgie?

Pledgie allows users to raise money for a wide variety of different causes however, the most popular that I have seen tend to pertain to education, charitable causes, and artistic endeavors.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

In addition to the PayPal fee, Pledgie takes a modest 3% out of every dollar raised on their site.

They allow people to select from one of two campaign types, “All or Nothing” and “Everything Counts”.

The “All or Nothing” campaign is designed for users who need to raise a certain amount of money to hit a goal, and are unable to settle for anything less.

The “Everything Counts” campaign, on the other hand, allows you to create a campaign that is free from goals or deadlines.

Your donations are processed on a rolling basis, and, while you might be able to raise more money, Pledgie will not promote your campaign as heavily as they would with an all or nothing campaign.

20. FlashFunders

Operated by Brian Park and Vincent Bradley, the business crowdfunding platform FlashFunders offers the perfect balance between the stringent regulations of companies like CrowdFunder and the enjoyable crowdfunding process of companies like Kickstarter.

Who Should Use FlashFunders?

FlashFunders biggest selling point is their flexibility. They provide lenient investor regulations and investors can take part in any deal for as little as $50. If you are looking to fund your business on FlashFunders, all that is required is a social security number and a verified LLC (or similar document).

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

For anyone who successfully hits their funding goal, FlashFunders charges a 5% fee at the time of closing. In addition to the basic 5%, there is an additional 4% processor charge and an annual $500 service fee to compensate the company for handling basic shareholder services.

Water for hurricane relief

21. Fundraise

As the name implies, Fundraise is a crowdfunding company dedicated to fundraising activities. Designed to simplify the fundraising process for charitable organizations and individuals, Fundraise makes it easy for you to create an account and start raising money in a matter of seconds.

Who Should Use Fundraise?

Fundraise is designed for individuals trying to raise money for a charitable event, cause, or organization.

What Are the Fees?

Fundraise charges a 5% fee and their payment processor charges an additional 2.9% plus $0.30.

22. artistShare

The original crowdfunding platform for artists, artistShare was founded in 2003 long before any of their competition and they boast an impressive track record of supported projects. Since launching their company, artistShare has supported more than 29 Grammy nominated projects and 10 Grammy-winning projects among countless other award-winning compositions.

Who Should Use artistShare?

artistShare is for any artist who is looking to take their craft to the next level. Kind of like Kickstarter for performing artists, artistShare allows musicians, creative writers, painters, and other artistic individuals to receive funding for their work in exchange for tier-based rewards.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Not looking to break through into any new territory, artistFund charges the customary 5% plus the 3% payment processor fee. There is no “All or nothing” policy and you get to keep everything that you raise on their site.

23. NextSeed

NextSeed is designed to bring incredible investment opportunities to the general public. Unlike many of the companies listed in this article, NextSeed does not require individuals to be accredited investors.

Anyone can use their platform and profit from the carefully vetted companies listed in the NextSeed portfolio.

Because of their leniency with who can invest, they were also forced to change how their customers can invest offering Term and Revenue notes as the primary form of investment.

Who Should Use NextSeed?

NextSeed is for any U.S. citizen looking to fund or invest in a new company. With NextSeed, you don’t have to have a certain income or net worth and anyone with a credit card can start investing in businesses today.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

NextSeed charges investors a 1% convenience fee on every transaction and they charge all new businesses a 10% fee on all funds and one time $500 escrow setup fee.

Fundraising for new uniforms

24. Piggybackr

Launched in 2011, Piggbackr is designed to help the little guys get into crowdfunding… Literally. Piggybackr is the only crowdfunding platform I’ve seen that is specifically marketed towards a younger audience, specifically children under 13 looking to raise money for school events, projects, and sports equipment.

Who Should Use Piggybackr?

While they are certainly marketed towards a younger user base, Piggybackr allows anyone to raise money for the right cause.

Whether you are the coach of a little league baseball team or a player on that team, Piggybackr was created so that everyone from children to adults can raise money for the causes that are most important to them. They allow their users to raise funds for sports, education, personal projects, and charities.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Piggybackr charges 4% in addition to the 2.9% plus $0.30 charged by their payment processor.

25. Fundly

Despite raising an impressive $330 million and offering one of the most supportive crowdfunding processes on the planet, Fundly is still one of the lesser known additions to the charity/personal need-based sites. However, with their impressive track record, “no raise requirement” policy, and supportive team, Fundly is also one of the best platforms for a crowdfunding fundraiser.

Who Should Use Fundly?

As I already mentioned, Fundly is primarily designed for individuals and nonprofits looking to raise money for a specific cause or need. But that doesn’t preclude users from raising money for other causes. If you want, you can use Fundly to raise money for a trip around the world, a new creative project, or a community event.

However, it should be noted that while you can raise money for these types of projects, funding is notoriously sparse and you would be better served by using something like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

Fundly offers a “no raise requirement” meaning that you don’t have to hit any specific goal or deadline in order to keep your funds. Fundly charges users a 4.9% fee in addition to the 3% charged by their payment processor.

26. SeedInvest

With more than $70 million invested and more than 195,000 investors currently using their platform, SeedInvest is one of the fastest growing investment crowdfunding platforms on the market. Founded in 2012 by Ryan Feir and James Han, SeedInvest has radically simplified the funding and investing process for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Who Should Use SeedInvest?

