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6 Platforms That Support Crowdfunding For Nonprofits

  • 42 comments
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Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer and cereal chef from San Diego. He graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001. He's been writing about website builders, crowdfunding sites, online lenders, and credit cards for Merchant Maverick since 2015. Additionally, Jason can't eat raisins.
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42 Comments

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    Dan

    Hi. This article is very helpful. I Work as a volunteer for a nonprofit. That nonprofit has developed teaching materials that are used to educate children grades 1 through 6 in China to understand that animals are sentient beings too. By this way the students develop empathy for animals, understand animals importance to the natural environment and thus gain an understanding that animals play an important role in their own health and happiness. This of course requires the printing of the teaching materials and other logistical, monitoring and administrative elements that cost money.
    So, with everything I’ve mentioned I suggested trying a fund raising site like one of those covered in your article to another volunteer I work with. His response was that these sorts of sites don’t work unless you already have a large social network established. I feel that’s not necessarily correct, but then again I have no experience in using crowdfunding sites. What’s your take on this point?

      Emily Hale

      Hi, Dan!

      Thanks for your question! Suggesting that your organization try a crowdfunding campaign for this particular effort could be a fantastic opportunity. Having a large social following can certainly help but the size of a following doesn’t always directly correlate with the success of a campaign. That’s because when your donors or existing fans are engaged with a particular cause, they could share and become your “brand ambassadors” to their own following. That being said, your fellow volunteer brings up a good point about exposure. Putting forth some marketing effort and creating a campaign to gain awareness and exposure is pretty important. However, that doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive. Creating an email campaign and posting on social can go a long way. In the very least, you can learn a few things each time you test a new outreach tactic or fundraising strategy. We think you are on the right path. Best of luck on all of your fundraising goals!

        Jim Llewellyn

        Thanks for the essay on different types of funding. I am interested in an ongoing crowdfunding campaign in my community to pay for advocating for changes in government. For instance, I want to hire a lawyer to write charter amendments for our community to vote on to protect from overdevelopment, etc. It will NOT be a nonprofit. I will form a corporation for liability protection but will take no salaries. What do you suggest as far as donation platforms?

        Thanks
        Jim Llewellyn

          Emily Hale

          Hi Jim, Thanks for your question; I hope to point you in the right direction. Our post, Types Of Crowdfunding For Businesses: Rewards, Equity, Debt, and Donations might help you determine which type of platform will be best to raise the funds you need. Hope this helps and best of luck on your venture.

            We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.

            Nicu Minculescu

            Hi guys!
            Thank you so much for your review. Still, after going through all the platforms listed here, I still have some doubts about where my campaign would fit in.
            I have a nonprofit (est. outside US ) together with two friends and we have decided to rebuild one of the oldest mountain cabins in the Romanian mountains (first built in 1925). It is an investment of around 250.000 usd, which we cannot afford to sustain by our own means.
            Our decision came after some years of exploring the mountains, which revealed the need to tackle some pressing issues, like the lack of an organized and sustainable mountain tourism and emergency services, fighting illegal logging and poaching and also, to create economic and development opportunities for the neighboring communities.
            So, even if this investment seems to lead to a business in its own right, it will be only a limited income business of which the profit will be reinvested in its operation and some improvement, since the altitude and the specifics of the area cannot allow further and further developments to create higher and higher profits, like a hotel of x stars or something similar.
            The primary status of such unit would be an emergency shelter for the mountaineers exploring the region, but also, it will be a pilot project that could show other owners of similar buildings, that civilized and sustainable dedicated tourism can be done in such environments (similar to the huts in the Alps). Since the area is quite wild and untouched from 2005, when the old building was deserted, illegal logging and poaching is very attractive and there has been some signs that our presence there and the intention to open the forgotten trails are not welcomed, which culminated with the controlled burning of the remains of the two old buildings, which are our private property since august 2018. So, all these aspects made us more determined that a serious human foothold in that region have to be reestablished. All these issues are not only specific to that region, but common to all similar regions in the country.
            In conclusion, my question is to what type of funding platform such initiative would be better fitted?
            Thanks a lot for any insights!
            Nick

              Emily Hale

              Hi Nicu,

              We may be able to help narrow down your option if we knew what country your nonprofit was established. Is it Romania or somewhere else?

