- Emelyn Bagatsing
Crowdfunding is a rapidly expanding financing method that leverages connectivity, community and collaboration via the web. Insiders estimate that the crowdfunding industry is now worth more than USD 5 billion. There are myriad crowdfunding sites that offer various forms of compensation to investors, from products and perks to shareholding and real financial return, and that cater to different sectors, interests and purposes. For social-cause entrepreneurs, crowdfunding can represent an excellent platform to provide financing and resources to their initiatives and projects.
We have trawled the web to identify a number of crowdfunding sites that seek to empower entrepreneurs that promote social good. In alphabetical order:
AngelList caters to tech startups with a lead investor already signed on. While not a full-fledged crowdfunding start at first. AngelList is now getting into the field. As of reporting, accredited investors and institutions on AngelList have been funding a growing number of top technology startup initiatives.
Buzzbnk is an online marketplace that bridges social ventures with backers, supporters and fans. The Buzzbnk community supports the initiatives they like by pledging money, time or both. The members also have a hand in carrying messages forward through their own social networks and communities.
Causes is designed for registered non-profits to raise money. It has a fluid Facebook integration and Birthday Wishes campaigns that help attract investors. They now have 140 million users and more than USD 30 million raised. Causes is widely used to launch “action” campaigns, like boycotts, petitions and pledges.
CauzeVox is known for its set of tools and templates allowing proponents to design campaigns, amplify support on their websites and social media sites, track a campaigns progress and utilize derived data. It caters to both non-profit organizations and for-profit initiatives.
Crowdfunder creates a seamless blend between donation-based and investment crowdfunding models. It mixes online and offline crowdfunding, putting tremendous emphasis on businesses’ long-term growth.
Crowdrise is a site for charities to raise money. Anyone can sign up to volunteer to launch a fundraising campaign for a charity already registered on the site. It has taken the best features of crowdfunding platforms and opened it up for any individual to support charity. Thus, everyone can instantly become a social entrepreneur for a cause they believe in.
Crowdtilt support various charitable causes & nonprofit organizations. Crowdtilt automatically provide “tax deductible receipts for donations made to a U.S. 501 (c)(3) nonprofit classification.”
All about education platform that can help raise funds for schools, children and teachers. According to the online literature, “DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.” Oprah Winfrey once said “A revolutionary charity” while Stephen Colbert comment “You know exactly who you’re helping.”
FirstGiving is a long standing platform focused on the need of non-profits. It offers peer-to-peer fundraising pages, event fundraising and registration, and event ticketing. In addition, FirstGiving offers a number of educational materials, including webinars, e-books and blogs for those organizations who are new to peer-to-peer fundraising methods.
Fundable is helping startup companies get crowdfunded. According to their online site, “They’ve built the largest business crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to helping companies raise capital. On their first year, they were able to generate $80 million in funding commitements from various customers, friends, and investors.
FundRazr is dedicated to raising money for just about anything: from personal causes, non-profits to entrepreneurial projects. It has a deep social network integration allowing proponents to connect people in their network.
Charity begins at home. This is an excellent way to help out your family members’ social causes, a friend’s charitable foundation, or raise money to fund medical expenses of your love ones. According to their online literature, “GiveForward is an online fundraising and donation website, and the easiest way to raise money for a loved one in need. We are the #1 platform to start a medical fundraiser and the only site with fundraising coaches who provide fundraising ideas and guidance on how to raise money online.”
GoFundMe is a platform that allows raising money for a cause or even for oneself. It features widgets, a dashboard with social media integration and a provision for multiple donation pages, making amplifying the exposure of a campaign more possible.
London-based GoGetFunding can be used to raise money for a variety of causes, even for paying for one’s pet’s medical bills. It can be used for public or private projects posted by anyone. According to their online literature, GoGetFunding is a crowdfunding website that lets you raise money for anything that matters to you. From personal causes and events to projects and more. We’ve helped people from all over the world raise millions online.”
GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising website that offers social entrepreneurs and non-profits around the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised approximately USD 168 million from 427,204 donors who have supported 11,894 projects.
According to their website literature, HelpingB is the world’s first crowdfunding platform for young social entrepreneurs. On their online literature, HelpingB strives to help changemakers bring their ideas to life. While many crowdfunding platforms exist, none cater specifically for this demographic and time and time again, this age bracket has proven to bring out exceptional products into the market, ones that positively transform the lives of so many communities.
IndieGogo is popular for the fact that it allows the proponent to keep whatever he or she has raised, as opposed to other sites, such as Kickstarter, that requires one to reach a goal in order to receive the money. It was also instrumental in funding “art for social good” projects. A notable non-profit project that IndieGogo has helped fund was the campaign for SlutWalk Seattle, which aimed to raise awareness for rape crimes in Seattle.
Invested.in gives individuals tools to get started and grow their own crowdfunding communities to support donation-based fundraising for a specific group or niche.
This site encourages its community members to create, fund and be involved in local environmental projects. Ioby is specialized in campaigns dealing with environmental issues in urban neighborhoods.
Kickstarter is specialized in fund projects from the creative fields, from photography and film to publishing and technology. While originally designed for creative arts, many technology entrepreneurs now use the site. It has helped fund “art for social good” projects which have found challenges in obtaining funds through traditional methods.
Kiva lets its members make charitable and interest-free microloans to budding entrepreneurs throughout the world. Kiva makes the proponents updated on the progress of the loan through e-mails and live updates on the site. Once the loan is repaid, it can be used to fund another loan or be withdrawn to be spent on something else.
Microplace enables its members to make investments towards the global fight against poverty. Uniquely, the investors actually receive money back in the form of quarterly interest payments. Additionally, when one’s investment matures, he or she can choose to get the money back or roll it over into another investment.
MoolaHoop is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform created by women to help women harness the “power of the crowd” to grow their businesses. It enables female entrepreneurs, business owners and managers to obtain financial support by reaching out to existing and prospective customers, in exchange for rewards in the form of discounts on products and services.
Network for Good
Network for Good is an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profits. It was founded in 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems and Yahoo. It is reported to have processed over USD 1 billion since its inception.
OpenIDEO offers a way to include a wider range of people in the design process of a project through brainstorms, conception and evaluation. Through this platform, community members are able to provide feedback in each stage of a project’s development up until a solution in created and supported by the community. OpenIDEO launched a one-year challenge “How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income countries” which was supported by hundreds of community members. As of press time, Oxfam and Nokia have been testing a combination of the winning ideas.
Peoplefund.it & Crowdfunder.co.uk
Started in 2011, Peoplefund.it was originally focused on business ideas that “might just change the world”. Its aim was purportedly to launch a generation of entrepreneurs, businesses and charities who are commercially sustainable and have social innovation at their heart. These days PeopleFund.it is general purpose crowdfunding website and claims to be the biggest in the UK. Peoplefund.it has now joined forces with Crowdfunder.co.uk, which makes Crowdfunder.co.uk the largest crowdfunding network in the United Kingdom.
Pledgemusic is specifically geared towards helping budding musicians and music artists. For all non-profit organizations and social enterprises who are related to the music industry, then this is your crowdfunding site. Unlike other music-related sites, Pledgemusic’s interface is observably persuasive and intuitive. Backers are guaranteed a reward, which is usually a digital download of the produced album of the artists that they support.
Run from Australia, Pozible has a global platform for all types of projects, with emphasis on creative projects and ideas. According to the site’s literature, “Pozible can also be a gateway for discovering and supporting inspirational projects and thinkers directly. By becoming actively involved in bringing more attention to bold new ideas, art, products and the talented people who conceive them, project supporters become a vital part of a true creative community.”
Rally.org has a dedicated crowdfunding platform for various humanitarian and altruistic advocacies. According to their online literature, “raise money for social and political change and spread awareness about important issues. Rally.org is an easy-to-use storytelling platform that’s designed to empower technical and non-technical users to fundraise online and build social awareness on a large scale.”
