7 Platforms That Support Crowdfunding For Nonprofits
The crowdfunding industry continues to grow and expand as a means of soliciting donations, product sales, and investments. Naturally, nonprofit organizations are now looking to get into the crowdfunding game too. In taking advantage of a crowdfunding platform’s fundraising and social media tools, nonprofits can bring their message to a much wider (not to mention younger) swath of the population than would otherwise be possible.
However, it’s not a simple matter of picking from a list of interchangeable platforms and getting started. Not all crowdfunding websites are created equal. Some crowdfunders are purely for creative/business projects and cannot be used for nonprofit fundraising, while other platforms specifically cater to the nonprofit market. Some platforms don’t let you collect the money you raise unless you hit your funding goal amount, while others let you keep whatever you raise regardless. Some platforms charge a percentage of what you raise as a fee (and some charge more if you fall short of your funding goal), while others charge a flat monthly fee to use their services. Some platforms facilitate the giving of rewards to your donors, while others do not.
That’s why your choice of a crowdfunding platform matters. We here at Merchant Maverick want to help you cut through the dizzying array of crowdfunding sites available by highlighting the crowdfunders best suited for nonprofit fundraising.
Other Featured Options:
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Table of Contents
A Warning Before You Begin
It’s vitally important that you familiarize yourself with the laws regulating nonprofit fundraising in the state or states in which you will be operating. You may well have to register your charitable nonprofit with the state before you begin soliciting donations. If you’re looking to crowdfund for your nonprofit, and you’re confronting these questions for the first time, I recommend starting with the information provided by the National Council of Nonprofits and going from there.
It’s easy to find yourself unwittingly running afoul of fundraising laws if you’re unaware of them, so take caution!
Here Are 7 Platforms That Offer Crowdfunding For Nonprofits
Let’s look at seven good options for nonprofit organizations looking for a crowdfunding solution.
1. GoFundMe: Best For No Platform Fee
GoFundMe is best known for hosting campaigns related to personal medical expenses and other tragedies. That’s what has propelled GoFundMe to become the world’s top crowdfunding platform in terms of dollars raised (more than $9 billion and counting). What’s less well known is that GoFundMe hosts nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns as well. On the subject of nonprofit campaigns, GoFundMe states the following:
Raise money for a 501(c)3 or registered charity in the US, the UK, Australia, or Canada. Supporters will see charity details and a badge on the campaign.
If you are raising money for a charity and wish them to use it for a specific purpose, we recommend that you get in touch with the charity before raising funds on GoFundMe to ask if they are able to accommodate that.
To launch a charity campaign, the outfit you’re fundraising for must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in the US, UK, Australia, or Canada. It must also be registered in the PayPal Giving Fund database. If your 501(c)(3) nonprofit isn’t in this database, GoFundMe outlines how you can rectify that on its support page.
GoFundMe’s nonprofit campaigns do not carry a platform fee. When GoFundMe started phasing out its 5% platform fee, it initially did so only for personal campaigns, leaving the 5% platform fee in place for charity/nonprofit campaigns. Thankfully, GoFundMe finally came around and eliminated the 5% fee for nonprofit crowdfunding as well.
That’s not to say GoFundMe donations are fee-free, however. A 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee will apply to each donation made in US dollars. Similar processing fees will apply to donations made in other currencies.
GoFundMe provides the following primer for those interested in starting a crowdfunding campaign for a nonprofit organization.
2. Mightycause: Best For Advanced Team/Event Management
Since its founding in 2006, Mightycause (known as Razoo prior to 2018) has been something of an all-of-the-above crowdfunder, hosting crowdfunding campaigns for nearly any cause under the sun: business, personal, team, and, yes, nonprofit crowdfunding. However, with its 2018 rebranding as Mightycause, the company is now solely devoted to facilitating crowdfunding campaigns for small and mid-sized nonprofits.
