April 26, 2011

15 ways to crowdfund your startup or project

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social-entrepreneur-funding

 

Have you considered asking the community to support your new enterprise?

Target audience: Social enterprises, nonprofits, volunteer groups, sustainable businesses, community organizations.

Guest post by Kerry Given
Green Marketing TV

Finding funding can be one of the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs. Fortunately, there is a growing number of options for social entrepreneurs and founders looking for capital to start or expand their social enterprise, startup or nonprofit organization and do more good in the world.

One non-traditional funding opportunity that has seen exponential growth in recent years is the phenomenon of “crowdfunding.” Family and friends have been one of the most common sources of venture funding capital for centuries. Crowdfunding takes this age-old source of venture funding and brings it into the digital age.

Thanks to social media and other forms of modern technology, entrepreneurs are able to build networks of friends, colleagues and like-minded individuals more easily and effectively than ever before. Crowdfunding websites allow entrepreneurs or project leaders to leverage these networks to gain funding.

Typically, entrepreneurs post a request for funding on a crowdfunding site with a detailed project description. Depending on the site, funding may be provided as a loan or a donation. Once the funding request is posted, the entrepreneurs use their networks to spread the word about their project to potential donors through word of mouth, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Crowdfunding is not for everyone. The majority of crowdfunding sites fund entrepreneurs on an all-or-nothing basis. If the project is fully funded when the deadline arrives, the money is given to the entrepreneur. If it is not fully funded, it is returned to the donors to keep or donate to another project. So it’s important to have a compelling project or story and to be a skillful marketer and networker to ensure that word about your project reaches enough potential donors to fully fund the project before the deadline. If you’re confident that your social enterprise has what it takes to become a crowdfunding success story, you may find crowdfunding to be the perfect option for your fundraising efforts.

The following is a list of crowdfunding websites that can help your social enterprise, sustainable business or nonprofit organization get off the ground:

33needs

33 Needs: Connecting microinvestors & social enterpreneurs

133needs is a recent crowdfunding startup that connects microinvestors with social entrepreneurs who have big ideas in categories such as sustainable food, health, education and the environment. Investors can earn a percentage of revenue in exchange for their support.

appbackr

AppBackr: Offset app development costs

2A specialty crowdfunding site that may be useful to some social enterprises, AppBackr allows Apple developers to get funding upfront for iPhone, iPod and iPad apps in the concept stage by selling the app wholesale to backers, who receive a percentage of the profits for the apps they have purchased. Many app buyers also assist developers with marketing and promoting their apps to ensure that their investment is fully recouped. With a growing number of social enterprises tapping into the explosive apps market to raise awareness and sell products or services, AppBackr may be a useful tool to help offset app development costs, and even gain some extra promotional help.

buzzbnk

Buzzbnk: Supporting a wide range of fields

3Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding platform especially for social enterprises that allow funders to donate either money or time to support social enterprises working in a wide variety of fields. Though based in the UK, it is open to social ventures operating anywhere in the world. Social enterprises must submit their project proposal to Buzzbnk and the Buzzbnk team will work with the social enterprise to help develop appropriate fundraising targets and benefits or rewards to offer funders.

causevox

CauseVox: Fundraising pages for nonprofits

4CauseVox offers nonprofit organizations a fully customizable fundraising page that makes collecting money from supporters easy. Supporters can also create their own personalized fundraising pages. Social media integration makes it easy to embed YouTube videos, Flickr slideshows and more.

profounder

ProFounder: Investors share in the profits

5ProFounder caters to entrepreneurs – social or otherwise – who are looking for alternative sources of venture capital. ProFounder provides a secure platform where entrepreneurs can raise money from family members, friends and other connections, who then receive a share of the profits when the business they have invested in succeeds. This revenue sharing system is good for investors and good for entrepreneurs, because it doesn’t commit entrepreneurs to making debt payments (potentially with high interest rates) during periods of bad business, only when the business is successful and profitable.

