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Nonprofit Strategies

7 of the best crowdfunding sites for just about every cause, business, and purpose

There are dozens of best crowdfunding sites available and each platform comes with its own perks and drawbacks, depending on the features, user interface, and fees.

Rachel Mills
December 22, 2021

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We can accomplish more together than we ever could alone.

Whether you're raising funds for your child's elementary classroom, opening your first online store, or launching a grassroots nonprofit, a crowdfunding site can rally people together, pitching in toward a common goal.

And no matter what that goal may be, you're going to need the best crowdfunding site on the internet to hit it. Below, we share the pros and cons of the most popular and best crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits, getting you one step closer to your target.

1. Best crowdfunding site for just about anything: Givebutter

Schitt's Creek Raising Money GIF

Givebutter is the only free all-in-one online fundraising platform where just about anyone—school groups, nonprofit organizations, individuals, sports teams, and small business owners—can raise funds for a project, emergency, initiative, or personal cause. Givebutter's functionality comes with 130+ features, a built-in CRM system, marketing automation, and a donor-friendly platform.

Building a fundraising page on Givebutter is incredibly easy, and offers must-have features like peer-to-peer fundraising, ticketed events, virtual live streaming, gorgeous donation forms, and one-click social sharing. Givebutter also offers supporters the flexibility to donate the way they choose (and that's actually convenient). New donors can send funds through traditional methods, like bank accounts or credit card transactions, or through increasingly popular methods like Venmo, PayPal, digital wallets, or text-to-donate.

Plus, the marketing automation platform, Engage, includes segmentation, email automation, a Canva integration, Text-to-Donate, and other features to help amplify your message. Meanwhile, Givebutter's CRM and donor management system, Track, makes it easy to keep tabs on loyal supporters, potential donors, and volunteers alike, while tracking conversions in real-time.

One of the biggest incentives of Givebutter is its pricing structure—in fact, every single feature of Givebutter is free to use. With Givebutter there’s no contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs—allowing you to keep the vast majority of funds raised. 

Unlike other crowdfunding websites, Givebutter is supported by optional tips. If you choose not to allow donors to tip Givebutter, a small platform fee will be applied. 

All transactions charge a small processing fee of 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, for all payment methods except ACH (which lowers the fee to 1.9% + 30 cents). But here’s the best part: More than 95% of donors on Givebutter cover fees when asked, resulting in an average campaign fee of less than 1%. 

In the rare event that a donor decides not to cover their fee, it’s deducted from the full donation amount. Your organization then receives the remainder without actually paying anything out of pocket.

2. For creatives and artists: Patreon

The Good Place Podcast GIF

Patreon is a type of crowdfunding site built exclusively for creatives. Patreon follows a subscription model where fans pay a set dollar amount (anywhere from $5–$50+ per month) to support their favorite creative entrepreneur.

Patreon is a crowd favorite amongst YouTubers, podcast hosts, social media influencers, bloggers, independent journalists, and other artists. Both parties—fan and creative—like the platform because it allows the creative the financial freedom to produce more authentic content.

Rather than rely on paid-for posts or disingenuous ads, the creative can produce content true to their brand (i.e., why the fans hit that "follow" button in the first place). Best yet, they can ditch the starving artist persona while doing so. As a token of gratitude, the artist typically creates exclusive content, available only to their patrons.

Patreon takes a cut in the form of three fees: platform, payment processing, and payout. Your platform fee depends on which creator plan you're on, ranging from 5–12%. Payment processing fees range from 2.9–5%, depending on the size of the fan's contribution. Payout fees vary, but typically cost 1% of the donation or $1 per payout.

Patreon vs. Givebutter

Since Patreon has such a narrow niche (creatives and artists), it leaves out a number of organizations and individuals who desperately need funds. In addition, the subscription model doesn’t allow for one-off campaigns, such as a personal emergency.

Patreon also collects 5% more in fees than Givebutter. With Givebutter, 95% of donors offer to pay the platform fee themselves, allowing the entire donation to go directly to the campaign.

3. For personal emergencies: GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a popular crowdfunding site and personal fundraising platform where people raise money for individual causes. Families, individuals, and nonprofits can utilize GoFundMe in raising money for unexpected medical expenses, memorials, or the aftermath of natural disasters.

GoFundMe benefits those truly in dire situations because it allows immediate withdrawal of raised funds. In addition, unlike some competing sites, you don't need to hit a minimum (or your funding goal) to keep the funds. What you raise, you keep.

GoFundMe advertises themselves as a "free fundraising" platform, which is true—er, sorta. The fundraising platform takes a 0% platform fee from donors, but this doesn't mean you'll keep every cent you raise.

GoFundMe collects a 2.9% fee from your donations, plus 30 cents per donation. This cut covers processing and transaction fees—which are completely hidden from (and cannot be covered by) donors. Meanwhile, GoFundMe asks donors for tips upwards of 15% to support their platform, and makes it incredibly difficult to opt-out.

GoFundMe vs. Givebutter

The GoFundMe platform is tailored to individuals only—with no space for teams, organizations, or causes. Givebutter, on the other hand, can support any group or purpose that needs funds.

In addition, GoFundMe is lacking quite a bit on the user experience front, and online donation pages are very limited in fundraising tools. Givebutter, on the other hand, offers campaign organizers the ability to add GIFs, drawings, images, and personalized pages. See a full side-by-side comparison.

4. For business loans or venture capital: LendingClub

If you're looking to expand your business, cold-emailing venture capitalists or researching angel investors isn't your only option.