For your nonprofit to directly raise funds on Mightycause, it needs to be registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity in the US. However, if your organization doesn’t yet have 501(c)(3) status or is based outside the US, you may still be able to use Mightycause for fundraising. To do this, you’ll need to find an organization willing to act as your fiscal sponsor. Mightycause provides information on how to do this on its website.
Like GoFundMe, Mightycause does not charge a platform fee. Back in the Razoo days, the company charged a 4% platform fee, but, thankfully, this was eliminated in the company’s rebranding. What’s more, Mightycause charges a smaller payment processing fee than GoFundMe and most other competitors. Mightycause states that the average payment processing fee is just 0.81% plus $0.29 per donation. While the fee can be higher than this, Mightycause guarantees that your payment processing fees will never be higher than 2.2% plus $0.29 per donation, which is still a lower rate than you’ll pay with GoFundMe.
If you want more than what Mightycause’s Standard crowdfunding package provides, you can sign up for the Advanced plan. Let’s compare what you’ll get with Mightycause’s Standard and Advanced plans.
- No monthly fee
- Organization profile for year-round giving
- Unlimited fundraising campaigns
- Unlimited peer-to-peer campaigns
- Donation widget for your website
- Matching grants
- Customizable donation levels and labels
- Recurring donation management
- Donor data collection
- Social media sharing and integration
- Real-time donation reports
- Team and event management
- $99 per month
- All of the above, PLUS:
- CRM for supporter management
- Donor management
- Digital marketing and email messaging
- Volunteer management
- Embeddable donation form
- Advanced analytics
- Data integration
- Advanced donor data collection
- Donor surveys
- Custom branded donation receipts
The Advanced plan isn’t cheap, so if you’re considering going this route, it’s best if you have some experience with nonprofit fundraising and have a reasonable expectation of funding success. If you do, the Advanced package offers a pretty compelling deal. Your organization will be able to host its crowdfunding campaign — one operating under its brand, not that of Mightycause. Plus, you’ll have access to the advanced campaign features listed above.
Donors who contribute to nonprofit campaigns will immediately be emailed a receipt that they can use to claim a deduction on their taxes.
3. FundRazr: Best Reputation
Declaring itself “Canada’s leading crowdfunding platform,” FundRazr has facilitated the raising of over $175 million (US) in its near-decade of existence. FundRazr hosts crowdfunding campaigns for personal causes, business causes, and, yes, nonprofit organizations. The company also has a great reputation among both campaigners and donors. FundRazr is one of the few crowdfunding outfits that proudly links to its Trustpilot page. That should tell you something.
FundRazr goes into exactly who can raise money on its site for a nonprofit organization on its support page. Essentially, if you’re not an Authorized Officer of the organization in question, you’ll need to submit a Letter Of Subordination that expressly authorizes you to fundraise on it’s behalf.
A regular FundRazr crowdfunding campaign — whether it be for a personal cause or a nonprofit — is free aside from the 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction taken out in payment processing fees. Like GoFundMe and other cause-oriented crowdfunding platforms, FundRazr eliminated its platform fee. If you want a higher level of features and support, FundRazr offers a Standard plan and a Pro plan with advanced professional tools, much like Mightycause.
Here’s what you get with FundRazr’s free plan vs. the paid Standard and Pro plans:
- No platform fee or monthly fees
- Great looking, responsive fundraising pages
- Advanced social media sharing
- Perks, tickets, wishlists
- Automatic campaign updates
- Secure payment functionality
- Unlimited campaigns
- Unlimited team members
- Simple peer-to-peer fundraising
- Custom tax receipts
- White label branding
- Website integration
- 5% platform fee
- All of the above, PLUS:
- Sophisticated peer-to-peer, events, multitier
- Repeatable micro-projects
- Subscription micro-projects
- Recurring donations
- Third-party projects
- Sponsored campaigns
- Charity eCommerce (storefronts)
- Advanced analytics
- Embedded donation forms
- Campaign approval workflows
- Delegated campaign management
- All of the above features, plus the fee you pay is based on the organization’s choice: cover the platform fee or get it fully or partially recovered by your supporters
4. Indiegogo: Best For Connecting With An Art-Oriented Userbase
Indiegogo once had a charitable crowdfunding division known as Generosity. A few years ago, Generosity was sold to YouCaring (YouCaring was subsequently acquired by and absorbed into GoFundMe). Indiegogo’s focus is now primarily on serving individuals and businesses, though it still supports nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns.