Razoo is exclusively for social good causes. It divides fundraisers into four major categories: non-profits, individuals, corporations and foundations, and each category has its own benefits. It boats of having helped 14,000 causes and raised USD 100 million.
Rockethub is a broad platform geared towards artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. It uses a keep-what-you-raise model that rewards a proponent for hitting his or her funding goal. It also has a Success School, teaching proponents the basics, preparing them for launching and running their projects, as well as how to manage funders.
StartSomeGood connects social entrepreneurs with financial and intellectual capital. The site is exclusively for projects that address a social issue, and provides rewards based on donation amounts. Both for-profits and non-profit social enterprises are allowed to post fund-raising campaigns to the site.
Sellaband offers 100% freedom for music artists: They are free to make the deal with any label, management company or publisher. As of press time, Sellaband has reportedly coordinated recording sessions of more than 80 music artists and has purportedly raised USD 4 million.
Somolend is a site for lending for small business in the US. Debt-based investment funding is exclusive to qualified businesses with existing operations. It has partnered with banks to provide loans and help small business owners bring their family and friends into the effort. It has begun expanding into multiple cities and markets in the US.
StayClassy offers year-round campaigns, event and/or peer-to-peer fundraising. Through its fundraising management platform, it offer peer-to-peer fundraising pages, fundraising event ticket and registration, and a fully customizable online donation forms. Additionally, StayClassy’s platform can easily integrate with Salesforce CRM. Team Rubicon, a first responder force, used StayClassy to raise fund after a tornado razed Joplin, Missouri in 2011. The campaign raised USD 35,723. It’s an “online fundraising for the modern nonprofit.”
It’s all about t-shirts and you can include your social cause campaigns using their teeshirt crowdfunding platform. Non-profit organizations and social enterprises who wanted to eradicate poverty, build schools for the underprivileged, or just about any social good initiatives can be included. Teespring is the most ideal way to design and sell custom apparel online for any social cause.
The first crowdfunding site in Europe, Ulule is one of the leading crowdfunding sites, and is known as the only one to operate in six different languages. Since its launch in 2010, the site claims to have made financing possible to 7852 projects and have attracted users from 140 countries.
Ushahidi is a non-profit technology company that engages in developing free and open-source programs for information collection, data visualization and mapping. It was originally conceived to map and trace instances of violence in Kenya in early 2008, but has since broaden its scope of work from human rights to software development.
USEED is geared towards crowdfunding for higher-education institutions. It allows students, faculty and alumni to share their stories and spread word about the campaign to increase donations from an institution’s internal community and communities around it.
A simple way to source funding and it’s 100% free according to the site. According to the website literature, “Fundraising with YouCaring is absolutely free for fundraiser organizers. There are no fees to create an online fundraiser and no fees charged by YouCaring when people donate to your fundraiser. Running an online fundraiser, with YouCaring or any other fundraising site, does require a third-party credit card processor. We give you the option of working with PayPal or WePay. Both of these processors charge similar processing fees for donations, typically 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. Each accepts all major credit cards and even checks.” You can raise money for for your community or a social cause, education & tuition fundraising for poor children, faith-based service projects and life threatening medical & health care costs.
Crowdfunding is a developing fundraising platform for non-profit organizations, fair-trade and ethical fashion houses, impact investing firms, and social enterprises, creating a synergy between the worlds of entrepreneurship and social good philosophy, and allowing a wider base of investors to access to back companies for both profits and purpose.
Anyone who is and will be involved in crowdfunding in whatever capacity is sure to make a difference for a project or business owner, and also help build a new and more collaborative economy.
Let us know if there are more crowdfunding sites that we should include. Email [email protected]
Other articles about crowdfunding:
- Crowdfunding: Capitalizing on Connectivity and Community (Click here)
- Why Crowdfunding Propels Social Good Idealism Globally (Click here)