To raise money for your cause, you need the right tools. Choosing the right fundraising platform helps you get the word out, motivate your supporters, and collect a variety of payment methods — thereby making it easy for supporters to give.
But here's what many campaign organizers don't know: Fundraising sites take a cut from the funds you raise. 😬 After platform and processing fees, many "free fundraising sites" aren't really free. To ensure your campaign's success and keep more of the funds you’ve raised, we’ve put together this side-by-side comparison of the best free fundraising sites.
5 free fundraising sites to reach your campaign goal
To run a successful campaign, you need a platform that offers enough features to excite your audience, while charging the lowest fees in the industry. Here are several free fundraising sites to consider.
1. Givebutter 🧈
Fee structure: 0% platform fee, 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee (with these fees covered by 95% of supporters)
Givebutter's transparent pricing offers some of the lowest platform fees in the industry.
Givebutter is free to sign-up for and offers zero platform fees.
The only fee is a 2.9% plus 30 cent per donation credit card processing fee, which 95% of supporters choose to cover (on average) as they check out. The average Givebutter campaign spends just 0.52% on fees.
Plus, Givebutter offers 70+ features that come free with every campaign. Givebutter offers the flexibility for supporters to give however they see fit — accepting ACH, PayPal, Venmo, Text-to-Donate, and even mailing a check, helping you hit your campaign goal. Finally, Givebutter works for any organization — including schools, sports teams, clubs, individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations — so you don't have to shop around to find the fundraising site that fits your cause.
2. GoFundMe 🤑
Fee structure: 0% platform fee, 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee
GoFundMe is a fundraising website made specifically for individuals raising funds for personal causes. GoFundMe has a fee structure almost identical to Givebutter — except for one little caveat. GoFundMe (like Givebutter) charges zero platform fees, then a 2.9% plus 30 cent per donation transaction fee. However, GoFundMe doesn't give donors the option to cover the cost of these fees, so the grand total gets deducted from your campaign.
Plus, GoFundMe only accepts payments through major credit cards, making it difficult for supporters to give. Since GoFundMe doesn't accept Venmo, cash, checks, text-to-donate, or Apple Pay, donating while on the go (i.e. while attending ticketed fundraising events) can be a hassle for volunteers and supporters alike.
GoFundMe Vs. Givebutter
While GoFundMe and Givebutter offer the same fee structure, Givebutter gives supporters the option to offset this cost. In addition, Givebutter fundraising software offers every payment type, making it easier to hit your goal. Finally, GoFundMe is tailored to personal fundraising only, making it impossible to raise funds for nonprofits, companies, sport teams, clubs, or other organizations.
3. Fundly 💥
Fee structure: 4.9% platform fee, 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee
Fundly is a fundraising site built for nonprofit organizations, clubs, politics, schools, teams, and other causes. Fundly's platform fee nears 5%, taking a significant chunk out of the funds raised per campaign. On top of their platform fee, Fundly uses Stripe as their payment processor, which charges the standard 2.9% + 30 cent per donation transaction fee. In total, you can expect to pay 7.8% + $0.30 per transaction — taking nearly one-tenth out of your hard-earned campaign.
Since Fundly uses Stripe, the fundraising website only accepts major credit cards for payment. In addition, once you decide to withdraw your funds, it could take days, weeks, or months to get your payout (depending on your location, bank account, and campaign status). If you're raising money for an immediate need — like a friend's surgery — you may not get your payment in time.
Fundly vs. Givebutter
Fundly charges a significant platform fee, which Givebutter does not. In fact, while the average fee for Givebutter is just 0.5%, Fundly's average fee creeps up to nearly 8%. In addition, Fundly only accepts online donations through major credit cards, while the Givebutter fundraising pages collect nearly every payment type. Finally, with Fundly you may be waiting awhile to collect your funds, while Givebutter offers instant payouts.
4. Indiegogo 🧠
Fee structure: 5% platform fee, 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee + transfer fee (varies)
Indiegogo is a crowdfunding site that helps raise funds for special projects, such as new products, book launches, or inventions. Indiegogo charges a 5% platform fee plus a $2.9% plus 30 cent charge for payment processing. If you started your fundraising initiative on another platform before switching to Indiegogo, your platform fee bumps to 8%. In addition, many fundraisers outside the U.S. face a transfer fee (for example, in Canada the fee is $25).
Indiegogo offers several payment options, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, and credit cards (processed through Stripe). Unfortunately, you'll need to wait 15 days to get your funds. When you do get your payout, you only reserve 95% of what you earned (and yes, that's after fees are deducted). Indiegogo automatically holds 5% of funds from any fundraiser that raises over $1,000. This goes into a "reserved funds" account to be used for potential refunds to supporters. Even if zero refunds occur, these funds are held for a minimum of six months.
Indiegogo vs. Givebutter
Indiegogo charges a hefty platform fee plus a transfer fee, which Givebutter does not. In addition, Indiegogo holds onto 5% of your funds raised for six months, which can cause problems if you need the funds instantly. Lastly, the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform is intended only for special projects, not organizations such as schools, teams, clubs, or nonprofits.
5. Kickstarter ⚽
Fee structure: 5% platform fee, 3% + $0.20 transaction fee
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website used for personal projects, such as film and art projects or new business launches. Kickstarter charges a 5% platform fee on top of a 3% plus 20 cent payment processing fee per pledge. For pledges under $10, Kickstarter charges a "micro pledge fee," or 5% + 5 cents per pledge. On average, you can expect to pay between 8-10% + $0.30 for your fundraising campaign.
Here's the most important thing to know about online fundraising with Kickstarter: You only collect the money if you hit your fundraising goal. In fact, Kickstarter campaigns only have a 56% success rate — all other campaigns walk away with nothing. If you don’t hit your goal, funds from your crowdfunding campaign are returned to your supporters. In addition, Kickstarter is very stingy about which payment types they accept. Kickstarter only accepts Visa, Discover, JCB, Mastercard, UnionPay, or American Express credit cards — that's it.
Kickstarter vs. Givebutter
Kickstarter's all-or-nothing platform means that many campaigns walk away with $0 raised.
If you do hit your goal, Kickstarter collects a 5% platform fee — something you wouldn't pay with a donation page on Givebutter.
In addition, Kickstarter's fundraising tools are only available to individual campaigns, not to organizations.
To hit your campaign goal, always raise funds with Givebutter
Givebutter offers the lowest fees in the industry, making it easy to raise money online. Plus, Givebutter offers supporters the option to cover your transaction fees (which most choose to do), resulting in an average campaign fee of just 0.52%.
Givebutter offers robust functionality and features, allowing you to collect a number of different payment methods.
With Givebutter, your supporters can give however they choose. Plus, you get your funds instantly — a major perk when you're racing against the clock.
Ready to start fundraising on Givebutter? Sign up for free to launch your campaign.
Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.