                Delphine Coppuyns-Manet

                Thanks Jason for the great reviews.
                What about Classy and Firespring? You chose not to speak about them because they have a platform fee?
                Would Mighty Cause offer the same options as Classy for instance?
                What about the CRM integrated in Mighty Cause? How does it compare to Salsa Labs or Charity Proud?
                Thanks in advance for your insights.
                Regards,

                Delphine

                  Emily Hale

                  Hi Delphine,

                  Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately, we haven’t reviewed all the platforms you’ve mentioned, and so we wouldn’t feel comfortable advising about which is best. If you land on a great solution, feel free to stop back in and let us know how it worked out for you. Best of luck!

                    Debbie DiManno

                    Beautiful review…
                    We are an llc currently fiscally sponsored by Pathways for Veterans,(5013c). We are doing this until we can get enough funding to get our own 5013c.
                    We provided weekend workshops for teen and parents (Toolkits for Life) that help to deal with stress, depression and anxiety.

                    Which platform would you recommend?

                    Thanks,

                    Debbie

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                      Dakota Fillet

                      Hi Debbie, GoFundMe, Mightycause, and FundRazr are all good choices because all three allow for crowdfunding under the fiscal sponsorship of a nonprofit organization and all three have no platform fee. Hope this helps!

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                        Trudy D'Armond

                        Hi Jason,
                        I’m the VP and board member of a 501 c 3 chorale organization that’s been in existence since 1977 in Washington State. We have 35 members right now that pay $40 dues per season. We have two seasons per year. We have a lot of in-kind donations to help us monetarily, but we also get a few grants each year that helps sustain our organization. We have a few thousand dollars to help us launch each new season. We have been invited to Washington DC in 2021 to sing at the John F. Kennedy Center, along with community choirs from all over the United States to celebrate and honor our Veterans on Memorial Day. It will cost roughly $2,000 per person for 3 days and 4 nights. That would cover round trip transportation, hotel, most food and a couple of select tours. We are made up of primarily senior citizens. (83% of us.) We are so honored to be asked to participate in such an incredible event. What would you suggest that would be the best source of fundraising to help us with expenses for this wonderful organization?

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                          Jessica Dinsmore

                          Hi Trudy,

                          I’d suggest looking into GoFundMe, Mightycause, and FundRazr. All three are good choices because they allow for nonprofit crowdfunding and there is no platform fee. Best of luck to you!

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                            Linda

                            Hi Jason,
                            Our organization is a 501c3 non-profit, but we are still classified as a private foundation and not a public charity. (Our lawyers have said that all non-profits start out as private foundations, and then the transition to a public charity takes 60 months.)

                            What recommendations do you have for us for a crowdfunding campaign? We will not be listed as a public charity, and can’t be in GuideStar, etc.
                            Thanks!

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                              Jessica Dinsmore

                              Hi Linda,

                              Our understanding is that an unregistered nonprofit (one without 501c3 status yet) can crowdfund if they find another nonprofit willing to act as their fiscal sponsor. So, with that, we would suggest looking into GoFundMe, Mightycause, and FundRazr, as all three crowdfunders allow for nonprofit charity fundraising and all three do not charge a platform fee (just payment processing fees as all crowdfunding sites do)! Some crowdfunders still charge a 5% platform fee but these three do not. I hope that helps!

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.

                                Susan Binau

                                Hi,
                                Thanks for sharing such important information. I’m the founder of women fighting cancer and we filed the paperwork in Florida. Or programs have been proven to work and have reached 15.000 families in 5 countries during the pilot project (that was under another foundation and in Denmark).

                                I have desided to take it to the next level, and have great funding possibilities asap we have the 501,c3 status. It will cost 3000 dollars to hire a professional company to help file the paperwork, and I will raise the money under my own name not the foundation because I’m not sure about the rules.
                                My network is global and I should be able to raise the amount quickly.