Kickstarter: Supporting a wealth of creative projects

6One of the best-known crowdfunding websites is Kickstarter, which rose to fame after the open source Facebook alternative Diaspora raised more than $200,000 on the site. Kickstarter funds creative projects such as independent films and music albums, books, software, citizen journalism, theatrical productions and more. Project creators are required to offer rewards to donors, such as bonus musical tracks, autographed books, signed prints, free performance tickets or something similar. Although Kickstarter cannot be used to fund social enterprise start-ups, it can be a great source of funding for social enterprises and nonprofits hoping to use creative projects to raise awareness of their cause, as well as for social-minded creative enterprises such as nonprofit theater companies and independent music producers. Other great crowdfunding sites focusing on creative projects include IndieGoGo, RocketHub, UK-based Crowdfunder and Australian-based Pozible.

chipin

ChipIn: Embed a widget, raise $

7ChipIn is a simple widget that can be posted on blogs, websites and many social media profiles. It allows individuals, private groups, non-profits and others to raise money easily online.

crowdcube

Crowdcube: Equity-based investment community

8UK-based Crowdcube bills itself as “the world’s first equity-based crowdfunding community dedicated to business investment.” In exchange for microinvestments of as little as £10, investors can fund worthy enterprises and in exchange gain a share of direct equity in the business. Crowdcube is currently available only to UK-based investors and entrepreneurs who have or can start a UK Limited Company, but hopes to expand to other regions in the future.

givefm

Give.fm: Create your own campaign

9Give.fm allows nonprofits and individuals to set up a campaign to raise money for causes ranging from local soccer teams to international efforts to fight poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and more. The site works by allowing donors to set up recurring microdonations of as little as 10 cents per day.

peerbackers

Peerbackers: Raise funds from your peers

10Peerbackers offers entrepreneurs and nonprofits of all types the opportunity to raise funding for their idea from their friends, family and peers. Rather than receive financial returns or equity, backers receive rewards such as free or discounted versions of the products or services offered by the company.

First Giving

FirstGiving: Raise funds for your favorite cause

11FirstGiving has helped more than 8,000 nonprofit organizations connect with more than 13 million donors and raise more than $1 billion to date, it reports. The site allows nonprofit supporters to create their own fundraising page to raise money for the cause of their choice.

Razoo: Simple, secure tools to raise funds

12Razoo is a crowdfunding platform for nonprofits and charities that allows individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations to set up a fundraising page to raise money for their own cause or their other cause of choice. Razoo also allows team campaigns.

Sponsume

Sponsume: Free fundraising platform

13Sponsume is a crowdfunding startup, launched in 2010, that allows both creative projects and social enterprises to raise funding on the site. Sponsume is currently free to use, but does plan to start charging fees in the future.

spotus

Spot.us: Funding citizen journalism

14Spot.us is a one-of-a-kind crowdfunding platform that supports citizen journalists by funding their investigations of specific topics. Spot.us can be a very useful tool for organizations seeking to raise awareness through hard-hitting investigative journalism, community reporting or similar means.

StartSomeGood

Start Some Good: New kid on the block

15Start Some Good is a new crowdfunding startup that launched in February with the goal of connecting social entrepreneurs with crowdfunded venture capital. Start Some Good allows both for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises to post fundraising campaigns to the site. Team members will help review the campaign’s goals and rewards to ensure they’re a good match for Start Some Good’s philosophy.

Have we left any crowdfunding websites off this list? Please leave a comment below!

 
Image at top by Matt Wengerd on Flickr. Republished from GreenMarketing.tv.
Related

24 tools for fundraising with social media (Socialbrite)

9 Web platforms to help you change the world (Socialbrite)

12 awesome platforms for social good (Socialbrite)

Ideavibes: A new way to do crowdsourcing & crowdfunding campaigns (Socialbrite)

JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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  • We are launching Bloom VC (Venture Catalyst) in Scotland.

