7 of the best crowdfunding sites for just about every cause, business, and purpose
We can accomplish more together than we ever could alone.
Whether you're raising funds for your child's elementary classroom, launching a grassroots nonprofit, or opening your first online store, 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 best and most popular crowdfunding platforms, getting you one step closer to your target.
1. Best crowdfunding site for just about anything: Givebutter
Givebutter is an online platform where just about everyone — school groups, nonprofits, individuals, sports teams, and small business owners — can raise funds for a project, emergency, initiative, or cause.
Givebutter offers donors the flexibility to donate the way they choose (and that's actually convenient). Donors can send funds through traditional methods, like bank accounts or credit card transactions, or through Venmo or Text-to-Donate.
Best of all, Givebutter takes minimum fees — allowing you to keep the vast majority of funds raised. Unlike other crowdfunding sites, Givebutter doesn't require a platform fee. The simple fee structure is completely transparent to donors, charging 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, making things clear to both fundraisers and donors.
2. For creatives and artists: Patreon
Patreon is 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 (pun intended) 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 "patreons."
Patreon takes a cut in the form of three fees: platform, payment, and processing. 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. Processing 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 among individuals seeking to raise personal contributions. 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.
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 donation pages are very limited in features. 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: LendingClub
If you're looking to expand your business, cold-emailing venture capitalists or researching angel investors isn't your only option.
With LendingClub, individuals can borrow between $5K-$500K. You can apply for 1-5 year terms, at interest rates as low as 4.99%. However, it's important to note that some loans from LendingClub carry an interest rate as high as 26.09% (higher than most credit cards), with the average rate in 2020 being 13.24%.
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. This can be extremely dangerous, as interest rates force the individual or business to pay back more than what they were 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
Indiegogo creates a space for inventors and business owners to raise money for technologically advanced creative projects.
Small business owners 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. 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 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 helping charities, teams, or schools. Givebutter, on the other hand, is a platform built for anyone.
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 186,000 successful crowdfunding campaigns in 2020. 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 charges a 5% platform fee to use their site, plus an additional 3% plus 20 cents per donation processing fee. Transaction fees vary depending upon payment (i.e., credit cards, bank withdrawal, or PayPal). Overall, you can expect Kickstarter to take between 8-10% of the funds raised.
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.
In 2020, Givebutter announced we were waiving 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
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 (except a little gratitude). You are not forced to give up your company to fuel your passion project, or pay people back when funds are tight. Plus, we will never, ever make you hand over $10,000 to set up a campaign page (it’s free).
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 welcome to all, from startups to teams and schools to grassroots organizations. Plus, it lets donors donate the way they want, using modern platforms like Text-to-Donate and Venmo. Here’s how Givebutter stacks up against competing crowdfunding sites.
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 start fundraising? Start organizing your fundraiser today.