Need funds for your business? You have options – that don’t involve a bank. Fundraising can be done by both forprofits and nonprofits with success! One major factor – what fundraising platform you choose for your endeavors. In this short article, we’re going to list the top, well known, and not-so-well-known fundraising platforms you can use today. 

Kickstarter

As the most well-known crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter is by far the easiest choice for many people looking to fund their startup, nonprofit, personal endeavor, or pet project. It’s easy to use for both fundraisers and donations, and marketing on the platform is simple. However, to get any money, you have to succeed in reaching your fundraising goal. In addition, you’ll have to wait two weeks to get funds, and 5% will be taken (on top of processing fees) to fund Kickstarter.

Pros: 

  • Well-known
  • Easy to Use

Cons: 

  • Must hit your fundraising goal to get any funds
  • 5% fee on top of processing payment charges
  • 14-day waiting period for funds

Indiegogo

As the second-most popular platform, Indiegogo is another great option for anyone looking to raise funds for their business or idea. Unlike Kickstarter, Indiegogo doesn’t have a fundraising goal “requirement” as they allow for flexible funding. In addition, you’ll get to keep the money you raise even if you don’t hit your goal. However, the same 5% + credit card fees drawback is present on this platform as well. 

Pros: 

  • Well-known
  • Keep raising funds after your campaign ends
  • Flexible funding: get your money even if you don’t hit a goal

Cons: 

  • Not as popular as Kickstarter
  • If using flexible funding, you must always ship your perks and rewards
  • 5% fee per transaction on top of processing payment charges

Causes

As one of the best options for nonprofits, Causes is more than a fundraising platform. This social media platform is free of charge for nonprofits and connects them to people that want to make a difference – rather than simply get money. On the other hand, it’s not well known outside of the nonprofit sector, and it can be hard to get new people to join onto.

Pros: 

  • Perfect for nonprofit organizations
  • Free of charge for users
  • Social networking platform for people who want to make a difference
  • Individuals can raise money for causes they care about

Cons: 

  • Not well known outside of the cause and nonprofit sector

Patreon

As the best platform for established artists, writers, or other content creators – Patreon is a long-term way to crowdfund for your next project or idea. People have the option of giving “by the project” or monthly based on tiers you set up. You can also release blogs and works created to specific tiers of members based on their donation amounts. On the other hand, it’s not ideal for businesses, people just starting, or short-term fundraising.

Pros: 

  • Well-known in the arts sector
  • Perfect for artists and content creators
  • Easy to use
  • Form relationships with fans and donators
  • Best for long-term fundraising

Cons: 

  • Not ideal for businesses or brands just starting out
  • 2.9% fee + 35 cents from each “pledge”
  • Very little internal marketing compared to Kickstarter or Indiegogo

Go Fund Me

You might know Go Fund Me as they are one of the most popular ways for individuals to raise money for a personal problem or a national emergency. What’s more – they have zero fees for personal fundraising (when in the USA) and are perfect for service-based fundraising. Though conventional startups won’t often reach their funding goal, and only one in ten of all campaigns on the platform actually get fully funded.

Pros: 

  • Well-known
  • Keep everything that you raise
  • Zero personal campaign funding fees (for the US)
  • Perfect for service-based causes

Cons: 

  • Conventional startups won’t get as much
  • One in ten campaigns get fully funded

Circle Up

Created as a way for businesses in the consumer and retail industries to get investors rather than donators, this platform is unique in how it works. To start, you must apply to join their platform, and they only accept 2-3% of all people who apply. In addition, as a registered broker-dealer, they have commission fees and are much smaller as the pool of investors tends to be smaller than people willing to simply give money. Finally, to get accepted, you generally need to be in business for some time with strong company financials. 

Pros: 

  • Participants on CircleUp are all in and around the same industry – consumer and retail. 
  • They are a registered broker-dealer
  • Partnerships like General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson
  • Investing over straight donations

Cons: 

  • Selective in who can raise money on their platform
  • Private investing is complicated to the regular “donator”
  • Narrow focus – consumer and retail
  • Typically require a company to have strong historical financials
  • Commissions are charged on the funds raised
  • Not well known

Lending Club

Much like the last option, Lending Club isn’t for people who just want others to donate or “early buy” their new product or service. However, instead of investors, this platform specializes in small lending. Businesses can gain funds from many small individual lenders. In short, you might want $10,000 but think traditional fundraising won’t work. Instead, Lending Club will get 201 individuals who are willing to give about $50 each as a loan. While unsecured, you’ll end up paying this back with an affordable fixed interest rate. 

Pros: 

  • Affordable fixed interest rates. 
  • Free interest rate quotes.
  • Borrow and invest at the same time

Cons: 

  • 1% service fee for each payment 
  • The loans are unsecured

Facebook

Many people don’t think about Facebook as being an option for fundraising. However, you can use your Facebook page to create a fundraiser with ease. It’s free for 501c3 organizations, and given Facebook’s size – it can often reach more people than traditional platforms. On the other side, forprofits will have to pay a 5% fee, and in the end, both nonprofits and forprofits will lack information on donors for future use.  

Pros: 

  • Largest social media network
  • No fees for nonprofit organizations
  • Running paid advertising for your campaign is simple

Cons: 

  • Must have 501c3 status for waived fees
  • Payouts usually take two weeks, but it can take over a month
  • Lack of donor information after the campaign
  • 5% fees if you are not a nonprofit

Amazon Smile

Lastly, one that any nonprofit organization should use no matter what other option they look into is Amazon Smile. Though the use of Amazon, in general, is fraught with debate, Amazon Smile is free to use and gets you 0.5% of every purchase that buyers make. That said, the buyer has to use Smile.Amazon and must choose your charity for you to receive funds. 

Pros: 

  • Buyers donate 0.5% of any purchase with no cost to them
  • Free of cost
  • Hundreds of thousands of qualifying products

Cons: 

  • Very little advertising of the program
  • Must be a nonprofit organization that’s 501c3 registered
  • Not many use the platform to shop on Amazon