SeedInvest is for serious entrepreneurs and investors only. Their platform accepts fewer than 1% of the companies that apply and only accredited investors are allowed to invest in those companies.

What are the Fees and Funding Process?

SeedInvest has a pretty impressive track record considering that they’ve been in business for only five years, but this track record comes at a price.

For entrepreneurs, you are charged a 7.5% placement fee on the total amount raised, another 5% warrant coverage or equity based on the total amount raised on SeedInvet in the round, and another $0-$10,000 due diligence, escrow, marketing and legal expenses.

Investors, on the other hand, are only charged a 2% processing fee.

Get everyone involved


Whether you are trying to launch the next big tech startup, donate to a charity, pay your way through college, or receive funding to pursue your latest artistic passion, crowdfunding gives you the tools to raise the money you need faster and easier than ever before.

However, half of the battle is simply knowing which platform is best suited to your needs.

Equipped with this list, you have everything you need to know to find the perfect platform for your goals and start raising money for your dream… Today!

What do you think of the sites on this list? Are there any crowdfunding sites that you have used that aren’t on the list? Let me know in the comments below.

How to Raise Money Online for a Personal Cause in Record Time

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where funding professionals share their best tips on fundraising tactics.

Whether you are looking to raise money for a friend with cancer, pay for your back surgery, or send your grandparents to Fiji for their 50th anniversary, crowdfunding is one of the most effective ways to accomplish your goals.


You have to do it right.

Of the countless campaigns that I see on a daily basis, maybe 1-2% effectively leverage psychology, social media, and storytelling to reach a wide audience and raise the necessary money.

In this article, I am going to help you join the 1%.

I am going to detail all of the basics of personal crowdfunding, common mistakes, and a few nifty psychological hacks that will immediately increase donations.

If you implement the following advice into your fundraisers (online and offline), I promise that you will see results like never before.

The Basics of Personal Crowdfunding (And Why It’s Different From Business Crowdfunding)

Before I delve into the specific tactics, I want to make one extremely important point.

Personal crowdfunding is not the same as business crowdfunding.

While there are plenty of universal principles that apply to all fund-raising campaigns, you cannot run a personal crowdfunding campaign the same way that you run a business campaign.

The primary reason being that you have no product to sell or offer to make.

This means that your focus must be on your story and the impact of potential donations.

Not a product or service.

With that in mind, here are the 5 basic tenants of person crowdfunding that you must follow if you want to be successful.

Ice bucket challenge told a story of the need for funding for ALS

Focus on Your Story

 Without a product to sell or a service to promote, you are left with one crucial asset to use in promoting your campaign and converting visitors into donors.

Your story.

That’s it.

I see campaigns raising money for worthy causes all the time.

But a worthy cause isn’t enough.

If you don’t understand how to effectively captivate your audience and clearly convey your story using relatable and emotional language, your campaign will fail.

Luckily for you, becoming an excellent storyteller and leveraging this ability to raise money is actually a pretty simple task.

You just need to ask (and answer) a few key questions.

1. Who’s Involved?

 Tell potential donors about who will be receiving the donation.

Is it you? A friend? A family member?

Share personal anecdotes and stories that will connect viewers with the recipient.

2. What is the Positive Outcome You Are Trying to Achieve?

 It is important that this section precedes the “What is the problem” phase of your story.

People love happy endings, and the more you can focus on the positive end results that their donations will provide, the more willing they will be to donate.

Let’s say you are raising money to send your parents on a vacation for their anniversary.

Before you mention how stressful your dad’s job is or how they could never make ends meet because of xyz obstacle, talk about how much they always dreamed of traveling together.

Paint a vivid picture.

Talk about how your Dad would always fantasize about diving the Great Barrier Reefs, seeing Machu Picchu, or dining on the Amalfi Coast.

Keep things in a positive light before you present the problem and you will elicit a much stronger emotional response from potential donors.

3.  What is The Problem?

 Now that you have set the stage with likable and relatable characters, presented a positive vision for the future, and get your viewers involved in your story, it’s time to deliver the bad news.

Because here’s the thing.

People aren’t going to give money away to people who don’t need it.

(Notice that there aren’t many millionaires receiving donations for their campaign to celebrate their birthday in Tahiti.)

So what problem has arisen that only your donors can solve?

Is your child suffering from a medical condition that your job cannot support?

Was your father laid off right before a big anniversary?

Did your friend sacrifice his dreams of travel to stay home and provide for his disabled parents?

What is the problem you (or the recipient of the donations) facing that you cannot surmount on your own?

4. What is the End Game? (Restate the Positive Outcome from Before)

 Once you have stated the problem, you want to make sure to reiterate the end game.

Remind your viewers of the joy and the freedom that they will be providing for you or your family.

Remind them of the health that they will restore to your child, the dreams that they will fulfill for your parents, or even the life that they will save.

Tell it with video

Use Videos

 As a writer, I love creating compelling stories through the written word.

However, if you really want to succeed at the game of crowdfunding, then you need to embrace the power of video.

Yes, it is important to share your story and write a moving message that clearly explains why you are looking to raise money.

But as the old adage goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”… and a video is worth almost a million.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a world-class photographer or cinematographer to create a great video.

Here are a few simple tips that you can use to instantly improve the quality of your videos to help share your message and increase donations.

1. Look Into the Camera

 I know that it might sound simple, but many individuals forget this simple tactic.

