There are plenty of crowdfunding platforms besides Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and they offer a variety of processes, fees, and uses. The list of platforms has become seemingly endless, ranging from ones designed for personal giving campaigns and non-profit fundraising, to renewable energy and academic research.
Here are 10 interesting platforms that you may not have heard of.
Patreon is a crowdfunding site for passionate creators to build the businesses or start the projects they love. It was created in 2013 to allow fans to engage and support artists and creators. It's for all types of these creators: musicians, animators, photographers, writers, gamers, podcasters, video gurus. You name it. It's for these people to create a stream of smaller works, not just one big event like many other platforms. It's also easy to interact with fans, give back with rewards, and grow a community.
Instead of collecting money from a big group of people, Crowdtilt uses smaller groups to raise money for a group objective. Nobody is charged until the "tilt" is reached, and all the correspondence is through the campaign page. It's an easier way to securely pool money online. If the campaign "tilts," Crowdtilt takes a 2.5% fee. There is also Crowdtilt for businesses, which can be found with Crowdtilt Open with better analytics, and Crowdtilt API, which the company built to seamlessly handle crowd commerce needs.
Razoo is another crowdfunding site for causes, whether they are personal, for non-profits, or for a community. It also has an option for "giving days," where you can create a recurring day of generosity for your cause or non-profit. The site has raised more than $230 million in 90,000 campaigns. There are over one million registered non-profits on the site. Razoo has a flat rate of 4.9% on all donations.
This platform crowdfunds to support small, sustainable food businesses. You basically fund it by prepaying what you intend to buy in the future. So when you visit, tell them you're paying to Credibles, and they will deduct the amount of your purchase from your prepaid balance, which is $1 per Credible. Keep up to date with your balance with the company's website or mobile app. Businesses that use the platform pay a 5% fee, and Credibles commits 1% of its profits to the non-profit Slow Money.
Petridish is a platform that crowdfunds for discoveries in science. Back scientists' research by funding their projects through the site. Some fully funded campaigns include saving Nicaragua's last population of jaguars and GIS mapping Pacific killer whales. Some people liken this phenomenon of crowdfunding scientific research to "citizen science," where average people really play a part in the academic research that goes into these projects. But all research starts with funding, as we well know, and that's what Petridish is trying to tackle.
Crowdfunder is a site for investment and equity funding. It connects investors and entrepreneurs for as little as $1,000. For entrepreneurs, Crowdfunder provides a guided process, a community online, and a diverse investor network to help them raise capital. For investors, the site offers the chance to get in on the ground floor, which is usually impossible because the opportunities to invest are usually only available to top Silicon Valley VCs. There are two flat monthly fee options for a campaign: $299 or $999, depending on what services you want.
Crowdrise has a great tagline: "If you don't give back, no one will like you." It's one of the fastest growing online fundraising websites. You create a fundraising page, ask for donations, and build a campaign through social networking, contests, or events. The more notable, the better. If you're raising money for a personal cause, your fees average about 1%. Donors can give 100% to your cause, and if they don't, Crowdrise takes 5%. If you're raising money for a charity, Crowdrise takes 3-5%. The Red Cross, UNICEF, and Clinton Global Initiative have all used the platform.
This platform is for personal fundraising campaigns — home makeovers, medical treatments, community efforts. One of the most recent success stories was for Jon Meis, who saved many lives by disarming a shooter at Seattle Pacific University. Donors funded his wedding to thank him. There are no deadlines or limits to these campaigns, but there are fees for the donations, depending on what country you're in.
This site is a storytelling platform designed to help people raise funds for things they are passionate about through a large social network. By easily integrating social sharing features by linking with social media sites, you can grow your community. There's also no pressure of tipping points and date goals. Rally charges 5% for each donation, and offers analytics on your campaign as it goes.
10. Kiva Labs
This is a bit of a different approach, but Kiva, the leading microfinance site, saw a gap in its traditional model and decided to start a platform called Kiva Labs to reach people that were left out: those in rural areas, students who can't afford college, and farmers enduring hard seasons. These campaigns tackle agricultural projects, leveraging mobile technology and spreading it, and closing the energy gap. It's supported by Google and Cisco. People can crowdfund environmental and development projects much easier and on a larger scale.
Lyndsey Gilpin has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Lyndsey Gilpin is a former Staff Writer for TechRepublic, covering sustainability and entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the book Follow the Geeks.