Though Indiegogo does not offer nonprofit-specific crowdfunding features, it provides guidance on how to set up your nonprofit campaign. Unfortunately, Indiegogo does not waive its 5% platform fee for nonprofit campaigns (nor its 2.9% +$0.30 per transaction fee). For that reason, it wouldn’t be my first choice to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a nonprofit organization. Just know that it’s an option.
5. FirstGiving: Best For Advanced Event Registration
FirstGiving is a fundraising platform wholly devoted to nonprofit crowdfunding. With FirstGiving, there’s no “free” fundraising option — you must either subscribe to Panorama Pro or Panorama Premium to raise funds for a nonprofit with Firstgiving. More on that later.
According to FirstGiving:
All donations made through FirstGiving are processed through our charity partner Global Impact, a 501c3 nonprofit, and are fully tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
There’s no word on whether donors get sent a tax-deductible receipt or not.
Here are the two Panorama subscription packages offered by FirstGiving and what each gives you in features.
Panorama Pro Plan
- 5% platform fee
- Event registration (performance fee of 1.5% applies)
- Fundraising communication tools and widgets
- Online auctions and mobile bidding events
- Event management
Panorama Premium Plan
- 5% platform fee
- All of the above, PLUS:
- Donor management tools
- Volunteer registration and engagement
- Segmented mailing lists and customizable SmartLists
- Data flows directly into the Dashboard — no import/export
- Integrated with QuickBooks, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp
- Donor management tools
FirstGiving is a costlier nonprofit fundraising option than the other platforms I’ve listed in this article. Make sure that FirstGiving offers you something you can’t get anywhere else before deciding to sign up.
6. Fundly: Best Niche Crowdfunder
Fundly isn’t one of the better-known crowdfunding sites out there, but with over $330 million raised in its decade of existence, Fundly deserves a look.
Fundly charges a 4.9% platform fee for all crowdfunding campaigns and 2.9% + $0.30/transaction for payment processing. Hopefully, Fundly will join GoFundMe and others in dropping its platform fee for nonprofit campaigns in the future, but until then, the fee applies.
Fundly has very little information regarding nonprofit campaigns posted to its website. For details on how the platform’s nonprofit campaigns work and whether or not your donors will be sent a tax-deductible receipt, you’ll have to contact the company.
7. Donorbox: Best For Smaller Nonprofits
Donorbox is an excellent donation platform for smaller nonprofits, particularly those looking to add a simple donation button to an existing website. With a low platform fee of 1.5%, support for weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual recurring donations, and excellent donation forms, Donorbox is definitely worth your attention.
Large nonprofits might prefer an all-in-one platform with a built-in donor management CRM and a branded dashboard, but the nonprofit looking for an easy-to-use low-fee donation option will find a lot to like. Donorbox lets you easily integrate with your website as well as with a wide range of software add-ons. Here’s what you’ll pay for some common integrations:
- Mailchimp: $8/month
- SalesForce NPSP: $50/month
- Zapier/API: $17/month
- Employer Gift Matching: $40/month
- Text To Give: $19/month
FAQs About Crowdfunding For Nonprofits
More Resources For Nonprofits
Crowdfunding for nonprofits isn’t as straightforward as crowdfunding for a business or a personal cause. Thankfully, modern crowdfunding platforms make it easier than ever to navigate the legal complexities to help nonprofits raise money, whether you’re an officer of the nonprofit or not. Just be careful and make sure you’re doing everything by the book!
For more information on launching and running a nonprofit organization, visit our new nonprofit hub for a wide array of helpful resources.