Studies have proven time and time again that eye contact is critical to successfully conveying a message and instilling trust in your audience.

So hit record and look at the camera.

 2.Use a Teleprompter or Memorize Your Line

 One of the best ways to quickly strengthen your message and improve the chances of receiving a donation is to share your story with authority and confidence.

And while some of you might have a natural ability to stand in front of the camera and speak from your heart, most of us (myself included) do not.

If you want to pack some extra “umph” into your campaign’s video, be sure to use a teleprompter or memorize your lines.

3. Be Authentic

 This is not a business campaign.

You are not making a sales pitch to try and convince people to buy your latest product.

You are asking real people to help you overcome a real obstacle.

And even though I encourage you to present your message as confidently and eloquently as possible, you still need to be vulnerable.

People want to see your authenticity shining through.

They want to know that their money is going to the right place.

They want to know that you are real, are suffering from real pain, and that they can help.

If need be, go off script, cry, show emotion, do whatever comes naturally.

Because at the end of the day, people donate to people that they like.

And they like people who are authentic and real.

Appreciate your donors

Mind Your Manners

One of the most important parts of a personal crowdfunding campaign is that you remember your manners and always say please and thank you.

Especially “Thank you”.

One of the quickest ways to earn repeat donors and encourage new support is by coming up with creative ways to say “Thanks.”

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

1. Personalized Social Media Shout Outs

A great way to thank your donors is to give them special shoutouts on social media.

Here are a couple of ways you can do this:

— Update your Facebook or Instagram status with a picture of you holding a “Thank You” sign and tag donors in the post, thanking them for their generosity.

— Publish an Instagram or Snapchat story where you shout out to some of your biggest donors.

—Tweet out a thank you to your donors

Create a personalized video on Facebook or Instagram, thanking specific donors for their generosity

2. Handwritten Thank You Cards

 Nothing says “Thank You” more effectively than a handwritten letter.

I highly recommend that you use this method for your bigger donors, thanking them for their generosity and including some token of gratitude (probably a picture of the donation recipient)

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also increase the odds of a repeat donation.

3. A Campaign Video

 This tactic is a great way to show your gratitude to existing donors while simultaneously increasing support for your campaign.

At key milestones within your campaign create a video detailing everything that you have already been able to do with the money and thanking donors for their generosity.

Then, after acknowledging existing donors, conclude the video by mentioning how close you are to your goal and what it will mean for you, your family, and your friends when you hit it.

By showcasing existing donors, you will evoke the power of the social proof (more on that later) and make these donors feel appreciated, increasing the odds of repeat generosity.

Share Baby Share

Share, Baby, Share

 One of the biggest killers of crowdfunding success is the “set it and forget it mentality”.

I have seen many a campaign doomed to failure simply because the recipients did not actively share their campaign!

When you start a campaign, you need to share it on every social media platform that you have.

Post it on your Facebook, update the link in your Instagram bio, post a story on SnapChat, and Tweet out as much as you can.

And once you have started sharing… Don’t stop.

You can’t just post once and hope for a wild influx of donations.

You need to continually share updates about the campaign and continue to encourage donations as the campaign progresses.

Appreciate your donors

The Biggest Personal Crowdfunding Mistakes

So now that you understand the basic tenets that make a great crowdfunding campaign, let’s dive into a couple of the common traps and pitfalls that many novices fall into.

1. Being Unprepared

 I know that this might sound simple.

But you need to look at your crowdfunding campaign the same way you would look at starting a small business or turning in a project for school.

You need to be prepared!

Make sure that you take time before you start your campaign to do your research.

Look at other personal fundraisers that have been wildly successful, plan out your message, and be sure that you have a clear plan to share your campaign.

2. Improper Etiquette

 Understand that you need to follow the common rules of etiquette and politeness when asking for money online.

Be sure that you are regularly sending thank you letters to donors and updating your campaign to let people know how much their support means to you.

It is also important that you are transparent and honest about where the money is going and exactly what it is being used for.

This means that you need to clearly lay out where you will be spending the money, how much of it will be absorbed by the platform’s fees (more on that in a second) and even posting receipts or transaction details on your campaign’s page.

This level of honesty and transparency will create a feeling of trust and assurance, increasing the odds of a donation.

3. Wasting Your Money on Unnecessary Fees

 Most business based crowdfunding sites charge you outrageous fees of up to 9%!

Be sure to do your research on a platform before you use it and make sure that you are maximizing your donor’s dollars.

I highly recommend that you avoid any of the major business crowdfunding websites and only use platforms specifically designed for personal fundraising.

4. Expecting Free Money

 Look, nothing is free.

Not even charitable donations.

If you want to raise more than a few paltry dollars, then your campaign is going to require careful planning and maintenance.

You will need to treat your crowdfunding campaign like a part-time business and take it seriously.

Nobody gets something for nothing, so be prepared to put in the work to make your campaign a success.

5. Acting Ungrateful

 Regardless of what type of campaign you are running, you need to be overly enthusiastic in showing your gratitude for every gift no matter how big or small.

Use good psychology to win donors

A Few Psychological Hacks to Boost Donations

Now that you understand the core components that make a great personal crowdfunding campaign, let’s dive into a few psychological hacks that will boost donations even further.

While most of these principles are common in the world of business crowdfunding, they are equally applicable to personal campaigns and will result in a drastic in your results.