    Our goal is to make funding startups, community projects and social ventures easier, safer and more people-oriented. We enable startup ventures to raise funds without diluting equity or losing control of the project, and we will also provide the support required to help all new ventures blossom.
    http://www.bloomvc.com is our holding site, which is currently taking registrations (some of the projects are amazing) and we'll launch our beta site in summer.
    We are also on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bloom-VC/1119336455

  • Marc Llopart

    There is a crowdfunding platform dedicated solely to funding educational projects, the website is called Funding 4 Learning, http://www.funding4learning.com, I think that this type of websites are interesting initiatives.

  • There is another new crowdfunding site GreenFunder that just launched last week: http://www.greenfunder.com

    • Hi Stacy, didn’t know that, very cool. Thanks for sharing! I just spent time in CrowdFlower’s San Francisco offices yesterday.

  • Hi – I would just like to add that Buzzbnk allows social enterprises to raise not just donations, plus also pre-sales and 3 different types of loans (revenue participation, fixed interest rate and principle only).

    Buzzbnk itself is a social enterprise founded by leading foundations in the UK and over 70% of profits will be reinvested in the social enterprise community.

    [email protected]

  • Great post here! Do you know of any fundraising software that is available to non-profits that will allow the artists in our community to launch their own campaigns via our website? (For example, we love Kickstarter, but they have not released their API) We are an arts non-profit and foundation, so we would like to maintain our brand, but offer a great service to the artists we serve.

    To be clear: We don’t want to post a single fundraising page for our non-profit. We would like artists to land on our site and develop their own campaigns. Their donors/contributors would receive a tax-deductible donation via our non-profit.

    Thanks for your feedback and ideas!

    • Anonymous

      pleas pray for mexico city y kyle busch

  • Wayne

    Check out our newly launched http://www.ricebowlproject.com, the first to integrate crowdfunding with social entrepreneurship. We organize by end causes and project type. We are looking to launch projects on August 1, so anyone interested in posting should submit a project proposal by July 21.

  • Sponsors welcomes a wide variety of projects. Films, documentaries, new albums, concerts, software, dance exhibitions, plays, inventions, startups, photography, games, new products, fashion, food etc..

  • This is a great list. Can we add http://www.webiversity.org to it?

  • This is a great list. Can we add http://www.webiversity.org to it?

  • This is a great list. Can we add http://www.webiversity.org to it?

  • Anonymous

    Great list. I like the real estate. As you know that the market is mess right now. It is good way to marketing your product.

    buying and selling of business

  • Anonymous

    Great list. I like the real estate. As you know that the market is mess right now. It is good way to marketing your product.

    buying and selling of business

  • Anonymous

    Great list. I like the real estate. As you know that the market is mess right now. It is good way to marketing your product.

    buying and selling of business

  • Anonymous

    Great list. I like the real estate. As you know that the market is mess right now. It is good way to marketing your product.

    buying and selling of business

  • Guillaume Desclee

    Hello guys,

    One more player in your list… We launched http://www.mymicroinvest.com a european crowdsourcing platfrom that helps early stage entrepreneurs with great business ideas to develop their project and achieve their goal.

    We provide a platform for entrepreneurs to connect their business ideas with supporters, potential partners and business angels networks to achieve their project.

    Here you have our video teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGbMPpE6IaE

    In two months we will be able to raise funds over the intrenet and become a crowdfunding platform!

    We would like to raise our Internet visibility and spread the word. You might have an interest in that platform and maybe you could drop a line about us on your website? http://www.mymicroinvest.com – That would be great!

    If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask me!

    Regards,

  • Guillaume Desclee

    Hello guys,

    One more player in your list… We launched http://www.mymicroinvest.com a european crowdsourcing platfrom that helps early stage entrepreneurs with great business ideas to develop their project and achieve their goal.

