Looking to fund a new project through Kickstarter?
Crowdfunding is a great way to get an idea off the ground, but what you may not know is that there are other, similar sites that you can use to raise the capital you need–even funding on your own self-hosted site.
Some work more or less exactly the same as Kickstarter. Others may provide more flexible funding models depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Below are 13 of the Best Crowdfunding Sites and Kickstarter Alternatives of 2018 that you should know about.
Keep reading and find out:
“How do you crowdfund without Kickstarter?”
Indiegogo is essentially Kickstarter’s direct competitor, and as such, its feature-set and scope is more or less exactly the same.
The primary difference is how goal deadlines work:
If you fail to meet your goal with Kickstarter, you don’t get to keep any of the money. With Indiegogo, you get to hold onto the money even–when you choose the flexible funding option–if you don’t hit your specified goal amount.
However, there’s still a transaction fee of 5% when your project is successful and, when you use the flexible option, there is also a 5% fee on all funds raised (see the table on this post for details).
Fundly is the best site for fundraising when it comes to charities, non-profits, schools, teams and more–while still being a good choice for individuals too.
Check out the video below for more details:
Patreon is a little different from the other crowdfunding sites, as it is primarily for content creators who have new things to share – like YouTube videos, podcast episodes, or blog posts – on an ongoing basis.
Patreon funds project creators in smaller amounts of money that are charged when the content creator delivers new media.
It’s not for everyone, but it can be especially attractive to those who create new media or other forms of digital content on a regular basis.
Because of Patreon’s subscription nature, success on the site and the strategies to fundraise require different tactics than the launch-style strategies used on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Smallknot is a relatively new crowdfunding platform specifically tailored to local independent businesses. It works more or less exactly as Kickstarter does, as it uses the same all-or-nothing funding model.
However, Smallknot only approves established businesses that are out of the idea stage, and do not require more than a small monetary boost to get going, in certain way Smallnot’s funding opportunity is very similar to angel rounds in the startup world.
RocketHub is primarily for art, business, science, and social projects, though there are many subcategories that live under each of the broader headings.
In essence, RocketHub is but a combination of Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
As with Indiegogo, you get to keep any funds you raise, but whether you succeed or fail, you have to remember to keep your promises to your backers who are going to be waiting for you to fulfill the perks at the various levels.
GoFundMe brands itself as a personal fundraising website. However, this does not mean that they don’t accept business-related projects. In fact, they allow their user base to gather funding for a variety of different purposes.
As with Indiegogo, you get to keep the funds raised, even if you don’t meet your goal.
Many project creators on GoFundMe do not offer backers any perks, and this could potentially be an upside, but it could also be a sticking point if you’re trying to incentivize more people to back your project. It’s still up to you whether or not you offer any perks.
Fundable is specifically for business crowdfunding, though their monetization model is different in that instead of charging a percentage-based fee contingent on the success or failure of a project, they charge a flat monthly fee for using their platform.
Companies, investors, and backers can register on the site, providing businesses with more opportunities to find the right kind of funding.
FundAnything is a platform that definitely lives up to its name, as there are plenty of project categories to choose from, including business and technology.
Interestingly enough, FundAnything was launched by Donald Trump. The site models itself more or less exactly after Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but the one missing element Mr. Trump identified was – wait for it – himself.
9. Facebook’s Fundraiser
Heralded by FB as “a new place to fundraise”, Facebook’s new crowdfunding platform for non-profits Fundraiser intends to be a place where:
“Nonprofits can tell their campaign story, rally supporters, collect donations and visibly track progress toward a goal for year-end drives, themed campaigns and special projects such as building a clean water well or funding a clothing drive.”
At the moment, the platform is only for nonprofits, yet, as TechCrunch notes:
“…if you just take the ‘non-‘ out of ‘nonprofit,’ what Facebook built becomes a highly viral Kickstarter competitor.”
Nonprofit or not, depending on what you are raising money for, it’s worth keeping your eyes on the how the Fundraiser platform evolves because the huge successes seen in many crowdfunding campaigns have been largely driven by a viral social media element
When the platform for raising funds is the social media ecosystem itself, it may be a game changer: Stay Tuned.
The self-described next generation crowdfunding engine. Thrinacia allows you to set up your own crowdfunding website within minutes.
This crowdfunding solution comes loaded with most of the features you would find on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, like statistics on:
- funds raised
There is a monthly fee of $39.99 to use this crowdfunding engine; but, it allows you to avoid the fees encountered on 3rd party sites, normally 5-10% of final funds raised.
With that said, to really make this method work, you’ll do best on reaching your funding goals by already having an audience along with a solid marketing and PR plan for your launch.
Are you working on a health or medical related project?
There is a platform just for you, Medstartr.