1.Donate to Other Campaigns

 The first little hack that you can use to increase the success of your campaigns is to actually give to other campaigns.

This simple act serves two purposes.

a) It Invokes the Power of the Reciprocity Bias

If you understand social psychology, then you know that there is a cognitive bias called the “Reciprocity Bias”.

This bias basically states that whenever you do a good deed for someone else, that person (and the people who noticed) will feel obligated to repay your actions in kind.

Luckily, most crowdfunding campaigns make it incredibly simple to leverage this bias to your advantage by showcasing your donations to various campaigns.

This means that anytime someone looks at your profile or campaign and notices your own generosity, they will feel obliged to reciprocate.

b) It Can Make Your Campaign Appear Higher in the Search Results

Depending on which platform you are using, your donations and activity are often factored into where your campaigns are placed on the site.

This means that if you regularly donate to other people’s campaigns and are active in the community, there is a good chance that the platform’s algorithm will notice this and reward you by boosting your campaign’s relevance.

2. Clearly Breakdown Expenses

Donors want to know that their money is making a difference.

In fact, according to many studies, this is one of the greatest determining factors in if and how much individuals give.

One of the best ways to show your donors that they are having an impact is to clearly break down the specific ways that their money will be used.

For example, if you are raising money to send your parent’s on a second honeymoon for their 50th anniversary, clearly outline how much money will be spent on airfare, lodging, and activities.

This will allow donors to have a clear vision of what their money will be used for and the positive effect that their contribution will have on your life.

3. Use the Second Person

Psychologists have long stated that one of the five most powerful words in the English language is the word “You”.

“You” (like using an individual’s actual name) breaks viewer’s out of their subconscious minds and puts them into a state of self-awareness.

Using this kind of language helps readers relate your message and problems to their own life and actually envision themselves contributing.

So for example

Donors will receive a personalized letter for contributions of $10 or more”

Turns into…

“YOU will receive a personalized letter when you contribute $10 or more”

4. Disclose Personal Information

Asking online strangers to give you money is a pretty tall order.

They don’t know you and until you give them a reason to do otherwise, they don’t trust you.

This makes it imperative that you completely fill out your profile and provide as much personal information as possible.

This tactic plays on the psychological effect known as the “Identifiable Victim”.

Basically, it is the concept that human beings express more empathy and compassion towards specific individuals as opposed to vague groups.

For example, in one study researchers found that individuals were more likely to donate $5 to an African girl named Rokia as opposed to donating the same $5 to millions of starving children in Africa.

5. Offer the Lowest Donation Option Possible

By offering the lowest possible donations (typically $1) you will simultaneously accomplish 2 goals.

a) You Will Increase Your Campaign’s Position

Most crowdfunding platforms factor in the number of donors whenever they decide which campaigns to display on the front page.

b) You Will Evoke the Power of Social Proof

Once again, many of you who are versed in the basics of consumer psychology understand the power of social proof.

Just like customers are more likely to buy when your company has hundreds of positive reviews and highly visible testimonials, donors are more likely to give to campaigns when they see their peers and friends giving to those same campaigns.

6. Mention Low Price Hedonic Products

So you know how online marketers will often use phrases like “For only $47 a month (less than the cost of your daily latte) you too can have the secrets to limitless wealth”?

Well, this is actually a very effective psychological hack that you can leverage to increase donations to your personal cause.

The key here is to mention low cost “Hedonic products” or pleasurable purchases that create a feeling of guilt.

So, for example, when you describe the $1 donation option, include a phrase like “For $1 (less than the price of a chocolate bar) you can help fund Mandy’s surgery.”

Raise money for a good cause


So there you have it.

The ultimate guide to help you raise money online for any cause in record time!

By implementing the above tactics, I promise that you will drastically increase donations and reach your crowdfunding goals sooner than you ever thought possible.

If you have any questions about how to raise money for a personal cause or want to ask us about something you read in the article, feel free to drop us a comment below!

How to Fundraise Online Successfully in 2017

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where funding professionals share their best tips on fundraising tactics.

Raising money for a good cause online this year? Here is how to use digital tools, great content, and social media to help you take your fundraising game to the next level. Here’s to reaching those fundraising targets in 2017!

Set out your fundraising aims

Whether you’re an individual with a target to meet, or you are in charge of raising funds for a project – setting out clear goals and targets is step one of online fundraising.

  • Targets make donating more fun – online trackers and progress reports mean people can get involved in the project and see the amount climb higher and higher. Goals create momentum and drive, and will keep your campaign from stalling.
  • Select a fundraising goal that is realistic and specific – use something actionable and measurable as your target (building a new school, putting someone through college etc.). A target that’s too ambiguous or vague will struggle to attract committed donors.
  • Know when to push hard for the best results – most of online giving is concentrated around the year end. Factor in seasonality when mapping out fundraising targets.

Plan your moveHave a content strategy

In order to encourage people to donate and give generously – make sure you create content that gives them a reason to.

What kind of language should you use? It’s best to be clear, concise, and use emotive (but direct) language.

  • Blogging? Create a series of articles that explain why your cause is so important, and how people can get involved and help. Rather than focus on big picture stuff and the figures, zoom in on individual people and stories to have a more emotive impact.
  • On social? Mix up the content formats in order to connect with as many people as possible. Design suitable social graphics for maximum engagement and attention.
  • Emails? Learn how to grab people’s attention with your subject lines – that’s all you get sometimes.
  • Have an editorial calendar mapped out so that you can jump in on relevant seasonal events, awareness days, and hashtags. Great content comes from great planning.