With LendingClub, businesses can borrow between $5K–$500K, while individuals can apply for loans up to $40,000. You can apply for 1–5 year terms, at interest rates as low as 7.04%. However, it's important to note that some loans from LendingClub carry an interest rate as high as 35.89% (higher than most credit cards).

If you're interested in applying for a business loan through LendingClub, you don't need a business plan or investment backers in place. You do, however, need to be at least one year in business, have $50,000 in annual sales, no bankruptcies, and be in sound financial health.

While LendingClub is best known for helping small businesses raise funds, you can apply for a personal loan. However, keep in mind you do have to pay the money back—and with interest, you'll pay more than the original amount you applied for.

LendingClub vs. Givebutter

LendingClub does not raise money for a cause—it is simply a platform to get personal or business loans. Unfortunately, interest rates can amount to more than what individuals or businesses were originally awarded. In fact, some people may be paying as much in interest as credit card debt.

With Givebutter, you will never have to pay back any money that you raised. We collect a simple 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction fee to keep our lights on, and that’s it.

5. For technology innovations: Indiegogo

Imagination GIF

Indiegogo is a fundraising site where inventors and business owners can raise money for technologically advanced creative projects.

Small business owners and startups can raise funds for their innovative ideas at every stage of development. Individuals can donate to (and pre-order products from) innovative entrepreneurs creating the latest gadgets in audio, energy, wearables, productivity, and seemingly every other industry imaginable.

Indiegogo has a $500 minimum for any fundraiser. You can select two funding options: fixed or flexible. With the fixed option, you must return all funds if you don't hit your fundraising goal (in other words, only successful campaigns keep the funds they raise). With a flexible funding option, you keep what you raise.

Indiegogo charges a 5% platform fee from all funds raised from your campaign (that is, unless you ran your fundraising campaign first on another top crowdfunding site—then Indiegogo collects 8%). A 2.9% + 30 cent transaction fee is also applied, and a transfer fee (which depends on your location and currency).

Indiegogo vs. Givebutter

Indiegogo only helps technology innovators raise funds, not charities, teams, or schools. Givebutter, on the other hand, is a platform built for everyone.

In addition, Indiegogo will collect 8-10% of donations in fees, compared to the 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction charged by Givebutter. Indiegogo also requires a minimum campaign amount, which Givebutter does not.

6. For non-negotiable goals: Kickstarter

Kickstarter is one of the most recognizable names in the crowdfunding space, funding over 213,000 successful crowdfunding campaigns. It is created exclusively for creative projects—not for personal emergencies, local schools, recreational clubs, or scientific research. It also has a mobile app, allowing individuals to donate on the go.

Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing model. If a project doesn't hit their fundraising goal, every cent is returned to donors (no ifs, ands, or buts).

Kickstarter typically charges an 8% platform fee to use their site, plus an additional 20 cents per donation credit card processing fee (“micro” donations under $10 are charged a 5% platform fee). Overall, you can expect Kickstarter to take between 8–10% of the funds raised. In fact, Kickstarter has some of the highest rates in the industry yet the lowest success rating, with only 56% of campaigns keeping the money they earn.

Kickstarter vs. Givebutter

Kickstarter does not have transparent fees on its website or at the checkout process. In actuality, they could end up keeping 8-10% of the funds raised, which could be a surprise for donors. Plus, Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing platform only has a 56% success rate—so only about half of campaigns walk away with funds.

Givebutter waives all platform fees with an easy-to-understand pricing structure listed clearly on our website. Since Givebutter doesn’t have minimums or an all-or-nothing protocol, every campaign walks away with what they earn.

7. For equity crowdfunding: SeedInvest

Jumping businessmen GIF

Equity crowdfunding platforms allow accredited investors to invest in early-stage companies for a portion of profits or percentage of the business.

SeedInvest was one of the first equity crowdfunding sites in the space, raising over $200 million online. In fact, they represent over half—52%, to be exact—of the total equity crowdfunding in the United States.

Business owners cannot collect any funds until they hit a certain target or goal. At that point, money from investors is put into escrow for closing.

If everything goes according to plan, you will be forced to reimburse SeedInvest $10,000 at closing to cover legal, due diligence, and filing fees. In addition, they collect a 7.5% placement fee and a 5% equity fee. If you make it to market launch, SeedInvest will reimburse you up to $3,000 of accounting fees.

SeedInvest vs. Givebutter

Like LendingClub, SeedInvest is not raising funds with no strings attached. Campaigners have to give up part of their company in order to gain funding. And after that, they could get hammered with fees—including $10,000 just at closing!

With Givebutter, you will raise funds without ever having to give anything in return. You are not forced to give up your company to fuel your passion project, or pay people back when funds are tight. Plus, it’s entirely free to set up a campaign on Givebutter. 

The best crowdfunding site offers transparency and minimum fees

There are dozens of crowdfunding sites available, from reward crowdfunding to debt crowdfunding to equity crowdfunding. Each platform comes with its own perks and drawbacks, depending on the features, user interface, and fees.

For the best crowdfunding site for just about any fundraiser, raise funds through Givebutter. Givebutter is the free all-in-one platform allowing you to build crowdfunding pages, keep tabs on donor data, and amplify your message across email automation and social media platforms. With Givebutter, you can launch peer-to-peer campaigns, send invites to your social network, sell ticketed events, and create beautifully branded pages. Here’s how Givebutter stacks up against other top crowdfunding platforms.

Lastly, Givebutter does what it's intended to do—raise funds for a cause. Rather than taking hefty fees from fundraisers, the average fee across all campaigns on Givebutter is just 0.5%.

Ready to see how Givebutter can boost your crowdfunding efforts? Start organizing your fundraiser today.

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Set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser for free in just a few minutes →

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