Patients, Doctors, and Companies Funding Healthcare Innovation: Find & Fund the Future of Medicine
This site is the ‘go to’ platform super-niche for any product, service or other innovation touching the health, wellness and medical field.
Ulule’s focus is to “Make Good Things Happen”. They pride themselves on having the highest success rate for project creators.
To see the latest, up-to-the-minute stats on how much this platform has raised and the success rates of its various categories, click here.
Launched in 2010, Ulule has benefited from the growing trend in crowdfunding.
For a quick intro about Ulule and to find out if this is the fundraising platform for you, check out the video below or you can visit the site here.
The site was also featured on Shark Tank and got an investment from Kevin O’Leary. Since its launch, Plumfund campaigns have raised more than $350,000,000 USD.
To get started, you can create your fund page here: http://www.plumfund.com
Plumfund’s differentiator to most of the platforms are it’s zero platform fees, where most the other platforms have fees starting at 5% or more.
BONUS ONE: Self-Hosted Crowdfunding Campaign
Believe it or not, you can self-host your crowdfunding:
A great example of a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign on a personal website is this comprehensive guide about Topo’s Kickstarter-free money raise, detailed in the case study here, DIY Crowdfunding: $100k in a Month Without Kickstarter.
There are also some platforms that enable you to “roll your own crowdfunding” as Selfstarter.us states it–Selfstarter is an open source framework that will allow you to build your own crowdfunding platform. How much more punk rock can you get?
In a similar vein as Selfstarter, there is also OpenTilt that lets you build your own preorder platform without the need to write any of your own code. Some notable projects that have been funded with this tool include, Lytro and Soylent.
Bonus TWO: 3 Mistakes People Make When Listing A Campaign On Crowdfunding Websites
Now that you know that crowdfunding is one of the best ways to generate funds for expansion or to test new business ideas.
The concept of promoting a business and offering rewards for those who are willing to provide you with a little financial investment can be a lot easier to accomplish than to pitch your business to banks or investment angels.
Yet during the process of listing campaigns on crowdfunding platforms there are several errors that can damage your chance of a successful campaign.
So what are the three biggest mistakes made when businesses are listing their campaigns on crowdfunding sites?
A. Listing On Too Many Crowdfunding Sites
It would be easy to think that by listing your crowdfunding on multiple sites that you will gain access to a larger audience and therefore achieve better returns.
However, this is often not the case and there are several reasons for this:
Firstly, commentators argue that listing your crowdfunding campaign on more than one site can make your listing seem like a scam.
When perceived as a scam, the number of contributors to your funding project will be reduced and the amount they are willing to invest will also be lower.
Secondly, you can’t assume that more sites will equal more audience; many of those who visit one crowdfunding website will also visit the others.
You will end up spreading your campaign marketing too thin and therefore not gain enough traction to your campaign to get enough funders. Therefore, the gain in audience can be relatively little.
A classic example of this was Iron Sky, who ultimately failed on their first campaign.
Finally, think about the “% of completion” factor.
When you reach 70 to 80% of your goal, it is easier to push for the remaining funds to be donated to your campaign.
However, if you have goals on two sites and they are only at 30 or 40% each of your total goal – contributors will be less willing to invest in you because they perceive others have found you unwilling of investment.
B. Not Asking For A Donation
There is often so much effort placed on the creation of the campaign material that basic concepts are often forgotten about.
One of the most critical elements, often left out is asking for a donation.
You may be listed on a crowdfunding site, but it is still polite and best practice to ask for a donation.
One of the best tips is that you shouldn’t just state why a donation is required but also why your project is important and how the financial backing they are giving will help support you towards your intended goal.
Try to avoid the dollar figure and instead look at the non-financial personal rewards.
This helps to create an emotional pull to the funding providers and increases the chance that they will donate.
You should also look to communicate with your potential audience long before you even start asking for funds.
Some sites say that this should be approximately three to four months before you list:
This increases the engagement between you and your fundraisers and helps you to make a greater impact at the beginning of the campaign that can increase the chance of random investors helping you out when they see the initial success of your campaigns.
C. Poor Visuals
One of the final mistakes that crowdfunders make is that they upload generic or boring visuals.
Audiences react better to high quality images and it can increase the chance that they will contribute to your desired goals.
While good images can be hard to come by, speaking to a graphics designer can be your first step and although expensive, it can be worth the initial investment.
The success of your crowdfunding project can hinge on listing your site correctly on the right site.
There are several mistakes that can be made when creating a crowdfunding project but by avoiding these, you can improve the speed at which investments come in, helping you to achieve your goals before the deadline.
- Take some time to evaluate your options before going ahead with a project.
- Don’t forget to have a marketing plan in place too.