Find advocates

Go down the crowdfunding route

What could be better than getting a whole online community behind your cause (and donating)?

Crowdfunding sites and platforms are the perfect way to raise money, and it’s a super easy way to encourage other people to get involved.  The sites do all the hard work – you just have to make sure that your cause tells a compelling story.

  • Crowdfunding isn’t just for Silicon Valley startups – it’s the perfect nonprofit fundraising strategy. Focus on creating a really compelling value proposition and grabbing people’s attention.
  • Relationships matter – make sure you engage with donors and investors with personalized messages. Remember to thank donors after the dust has settled – share how the money made a difference.

Get everyone involved

Get everyone involved

Social media is an amazing online tool that allows you to create a virtual community around your cause. It’s also one of the best ways to harvest user-generated content for your nonprofit (who could forget all those priceless ice bucket videos)?

Use your social media channels as a place to engage with people, and share your progress with followers on a regular basis. Make social an integral part of your fundraising campaign.

  • Social is all about sharing, but don’t just settle for awareness (though that’s great too); be clear on the fact that you need actual funds to get this thing off the ground. Liking and sharing is easy – now you’ve got to make not donating hard.
  • Thank donors publicly on social media – it’s a great way to identify potential advocates.


A great way to create a buzz around your cause is to do something a bit different.

  • Whether you have a funny tale to tell, or a shock tactic video – getting people’s attention is half the online battle. Don’t expect (or count on) something that you do to go ‘viral’. Yes, some campaigns gain traction that way, but virality is hard to manufacture. Just focus on creating something shareable instead.
  • Videos and animations can really help you up your engagement levels, so don’t rule out video. Putting a video together isn’t as expensive as it used to be, and you can easily upload a campaign on a video sharing site like YouTube. YouTube for Nonprofits helps nonprofits collect donations straight from YouTube.
  • Urgency in the form of flash fundraising can encourage people to donate there and then. You might be better off investing in more frequent, shorter online campaign, rather than one that runs on and on.
  • Whatever method you go for, always have a clear call to action that connects with your cause. Keep it simple and direct.

Meaningful gifts for donating

Retail therapy

Give people options when they shop online – make donating to you more fun.

  • Shopping and giving to charity all in one go is the best kind of retail therapy. Ecommerce is a growing nonprofit income strategy – it’s easy to get set up with platforms like Shopify, and you can pretty much sell what you want (think branded tshirts, phone cases, greetings cards, chocolates, hampers etc.)
  • AmazonSmile is a great ecommerce fundraising option – Amazon donates a percentage of sales to people’s chosen charity. Get yours signed up today.
  • Online auctions are another great way to make fundraising more fun for donors – think of it as the logical evolution of the yard sale.
  • Make donations into meaningful gifts. Offer a generous thank you pack to encourage people to gift their donation.

Make it easy

Online fundraising is all about making things easier for nonprofits, fundraisers, and donors.

  • Collecting donations? Make sure users have a clear path to follow. Give them multiple ways to get involved (various amounts etc.), and don’t put people off with over complicated forms. Offer simple payment options and don’t ask for too much commitment too soon – it’s a conversion killer.
  • As well as making things easy, you need to build trust with online donors. They might never see you in person, so focus on building up their confidence. Always put your best foot forwards with great copy, messaging, and visuals. Don’t be sloppy – nonprofits should be just as brand proud as other companies. Include payment trust signals on your online payment portals. Reassure people about where their money is going.

Donate online now

Target advocates

In order for the word to spread online, you will need some high-profile advocates to share your content or fundraising page.

  • These advocates don’t have to be anyone new – it could be that a regular patron or trustee can lend their online brand to the cause. If you do need to find new cause advocates – start with bloggers who are likely to have a vested interest in your mission. Explain to them what you’re trying to achieve (and how they can help).
  • Look for people who have a sizeable online audience themselves. Anyone who donates or engages with the campaign – get talking to them – they might be your next advocate.
  • Donation matching is a great fundraising tactic that leverages another organization’s or individual’s public profile.

Embrace the digital world to help you fundraise better, but don’t forget the core ethics of accountability, transparency, and relationships. Online, your campaigns have the potential of reaching millions and changing lives, but don’t be disheartened if your achievements seem modest in comparison. It’s important to remain focused on what you do and keep doing it well – don’t always contrast and compare. What online resources have helped you fundraise?

Looking for a great tool for online fundraising? Plumfund offers free online crowdfunding opportunities.

Bio: Kayleigh Alexandra, Content Marketer & Startup Specialist

Passionate about writing for the startup and entrepren eurial audience, I have recently been part of setting up an exciting project at MicroStartups.org. We donate all our website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential. Find out more on Twitter.






















It Only Takes 15 Minutes to Win Giving Tuesday

giving feels good

Giving Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the year. I love that it challenges us all to look at the meaning behind the season of giving, and challenge ourselves to find some moments in the busiest time of year to serve others.  In that spirit, here are three easy ways you can dedicate yourself to service today, and beyond. In other words, you can win Giving Tuesday in just 15 minutes today.