                                Which platform do you recommend me to use?… Thank’s a lot in advance
                                Susan Binau
                                http://www.womenfightingcancer.org

                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                  Jessica Dinsmore

                                  Hi Susan,

                                  Thanks for your question! We’d suggest looking into GoFundMe, Mightycause, and FundRazr, as all three crowdfunders allow for nonprofit charity fundraising and all three do not charge a platform fee (just payment processing fees as all crowdfunding sites do)! Some crowdfunders still charge a 5% platform fee but these three do not. We wish you the best!

                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                    Seair W Lorentz

                                    Hi Jason,

                                    Thank you for such a thoughtful and helpful review! We just filed our nonprofit paperwork last week but need to start fundraising ASAP. Do you know if any of these sites will grant you nonprofit status based on just the submittal or paperwork? Or, will take donations in good faith until our status is finalized? Thanks in advance!

                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                      Jessica Dinsmore

                                      Hi Seair,

                                      As we understand it, nonprofit status has to be established with the government and can’t be granted by these sites.

                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                        Sean

                                        Look at Chuffed.org

                                          Richard Spann

                                          Thanks for the fabulous write up.

                                          Please recommend a crowdfunding site for a 501(c)(3) community theater based in California USA.

                                          We need $15,000 to obtain the equipment necessary to screen motion pictures.

                                          Content will be original material created by local filmmakers, public domain productions, and occasional titles available on DVD using a one time license.

                                          We are grateful for your consideration.

                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                            Jessica Dinsmore

                                            Hi Richard,

                                            Thanks so much for your kind words! Any of the platforms recommended in this post would be just fine for your community theater, with the exception of YouCaring. You have lots of great options! We wish you the best of luck with your fundraising efforts!

                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                              manoon sanon

                                              Hi- Thank you for your reviews and info. We are creating a training center in Northern Thailand for hill tribe people to become Chefs capable of employment in large hotels. We’ve been doing it successfully for a long time (over 7 years) but want to formalise it and increase the number of students. We raise funds locally but its not enough to equip a training facility. We are not a registered charity or non profit although we don’t take a profit. It seems we have two problems – 1st we are in Thailand and second we aren’t a registered charity. Any suggestions would be really helpful Oh – we do have a paypal account linked to a Thai Bank account
                                              Thanks

                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                Jessica Dinsmore

                                                Hi Manoon,
                                                I’d suggest looking into Indiegogo. You may also want to check out GlobalGiving, though we haven’t yet reviewed them, so we can’t give an opinion on them one way or another, but they do appear to host crowdfunding campaigns around the world, including Thailand. Best of luck to you!

                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                  Joe Nettesheim

                                                  Hi, what is the advantage to using a crowd funding platform versus designing a funding page on your own website?

                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                    Jessica Dinsmore

                                                    Hi Joe,

                                                    Unless you already have a large and devoted following, you’d be operating at a disadvantage. Anyone can put up a link to their PayPal on their website and ask people to donate, but without the publicity, site traffic, and the ability to automatically give rewards to those who send you money, it would be pretty challenging to make a personal fundraising website work as effectively as a crowdfunding website. Best of luck!

                                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                      Beate Epp

                                                      Dear Jason, we are a small nonprofit organization and are in need of funds to help us in creating our horse sanctuary and educational center in Mexico.
                                                      I am overwhelmed by the search for the best platform.
                                                      Can you advise me please?
                                                      We want to create the page in English.

                                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                        Jessica Dinsmore

                                                        Hi Beate,

                                                        Indiegogo looks like it would be a good option for you! You may also want to check out GlobalGiving, though we haven’t yet reviewed them, so we can’t give an opinion on them one way or another, but they do appear to host nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns around the world, including Mexico. We wish you all the best with your horse sanctuary!

                                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                          Nancy

                                                          Hi Jason,

                                                          Help!

                                                          What do you recommend as the best crowdfunding platform for public school teachers (grades K-12) who want to raise money to fund a small classroom or school-wide project?

                                                          Some context. I work for a 501(c)(3) organization that manages 18 high-need schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (i.e. Los Angeles’ K-12 public school system). Our schools remain part of LA Unified–for example, the teachers are paid by LA Unified and not by our nonprofit–and LA Unified isn’t designated as a 501(c)(3).

