We have the list of crowdfunding platforms for various causes — personal, business, and creative. A few examples are Charitable and Fundly for personal funds, Fundable and Give for small businesses money, and Kickstarter and Slated for creative capital.
Looking to cut out the middleman? Add a PayPal Donate button to your website and/or social media posts. We have the step-by-step instructions.
In This Article
Asking for Money Online
The three primary uses of online fundraising are to raise money for personal use (including medical and emergency expenses), to gather business start-up capital, or to pursue a creative venture — and most crowdfunding sites fall into one of these categories.
Most platforms involve fees. When you’re planning how much you want to raise, keep in mind processing fees, platform fees, and transaction fees. Processing fees and platform fees are usually a percentage of the total amount you raise; transaction fees are typically charged per donation.
To help you find the right fundraising platform that will help you reach your goal, we’ve divided this list by cause: personal causes, startups, and creative capital.
Platforms for Personal Causes
- How it works: Charitable is a WordPress plugin designed to help nonprofits and developers accept donations. You can create a campaign, customize donation forms and emails, and access a donation dashboard.
- Cost to use: Basic features are free, but certain upgrades are considered paid add-ons.
- Payments: Sent via PayPal
- Learn more about Charitable
2. Custom Ink
- How it works: You can design up to six different T-shirts or promotional products to sell on a fundraising page created by Custom Ink. You set the product prices; contributors can donate above and beyond the cost of the product.
- Cost to use: There is a 2.9 percent processing fee per donation; campaigns that do not meet the print minimum will have their orders refunded and Custom Ink will not print the shirts.
- Payments: Sent via Paypal or check after your fundraiser ends
- Learn more about Custom Ink
- How it works: Fundly is a website and app that helps you create a fundraising page that integrates with YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. The Fundly app (for iOs) allows you to thank donors, send emails, and post blog-like updates.
- Cost to use: There is a platform fee of 4.9 percent, a credit card processing fee of 2.9 percent, and a $0.30 transaction fee.
- Payments: Withdrawals can be requested via bank transfer
- Learn more about Fundly
- How it works: GoFundMe is a website and app that helps you create a fundraising page with built-in connections to Facebook, Twitter, and email. It also offers 24/7 customer support.
- Cost to use: There is a 2.9 percent processing fee and a $0.30 transaction fee.
- Payments: Withdrawals can be requested via check or bank transfer
- Learn more about GoFundMe
- How it works: GoGetFunding is a website that helps you create a fundraising page. You can raise money in 23 worldwide currencies.
- Cost to use: There is a 4 percent fee on funds raised, a 2.9 percent processing fee, and a $0.25 or $0.30 transaction fee if you use PayPal or Stripe.
- Payments: Immediate deposit to PayPal; seven-day clearing period for Stripe and GoGetFunding payments
- Learn more about GoGetFunding
Platforms for Personal Loans
- How it works: LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects borrowers and lenders through an online marketplace.
- Cost to use: Rates range from 5.98 to 35.89 percent APR, and there is a one-time origination fee of 1 to 6 percent.
- Payments: Loan funds are directly deposited into your bank account
- Learn more about LendingClub
Platforms for Startups, Small Businesses, etc.
- How it works: Crowdfunder focuses on fundraising for early-stage startups. You must submit documentation before creating your profile, including a term sheet, executive summary, and investor pitch deck. Most users have high-dollar goals, and many are currently raising two to three times more than their original target.
- Cost To use: Fundraising plans start at $299/month.
- Payments: Transactions take place offline with the investor(s)
- Learn more about Crowdfunder
- How it works: Fundable is a crowdfunding platform for U.S. businesses seeking capital in exchange for equity or debt. Investors expect to be able to review operating agreements or corporate by-laws, financial statements, customer and supplier agreements, patent applications, etc.
- Cost to use: Use of the platform starts at $179/month.
- Payments: Equity arrangements are determined in the agreement between you and the investor; reward funds are processed through WePay once your campaign goal is met
- Learn more about Fundable
- How it works: Give is a WordPress plugin that helps you customize donation forms, generate receipts, and track fundraising activity.
- Cost to use: Basic features are free, but certain upgrades are considered paid add-ons.
- Payments: Sent via PayPal
- Learn more about Give
- How it works: Indiegogo helps you create a fundraising campaign and sell your product/creation in its marketplace.
- Cost to use: There is a 5 percent platform fee and a 3 percent plus $0.30 fee for third-party payment providers.
- Payments: Sent by bank transfer 15 days after a campaign ends
- Learn more about Indiegogo
- How it works: RocketHub lets you pitch an idea, product, or business to its funders and donors; it will also help you find additional funding.
- Cost to use: Rates and fees vary depending on the funding agreements offered.
- Payments: Payments are determined by individual funding agreements
- Learn more about RocketHub
Platforms for Small Business Loans
- How it works: Kiva focuses on crowdfunded business loans for U.S. entrepreneurs, and it also offers a fundraising platform to crowdfund loan repayment. The borrower applies for a small business loan and goes through an underwriting and approval process. After the loan posts to Kiva, lenders can support in increments of $25 or more.
- Cost to use: Loans funded by Kiva have 0 percent interest; third-party loan rates vary.