1. Make a Difference in a Cause you Care About by Giving to Charity – Five Minutes

It doesn’t matter if you have $5, $50 or $500, the act of giving to an organization that does work that is meaningful to you is extremely rewarding. Here are some common categories to get your wheels turning and power a Google search. Add your city name to the search — you can often find a local organization which will be very grateful for your donation, however small.

  • Animals – Shelters, Rescue Organizations, Conservation Groups
  • The Arts – Music, Theater, Dance, Fine Arts, Galleries, etc.
  • Community Organizing – One of my favorite genres of charities! Often supporting human rights, housing, elderly, and the poor. Homeless shelters really need food, clothing and gift items this time of year.
  • Education – Your local schools’ foundation to organization is one. Or how about funding speciality educational programs like girls in STEM, music or language?
  • Environmental Conservation – International organizations work hard to clean the air, water and land by working with local groups and lobbying governments. Nature.org is a popular one.
  • Health & Disease Research – Try The Parker Institute, which is making break-throughs in cancer treatments using the body’s own immune system.
  • Religious Organizations – Maybe up your annual pledge to your church, temple or mosque.

2. Support a Cause in Lieu of Gifts – Six Minutes

In this day and age we have more than enough “things” – don’t we? If you have friend and family that would normally give you a wrapped gift, you can gently request they donate to your favorite cause instead. Open a Plumfund campaign and spread the word. Friends and family near and far can donate online. It’s more convenient for them than shipping a gift!

3. Make a Phone Call to Find Ways to  Volunteer – Four Minutes 

Ask a local shelter, religious center or charity if they have opportunities this season. If not, schedule some volunteer time for next year.  You can also find opportunities online at sites like http://www.volunteermatch.org/. If you have kids, ask if you can involve them!

3 Easy Ways Nonprofits Can Raise More Money with Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, or any form of group fundraising, has been around for decades. The term used to refer to startups and entrepreneurs looking for investors (à la Shark Tank). More recently, online crowdfunding sites like Plumfund have erupted in popularity.

These fundraising pages allow individuals and organizations to create an online giving campaign where friends and supporters can pay right on the page using the site’s credit card processor. Because of its accessibility and ease of use, online crowdfunding has become popular amongst individuals raising money for personal causes such as medical funds, home renovations, honeymoons, celebrations and more.

It’s more important than ever for nonprofits and charities—organizations that follow traditional event fundraising models—to capitalize on these new revenue opportunities.

In 2015, the crowdfunding industry raised $34.4B, and 30 percent went to social causes. The World Bank estimates crowdfunding will reach a whopping $90B by 2017 if it continues growing at its current rate. Needless to say, the iron is hot!

Crowdfunding is goal-specific, fast-paced and fun. Could your nonprofit benefit from the trend?

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

Here are 3 quick ways nonprofit organizations can use crowdfunding to raise more for their causes.

1. Create project-specific goals

Crowdfunding is perfectly suited to project-based, short-term goals. People looking to make a powerful, immediate impact with their dollars may even be more willing to give to crowdfunding campaigns than a general monthly fund. Here’s a few timely projects your organization can consider:

        • Seasonal or milestone fund: A winter holiday giving campaign is a mainstay for many charities, but you can center campaigns around other special milestones as well. Think anniversaries, organization milestones, election campaigns, big sporting events, municipal holidays and more) year-round. Make an annual giving campaign more dynamic by adding crowdfunding to the mix.
          • Emergency relief fund: Perhaps sudden flooding has caused damage to your building and suspended operations. Or your city is experiencing extreme weather, and your organization wants to provide shelter, medical services and hot/cold beverages to the elderly and people without homes. Create a site demonstrating the urgent need using dollar and time specific goals (i.e. “Will you help us raise $10,000 in the next 2 weeks to provide shelter for 100 families?”).

Note: If your nonprofit holds fundraising events, you’ll notice that crowdfunding sites follow the same principles of an in-person Fund a Need or Cash Appeal. For example, if you’re raising money to fund a certain piece of equipment or program that costs $1,000, you’re already familiar with the strategies behind project-specific crowdfunding campaigns.

Expert tip: Want to run a successful Fund-a-Need at your next event fundraiser? Click here to try out Checklist Builder, a charity event organizer created by our friends at Winspire.

Checklist builder

2. Utilize social media

Crowdfunding platforms let you engage new donors, educate them on your cause and extract more funds for your mission.

Remember the viral “ice bucket challenge” of 2014? The ALS Association successfully raised $115 million in 8 weeks—including countless donors who had never heard of ALS before.

How were they able to strike crowdfunding gold?

First, they used a completely unique – and fun – idea. (See: America’s Funniest Home Videos’Ice Bucket Fails” compilation.) Never before had we been challenged to either dunk ourselves with a bucket of cold water and/or donate $100 to ALS. The challenge expertly tapped into people’s competitive and social nature.

They also kept the ask level relatively low. The challenge was as much about raising awareness as raising critical dollars for ALS research. While $100 was recommended, people were free to complete the challenge and give as much or as little as they wanted. Even those who weren’t able to donate could feel good about being part of the ripple effect.

More importantly, the challenge tapped into the viral nature of social media in a way we have not seen before or since. What nonprofits can do to expand their reach online:

            • Create a sense of community. Crowdfunding sites make donors feel like they’re contributing to a bigger purpose. They can read comments from backers around the world and leave their own mark on the cause. This can create a very powerful connection with each donor.
              • Get the support of a few key donors (even if there’s just a few!). It takes just a few clicks for supporters to share a crowdfunding site link with multiple social networks. With the power of social media, you never know how far the right campaign could spread.
                • Offer customizable giving options. Let donors decide how much they want to give, and emphasize that no donation is too small – every dollar counts. This will encourage more people to give and share freely.