    We provide a platform for entrepreneurs to connect their business ideas with supporters, potential partners and business angels networks to achieve their project.

    Here you have our video teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGbMPpE6IaE

    In two months we will be able to raise funds over the intrenet and become a crowdfunding platform!

    We would like to raise our Internet visibility and spread the word. You might have an interest in that platform and maybe you could drop a line about us on your website? http://www.mymicroinvest.com – That would be great!

    If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask me!

    Regards,

  • Guillaume Desclee

    Hello guys,

    One more player in your list… We launched http://www.mymicroinvest.com a european crowdsourcing platfrom that helps early stage entrepreneurs with great business ideas to develop their project and achieve their goal.

    We provide a platform for entrepreneurs to connect their business ideas with supporters, potential partners and business angels networks to achieve their project.

    Here you have our video teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGbMPpE6IaE

    In two months we will be able to raise funds over the intrenet and become a crowdfunding platform!

    We would like to raise our Internet visibility and spread the word. You might have an interest in that platform and maybe you could drop a line about us on your website? http://www.mymicroinvest.com – That would be great!

    If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask me!

    Regards,

  • A good resource, I’d like to add http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk to it also – we’re the sister site to Crowdcube.com, UK based, focusing on crowdfunding for creative or social/community projects

  • Web2guru

    crowdfundnow.com

  • GoGet Funding

    Hi Kerry! That’s a great collection of sites you mention.

    I’d just like to add our own crowdfunding site – Go Get Funding (http://gogetfunding.com). We launched in late 2011 and have helped individuals and businesses raise several thousands of dollars so far. We continue to grow thanks in part to our innovative social features.

    Also, just a note that Profounder (mentioned in your article) is now shutting down.

    All the best!
    Sam

  • Chris Olenik

    If anyone is getting ready to launch a campaign, check out this Crowdfunding & Kickstarter Advice first… http://agency20.com/crowdfunding-kickstarter-strategy-advice-empoweryourcrowd-by-co23464-a2pt0/

  • John Jordan

    Thanks for the great list of platforms!
    There is a new one that I want to mention: Impact Trader ( http://www.impacttrader.com/ )

    Impact Trader is an alternative stock market where you can buy zero-interest Impact Bonds to fund Social Enterprise projects.

    Once the JOBS Act goes into effect, these Impact Trader will begin offering for-profit investing in social enterprises. This will allow people with any amount of money to get into Impact Investing.

  • Kutu-Luna Scientific Landscape (KLSL) is a not-for profit project of Conservation, biodiversity, wildlife and Livelihoods in the District of Mai-Ndombe, in the DR of Congo. The project aims to establish 300 hundreds ha of  landscape, improving the livelihoods of rural households, post-havest storage and processing; increasing and diversifying agricumltural productivity and promoting agribusiness. We’re looking for start-up fundings, technical partners and other facilities. For more details: sending an email to: Mr. John NSHOLE: [email protected] or over skype: john.nshole.

  • Jose Luis Castellano
  • Jose Luis Castellano

    If we sum up the 10 from this post we have a very complete list:
    http://www.freakzion.com/index.php/The-Blog-January-2013/funding-your-project-the-platforms.html

  • sepelka
  • Sergi Rojas

    I find this other platform that rewards make it different from another’s crowdfunding platforms: http://www.lemonfruits.com.

  • Terra Funda

    We just listed a few new projects on a crowdfunding platform (groundbreaker.co) and invite you to follow them if you are interested in seeing some ongoing transactions:
    projects.terrafunda.com

  • Dolly Townsend

    I am having a tough time getting my new nonprofit off the ground. My article 3, LLC name filing and FEIN is done, but now it is going to be about $3000 to finish the start up for fees and such. Secretary of State (Ohio) says that I cannot do crowdfunding until I file all of it, but can I start a crowdfunding as an individual to get the funds needed? Or find a 3rd party to do it for us? Help…I need some ideas here.