                                                          More context. Our schools are located in high-poverty communities — they don’t have parent-led, affiliated 501(c)(3) fundraising arms to rely on. Also, the nonprofit for which I work directly doesn’t have the staff capacity to run these small campaigns under our auspices.

                                                          What crowdfunding platform would you recommend that teachers themselves can use?

                                                          Thanks in advance!

                                                          Nancy Peponis
                                                          Partnership for Los Angeles Schools

                                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                            Jason Vissers

                                                            Hi Nancy! I would recommend that they use either GoFundMe, Mightycause (formerly Razoo) or FundRazr — these platforms are set up to accommodate charitable campaigns run by individuals (as well as those run by nonprofits). Furthermore, these platforms don’t charge a platform fee (the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo take 5% of what you raise) so the only fees paid will be payment processing fees, which typically come out to 2.9% + 30 cents from each donation.

                                                            I hope this helps!

                                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                              Angela Haye

                                                              Jason, I operate a Non-Profit educational Institute in Jamaica and I need to raise some funds to help finish a hospitality training center in Jamaica. What is the best platform to use in this venture? Thanks very much!

                                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                Jessica Dinsmore

                                                                Hi Angela,

                                                                We suggest looking into Indiegogo. We aren’t aware of any other comparable platforms offering crowdfunding that would be available to a Jamaican organization. Good luck!

                                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                  karen

                                                                  we are a small 501(c) animal rescue in south texas that we get all our funding from donations. What crowd funding besides GoFundme do you recommend. It seems all non profits go through them and would like to think outside the box for another resource. Thank you

                                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                    Jessica Dinsmore

                                                                    Hi Karen,

                                                                    I’d suggest taking a look at Indiegogo, Mightycause (formerly Razoo) and/or FundRazr.

                                                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                      Chrystal Rose

                                                                      Any updates to GoFundMe dropping the 5% (or in general)?

                                                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                        Jason Vissers

                                                                        Hi Chrystal! Thanks for your question! In fact, yes, GoFundMe has dropped the 5% platform fee for charity fundraising. Just keep in mind that although the platform fee no longer exists, a payment processing fee of 2.9% + $.30 per transaction still applies.

                                                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                          We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.

                                                                          Dineshkumar

                                                                          Hi,

                                                                          I m Dinesh from india from middle class family i m looking to start a video games tournament website ( Ex: PUBG , Fortnite , etc ) along with the tournament streaming youtube channel. I have searched for loan in almost all banks but no one response and not ready to fund me for me. I m looking for fund not as donation. This is business so I can share my revenue or repay the fund. I Need your assistance to build my dream project.

                                                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                            Jessica Dinsmore

                                                                            Hi Dinesh,

                                                                            Thanks for writing! Since it sounds like you want to offer equity, I’d suggest you check out Indiegogo and look into starting an equity crowdfunding campaign.. You could also contact Fig, though they specialize in video game making and not video game websites/video streaming. Best of luck to you!

                                                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                              Sipho

                                                                              We from South Africa we want to start regional TV station we want your help

                                                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                                Jessica Dinsmore

                                                                                Hi Sipho,

                                                                                I’d suggest taking a look at Indiegogo. They are one of the few big platforms (that we know of) that hosts Africa-based campaigns.

                                                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                                  nkululeko madikizela

                                                                                  we are starting a community radio station we need your help

                                                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                                    Jessica Dinsmore

                                                                                    Nkululeko, what can we do to help?

                                                                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

                                                                                      Ronald Pruitt

                                                                                      This a good review of the beginner options for nonprofits on crowdfunding. A lot of nonprofits learn after using them, however, is that too much of their fundraising is eaten by very high percentage-based platform fees, high merchant fees and these sites don’t offer the other e-commerce options nonprofits need like event ticketing. These sites often are branded under the platform’s brand and put your campaign into direct competition with other nonprofits and individuals raising money. The next step for many nonprofits after these platforms is to acquire software that allows them to run their crowdfunding campaigns with their own branding, linked off their own website and linked up to their own merchant processing. The nonprofits save money with lowered platform and merchant fees (many choosing interchange plus merchant accounts) and they can consilidate their different types of e-commmerce fundraising under one platform.

                                                                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

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