3. Tell your story

The ability to customize text and host visuals to tell the unique story of your organization is a huge advantage of crowdfunding sites

                    • Story t8imeVisuals: Make sure they’re high quality and impactful. Keep videos short (under 2 minutes) and simple.
                      • Written stories and testimonials: Stories must be concise an
                        d urgent with a clear beginning, middle and conclusion. Quotes from beneficiaries of your services, statistics and stories of change are all great options to feature on your site.

For more practical tips on telling your nonprofit’s story, see “The Power of Storytelling During Nonprofit Events.

Encourage supporters to become “evangelists” for your cause by creating their own sites. Facebook, for example, has a new feature, “Fundraisers,” that will allow people to raise money for their favorite nonprofits (501(c)(3) organizations in the U.S. that have registered with Facebook for this purpose). Many other crowdfunding sites will allow supporters to create their own personal fundraising pages.

Two common uses of personal fundraising pages:

                          • Celebrations. Special occasions where we typically give gifts, like birthdays and weddings, are the perfect opportunity to highlight charitable causes. Studies show millennials in particular are growing tired of having more “stuff” and want to make a difference in the world. Make it easy by providing a default description of your organization on these sites.
                            • Team and peer-to-peer fundraising events. This works great for 5K runs, relays, walk-a-thons and other events in which participants are raising money for a goal. Teammates and participants write about their personal connection to the cause, upload pictures and share the link on social networks and by email. The more personal the ask, the higher the likelihood friends and family will give.

Choose the crowdfunding platform that’s right for you

Stick to crowdfunding sites designed specifically to help nonprofits raise money. In addition, find a nonprofit crowdfunding site that allows customizability, but still a user-friendly, sleek and professional template to save you time.

The site should make it very easy to accept donations. Check if they charge for creating campaigns; some (like Plumfund) are free to host and only charge a processing fee on credit card donations (typically around 3%). Finally, the site must have ample options for sharing via social media.

To find the best fit for your organization, take advantage of the free trial period most sites offer.

Bottom line: Crowdfunding need not replace normal fundraising activities like annual events. Instead, online crowdfunding can become part of your development strategy year-round. When used correctly, project-specific and timely crowdfunding campaigns can amplify event revenue to record-breaking heights.

Today’s blog comes to you from Summy at Winspire, a provider of unique, big-ticket travel packages charities can use in their fundraising auctions and raffles. As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising and publishing to their blog, Winspire News. Click here to sign up for weekly articles, time-saving templates and other resources designed to help organizations meet and exceed their fundraising goals. (As an added bonus, you’ll be entered to win over $1,000 in donated auction items for use in your next fundraiser!)

Introducing the Plumfund Giving Widget

Feature Your Plumfund Campaign on any Blog or Website

Do you have your own blog or website where you want to feature your Plumfund campaign? Use this code on any web page!

It’s easy:

  1. Click the </> button on any Plumfund campaign.
  2. Click “Copy code”
  3. Paste the code in the HTML of your blog or website. Alternatively, email the code to the blog owner or webmaster.
  4. To embed in an online article or news site covering your cause, email the code to the journalist or webmaster.

How To Make The Most Out of the Plumfund Wish List

Plumfund offers a wide range of tools to help you make sure that your crowdfunding campaign is successful. One such tool is the wish list. A wish list displays items that you need and then supporters can choose which of those items their donation will directly fund. Supporters love the wish list because it allows them to feel directly connected and know exactly how they are helping you. Learning how to use the wish list tool can help your campaign be even more successful. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your plumfund’s wish list.

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Be Very Specific

Creating and editing the wish list is easy! Simply add an item to your wish list, provide an image and a small description, the requested quantity and cost and voila you’ll be all done! Remember to be specific when entering items. Also, by providing an accurate and detailed description, your friends and family will have more fun contributing!

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List Big-Ticket Items

The Plumfund wish list allows supporters to split the cost of a larger item. For example, if your campaign is a babyfund, a great big-ticket item to list is a baby stroller or car seat. By listing big-ticket items on your plumfund, you can ensure that funds will go directly to cover those items.

Monitor Progress and Update Your List

The wish list automatically updates your page when items are “completed.” This automatic update will ensure that contributors know what’s available to give and also see the progress of your fund. And if a quantity is getting low, you can add more!


Bonus: Thank-yous are More Personal

When the giving is all done, and it’s time to thank your supporters, the wish list makes it easy to know who gave what, and to thank them in a personal way. For example, if you received a big-ticket birthday gift you can provide all contributors a photo of you with the gift or gifts they funded. If you’re raising money for a trip, consider showing grandma or your best friend photos of you on your adventure.


Why Global Communities Rushed To Support This Self Sacrificing Hero

His Campaign is still active and you can donate here.

Remember when you were little and got your first pet as a present? Or maybe as an adult, you moved into a new apartment on your own, and decided to get a furry companion? It could also be true that you were never allowed to have any pets, but always had a genuine compassion for animals, and so you volunteered at a local animal shelter from time to time. Whatever the case may be, at some point in your life, you or someone you know, have sacrificed space, time and money to aid an animal and assure that it lives a comfortable and safe life.

