Get the Crowdfunding going
We’ve all heard the stories of millionaires that got started with an idea, a garage and a shoestring budget. For every person that makes it big there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there with an equally fantastic idea that never see their dreams realized. Often the difference is being able to obtain some start-up capital. One of the downsides of a struggling economy is that funding can be very difficult to obtain – especially when it is just for an idea rather than an established business.
Another option for funding a project is crowdfunding. The concept of crowdfunding is simple – get the word out and ask for donations from anyone in the world. The benefit is that the funds do not have to be repaid so it can leave the budding entrepreneur free to concentrate on making the business a success. The concept may be simple but finding people to contribute to your idea is not easy to do on your own. Thankfully there are a number of organizations that have set up platforms online to bring people together to help one another. The following ten websites are some of the most popular sites as demonstrated by a high Alexa.com traffic rating score. Whether you need funding or want to help someone else these sites are great options for you.
Global Alexa Rating: 810
This site began in 2009 and since then they have helped more than 44,000 projects become funded with nearly $700 million in support. When the project has been fully funded, the company gets their fee and the rest goes to the project. Although the people that back the projects do not do it for a monetary award, most creators will offer a reward to thank their backers. As far as the site goes, it is very easy to navigate and even recognizes where you are from and shows those projects closest to you. That doesn’t mean you are restricted to your area however. You can back any creator you desire. The categories of projects allowed on the site are creative aspirations only – art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film & video, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater.
Global Alexa Rating: 2,526
This crowdfunding site is easy to navigate and takes on more than just creative endeavors. They also allow causes and some entrepreneurial endeavors. One nice feature of this site is that those that are close to the deadline are promoted on the front page to get quick attention. New endeavors are also showcased this way. When you go to browse campaigns they are well grouped to locate what you are looking for as well as having the ability to search by title. Campaigns are not just in the United States as the site also handles other currencies. It is easy to see how each campaign is doing as it lists the number of funders, days remaining, amount funded and what percentage of the goal has been met. Many of the popular campaigns are far over 100% funded.
Global Alexa Rating: 5,504
This site handles fundraising a little different than other sites. With this one the person sets up a page that they can then share with friends, family, contacts and others. People also go to the site looking for people to help. When you set up a campaign it can be a personal donation campaign, a charity fundraising campaign, or an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign. This is an ideal place to go to when you hope to get some help from others that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with business. People use it to get help with medical bills, funeral expenses, honeymoon trips or anything else they want. Personal donation campaigns are paid to the campaign holder as they are received. Charity fundraising campaigns are sent to the charity on a monthly basis. Crowdfunding is sent only when the goal is reached as the supporters are not charged unless the campaign is successful.
Global Alexa Rating: 54,147
This site handles projects a little differently. It is a platform intended mostly for creative projects and the creator sets up different levels of contributions in which each is given a reward gift for the donation. For example, a musician might offer a one-song soundtrack for a $10 contribution for a campaign to produce a CD of their music. The site is compiled in an easy to use fashion that lets you see what is popular and what campaigns have been successful. Funders can search by category, location or by trending, newest, successful, almost there and ambassador picks. There is also a keyword search ability.
Global Alexa Rating: 59,697
This site goes far beyond being a place to bring together both sides of a crowdfunding campaign. This is the place to go to learn more about how it works and read news and editorials that can help one put together a successful campaign. One especially useful feature of this site is the ability to go locate lesser known websites than those covered in this article. There are over 2,400 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites listed. It is not uncommon for someone to put their business endeavor out on multiple sites to garner up as much funding as possible, so this tool makes that easier.
Global Alexa Rating: 67,133
This website includes a crowdfunding success school that gives you a step-by-step break down of the process. It gives you the tools and knowledge to create a campaign that will get the results you desire. One of the huge benefits of using this site for your campaign is that there is the potential to have A&E as your funder and this exposure can easily give international attention to your project. You can also check out the latest news regarding crowdfunding and read about the success of others. This can give you practical insight into how to organize your campaign.
Global Alexa Rating: 85,366
This site is primarily for those people desiring backers for a business start-up. A profile is set up that includes an overview of the company, their product or service to be offered and their funding goals. For smaller companies (under $50,000) the company generally chooses a reward based fundraiser, whereas larger amounts are usually an equity fundraiser. In both cases, backers receive something for their contribution. This site has a different fee scale than other sites in that it is free to get started and then a small, flat fee per month rather than a percentage fee like other sites have. This is a nice place for investors to go when looking to be part of a new company.
Global Alexa Rating: 94,867
This site is for UK entrepreneurs and business pioneers that want to raise funds for a business endeavor. It is for any investor that wants to invest in UK businesses. The site makes it a bit easier for investors in that they take time to research the businesses and procure three years of financial projections for investors to review. All investors receive equity for their contributions, so this is not a free money opportunity for business owners, but it does work easier than dealing with banks to get financing which can be difficult for start-up companies.
Global Alexa Rating: 148,171
This site is devoted to obtaining and investing in seed capital for startups. It is equity based so it is not free money to entrepreneurs. The downside of the site is that the curious cannot browse the startups without first joining as an investor. This doesn’t cost anything but it is an extra step that other sites don’t require. You can, however, view startups that have already been funded so you can get an idea of typical startups, how much they required for investments and what equity percentage was allocated. The blog section has a number of informative articles about raising capital in this manner which can be helpful for new entrepreneurs.
Global Alexa Rating: 815,952
This is another venue for creative projects including art, comedy, design, film/video, music, theatre and writing/publishing. It is a United Kingdom site so expect to see funding figures listed in UK currency instead of the U.S. dollar as many of the other sites are. Although creators do need to list rewards for each level of pledge, the rewards are often as creative as the campaign itself. It is not uncommon to see “a handshake and a hug” or “one free back massage from me” as a reward. The website is simply arranged with a search feature to find the subjects you are looking for as well as having a drop down project guide to specific types of campaigns. There is a blog area and you can sign up for their newsletter.
All of these sites will be interesting to people looking for funding and those willing to help others. It is a beautiful thing to see people reaching out in this way whether there is a gain to be made or not. Whether your interest is in business or something more personal, these sites can get you involved in the world around you. People helping people is never a bad thing.