How to Compare Crowdfunding Websites

Crowdfunding rewards backers based on the level at which they contribute.
Crowdfunding rewards backers based on the level at which they contribute. (Image: money career upstairs image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

Crowdfunding is a way for an individual or organization to raise donated funds for a specific project, in exchange for enticing rewards for the backers of the project. If you are considering setting up a crowdfunding profile for your small business or other project, you will need to choose a crowdfunding website. There are plenty of crowdfunding websites out there. Each has its unique feature set. Some crowdfunding websites serve all types of projects. Other crowdfunding websites target specific niche markets, such as journalism, music or filmmaking. Whatever the niche, crowdfunding websites offer differing ways of presenting your crowdfunding project.

Browse the crowdfunding websites. Start with the two most popular ones, Kickstarter and RocketHub. Observe the way in which existing crowdfunding profiles are set up. Notice which elements are included: project title, description, image, video, funding goal, funding progress, rewards for contributors, existing contributors, crowdfunding blog and other elements. This will give you a benchmark by which to measure other crowdfunding websites.

Compare crowdfunding websites based on your own project needs. Example: If your project idea can only be understood in a visual context, you will definitely need to choose a crowdfunding website that offers the ability to post images and videos. If your project is easily describable in words alone, you can de-emphasize the visual requirement in your search for the perfect crowdfunding website. Another example: if your project falls under a specific niche market for which there is an existing niche crowdfunding website, strongly consider using that niche platform. Journalists, for instance, would use

Read the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding websites you are considering for posting your project. There are two main types of funding structures, all-or-nothing and however-much-you-raise. All-or-nothing models in crowdfunding websites stipulate that the project only gets funded if it meets its fundraising goal by a specific deadline. The pledges of backers are kept in an escrow account until the deadline, at which point the funds are transferred to your project if successful, but returned to the backers if not successful. This may seem strange to those who are new to crowdfunding websites, but the all-or-nothing method has the added benefit of instilling confidence in your potential backers. If your project only raises a few dollars, then those who did contribute will have essentially thrown their money away. But choose your method wisely: for some projects, the however-much-you-raise model might be best.

Experiment. Many crowdfunding websites allow you to "play in the sandbox" before "going live". Test three or four different platforms to find which will be the best fit.

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