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However, considering that heavy responsibility that comes with caring for animals, would you still be able to make that same sacrifice, if it was at the risk of your life? In unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, we often find ourselves in situations that challenge our views of life. If we’re lucky, though, the experience reveals a calling within us that gives life new meaning and exposes a raw, honest love for all creatures in need.

Meet Naoto Matsumura, the Guardian of Fukushima, who, with big-heartedness, has dedicated his life to save and care for the lives of hundreds of animals, while endangering his own in the process. In 2011, when the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, it caused the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to leak radiation. This caused thousands of citizens to evacuate Japan’s Fukushima prefecture area, including Matsumura.

Feeding Cows

Initially, fleeing south due to radiation contamination concerns, Matsumura eventually decided to return to his family’s farm in the small town of Tomioka, merely because he could not abandon the animals on his farm.

Upon return, left in the town were only abandoned streets and houses filled with the pets and livestock who were left behind. Matsumura began feeding the starving animals and eventually decided he should stay and care for the animals that survived, even though it was a direct disregard of government orders because the area was extremely contaminated, deemed unsafe, and unlivable.

Naoto Matsumura made a choice that not too many people can say they have, or ever would. By choosing to stay in Tomioka, Matsumura was being exposed to up to 17 times the level of radiation that is considered safe. The animals of Fukushima that he cares and tends to include: dogs, cats, cows, ducks, ostrich, pigs, and even a pony.

He has chosen to sacrifice his health in order to make sure that the animals that were left behind, after an unthinkable natural disaster, are not forced just to die of starvation. After an outpour of fundraising donations and national coverage from news outlets, Matsumura, as modest and kind as he appears to be, simply stated, “Thanks very much for your help. Every dollar goes to my cow’s food. They thank you as well.”

It’s important to recognize Matsumura’s selflessness and show the power of relationships that can form between a person and animals. So the next time you’re not sure whether or not you should get a pet, or on the edge of whether to volunteer your time at an animal shelter, remember that whatever sacrifice you make to put an animal’s needs ahead of your own is undoubtedly the purest form of self-reward and love.

Three Ways a Babyfund Is Awesome for New Parents

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Expecting a baby is one of the most exciting, and overwhelming feelings in the world! I remember when Josh and I were expecting our first child, we were overloaded with the decisions we found ourselves facing. Which crib would be safe? Which stroller would meet all our needs? Will friends and family come visit? How will we save for college?

I’m happy to say a lot of these questions can be answered with a babyfund! Here are the top three ways your life as new parents will be a lot easier with a babyfund:

You’ll be able to afford the best stuff

A babyfund allows baby shower guests to pool funds for parents-to-be who need a few big-ticket items such as a higher-end crib or stroller. Simply create a custom wish list to showcase some of the essential items that you need. This is the stuff that will keep baby safe and work great for a second or even third child!

Friends and family, near and far, can give

A babyfund does something a baby shower can’t do: It allows friends and family from afar to be part of your special time! Typically, if friends and family don’t live in the area, they’re not likely not attend a baby shower. And, by crowdgifting the affair, you help those that will travel ditch packing and hauling gifts. You can keep your supporters informed with fun updates on your page such as sonogram pictures. This plumfund is a great example.


Flexibility after Baby Arrives

The minute the baby comes, you’ll know a lot about what you didn’t know. Your Plumfund will not only help cover cost of essential and big-ticket items, but also those that you haven’t even thought of yet. The funds left in the baby shower will allow you to pickup a few extras you weren’t anticipating.

Seven Ideas for #GivingTuesday 2015 – What It Is and How You Can Get Involved

Giving Tuesday is a new tradition! After black Friday and cyber Monday, there’s Giving Tuesday! This December 1st, simply find a way to give back to a cause, to your community, or to someone you love. It’s that simple and makes all the difference! If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some ideas to get you started:

Tell Your Plumfund Story

All month long we’ll be sharing inspirational Plumfund stories on the Huffington Post “Giving Tuesday” feed. If you’d like your Plumfund story to be featured on the Huffington Post, contact us here.

Open a Plumfund for Your Favorite Charity

This holiday season, you can make a difference for your favorite cause by opening a holiday charity Plumfund. Just pick a cause you care about and start your campaign here. Be sure to tell your story about why the cause is near and dear to you and what you plan to do with the money raised. Then invite friends and family to give to your campaign as your holiday gift!

Join Giving Tuesday

It’s easy and free! Log on to Givingtuesday.org and become a partner and learn more about how your organization can get involved in #GivingTuesday. Join the community to receive regular e-news and to learn more about the movement and ways you can give back as an individual.

Share #MyGivingStory

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and #GivingTuesday have launched #MyGivingStory. It’s a chance for you to share your giving story — to whom you give and why — and be entered to win $5000 for your favorite nonprofit! Submit your story now through November 24 here.

Get Others Involved

Rally some friends or coworkers and organize a charity drive to support a local food bank, toys for children program or homeless shelter. Invite people to bring items to a central location in town like a grocery store, bookstore or religious center, and deliver the items to your charity of choice!

Support Your Favorite Charity

Write a check to your favorite charity and let friends and family know you gave on their behalf.

Make Giving a Year Long Initiative

The inspiration of #GivingTuesday can be implemented any day of the year! Create calendar reminders to give, in some way, at least four times a year.