- Payments: Loans funds are sent via PayPal or the standard method of your Kiva Field Partner
- Learn more about Kiva
13. Funding Circle
- How it works: Funding Circle approves loans for small businesses between $25,000 and $500,000. Applying online takes about 10 minutes, and you should hear back from the platform in about an hour. At that point, you’ll need to provide additional information and necessary documentation. Within a week, you should hear back from Funding Circle with an offer.
- Cost to use: Rates start at 4.99 percent, with repayment periods of six months to five years.
- Payments: Loan funds are directly deposited into your bank account in as little as five days
- Learn more about Funding Circle
Platforms for Creative Capital
- How it works: Kickstarter helps you find funding for creative projects like writing a book or recording an album. You must offer rewards in exchange for donations — this could be a copy of your book, song, or a number of other non-monetary bonuses.
- Cost to use: There is a 5 percent fee on funds raised, a 3 percent processing fee, and a $0.20 transaction fee.
- Pledges under $10 have a discounted micropledge fee of 5 percent, plus $0.05 per pledge.
- Payments: Sent directly to your bank account 14 days after your project has reached its fundraising goal; if the goal is not met, no funds are collected
- Learn more about Kickstarter
- How it works: Patreon is a platform where artists can share content with paying subscribers. Subscribers are called “patrons” and can choose a level of support for the artists they follow, paying more for perks like early access to new content. Nonprofits are also welcome to use Patreon for ongoing, subscription support.
- Cost to use: There is a 5 percent platform fee, plus payment processing fees and a payout fee.
- Payments: Sent through direct bank deposit, PayPal, Payoneer, or Stripe
- Learn more about Patreon
- How it works: PledgeMusic lets you sell music-related content and merchandise for donations. Some suggestions from PledgeMusic are: “physical items like CDs, vinyl, T-shirts, posters, lyric sheets. … Experiences are also great — have a Skype call with a fan, give a guitar lesson, bring them backstage at a show.”
- Cost to use: There is a flat fee of 15 percent.
- Payments: Funds are released in increments as project milestones are met
- Learn more about PledgeMusic
- How it works: Seed&Spark partners with organizations and brands to offer grants, funding, and distribution opportunities to successful filmmaking projects.
- Cost to use: There is a 5 percent platform fee, a 2.9 percent credit card processing fee, and a $0.30 transaction fee.
- Payments: Sent by direct bank deposit through Stripe once you’ve been given the “green light,” meaning you’ve reached 80 percent of your goal.
- Learn more about Seed&Spark
- How it works: Slated creates a Package Score based on information you submit about your project. Filmmakers, talent, investors, and distributors use the score to gauge value. Investors come to you.
- Cost to use: Financial transactions are made independently of the site.
- Payments: Arranged by you and the investor(s)
- Learn more about Slated
- How it works: Ulule helps you set up a campaign with a financial target. You must offer rewards in exchange for support. If a campaign goal is not reached, donors will be refunded.
- Cost to use: Fees are collected on campaigns that reach their goals only. For a list of fees, see Ulule’s commission page; be aware that Ulule is based in Europe.
- Payments: Sent via PayPal or direct deposit once your campaign ends
- Learn more about Ulule
Accepting Donations with PayPal
Another fundraising option is to create a PayPal donation button using your existing (or new) business account. You can easily embed a donation button on your website, and PayPal hosts a donation page you can link to from a blog or social media post. Setting up a donation button is simple. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
1. Go to PayPal buttons. Under the Tools drop-down menu, click All Tools and scroll down to PayPal buttons.
2. Select the Donate button.
3. Fill in options for Step 1. Add your organization name and an optional ID if you’d like to track its conversion. Under Customize Text or Appearance, you can choose either to use PayPal’s ready-made button (big or small, with or without credit card logos) or create your own.
To create your own button, you’ll need a URL to the image you want to use as your button. If you have a website, uploading this image to your media library may create the link you need for PayPal. While we can’t guarantee that every platform will create a link to your image, WordPress has this functionality. In WordPress, open your media library in the WordPress dashboard and click Add New at the top of the page.
Once the image is uploaded, copy the URL and paste it into the PayPal button form.
If you can’t upload your image to a website, you can use PhotoBucket to get the link instead. Simply create a free account, upload your image, copy the direct link, and paste it into the PayPal form.
Next, you’ll decide whether to ask for donations of fixed amounts or let donors determine how much they want to contribute. Then, you’ll choose whether you want your campaign to display your email address and/or your merchant account ID.
5. Open Step 2. Don’t click on the Create Button just yet. Select the box in Step 2 so it saves your changes.
6. Fill in Step 3 options. Choose whether you want to let donors message you, if you want to collect their email addresses, and if you want to redirect them to dedicated pages on your own site. If someone cancels his or her donation, you can redirect to an “Are you sure?” page, and if someone chooses to donate, you can redirect to a “Thank you” page that may even include a link to a free download or digital gift.
7. Now go ahead and click Create Button. This will open a page containing the code you will need to copy and paste into your website where you want your button to appear (under Website) or the link to your donation form (under Email).
When donors click the email link, a box will open in their browser like the one below. If you allowed donors to customize their own donation amount, there will be a cursor like the one below so they can type in an amount.
If you need more than a Donate button to meet your fundraising goals, there are a number of other buttons you can create using the same process, including:
There are a number of crowdfunding sites to help you raise money, whether your goal is personal or business related. Many platforms charge various fees, so you may choose to cut the middleman and go straight to PayPal by creating a Donate button that can be embedded on a website, linked to an email, or shared on social media.