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Crowdfunding has made online fundraising for schools, nonprofits and small businesses extremely accessible. While it is easier than ever to create a personal donation website, getting funded is still a tough battle for most.

If you build it, they will come. That’s the approach many people take when trying to raise money for their organization, business or creative project. What few take into account is that more people are using crowdfunding to finance their dreams than ever before, but donation dollars are limited.

How can individuals and groups use crowdfunding to raise money successfully?

Below we attempt to answer some of the most pressing questions about crowdfunding. More importantly, this guide was designed to provide simple steps for anyone starting their first online fundraising campaign.

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the process of using one’s personal online network to raise money for a cause or project.

An individual or group can create a personal donation website or fundraising page with their funding goal, deadline and description of the fundraiser. On this page payments can be made to the individual and the money is held by the crowdfunding website until a specified amount is reached. Donations can be made by friends and family members or even complete strangers!

Popular platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and IndieGoGo allow almost anyone to start a fundraising campaign and begin collecting money within minutes.

Online Donations and Fundraising

One of the most common questions people have about crowdfunding is what it can be used for. The simple answer is that online crowdfunding can be used to raise money for practically anything!

Some of the most common types of projects that have successfully used crowdfunding include:

  • Disaster Relief
  • Creative Projects
  • Small Business Financing
  • School & Sports Fundraising
  • Medical Bills
  • Political Campaigns

Crowdfunding Sites

Everyday a new crowdfunding site seems to pop-up. This means more opportunity for fundraisers to reach a wider audience and raise money for their cause or project. As the crowdfunding market grows more sites are beginning to focus on specific causes or creative projects.

Below are a few of the most popular crowdfunding sites on the Internet:


Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

About Kickstarter:
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.

Kickstarter allows creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it. Kickstarter does not allow charity, cause, or “fund my life” projects.


Online fundraising for medical expenses, volunteer trips, sports & more!

About GoFundMe:
Launched on May 10, 2010, GoFundMe is a do-it-yourself online fundraising service that has helped thousands of people raise millions of dollars in online donations for the fundraising ideas that matter to them most.

GoFundMe allows regular people to accomplish extraordinary things with easy-to-use personal donation websites. From exciting life events like weddings & graduations to challenging circumstances like accidents & illnesses, the GoFundMe fundraising software remains one of the best ways to raise money online.


The world’s funding platform. Go fund yourself.

About IndieGoGo:
Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create fundraising campaigns to tell their story and get the word out. Indiegogo is also a place to discover what people all over the world are passionate about and how to get involved.

People all over the world are using Indiegogo—both to raise money and to contribute to other people’s passions. There is no limitation on who can use Indiegogo as long as you have a valid bank account.


The Easy Way to Collect Money

About ChipIn:
ChipIn’s mission is to make it easy to collect money. They enable users to organize group payments and fundraisers (“ChipIns”) in a quick, easy, and secure way. ChipIn also makes it simple for organizers to publicize their ChipIns, by providing powerful fundraising widgets that can be embedded in social media.

ChipIn allows anyone to collect money for a personal cause, group purchase, or fundraiser using their own custom ChipIn page.


Launch, Fund, and Fly!

About RocketHub:
RocketHub is the world’s funding machine. RocketHub is an international and open community that has helped thousands of artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists raise millions of dollars.

RocketHub offers an innovative way to raise money and tangible opportunities to take creative products and endeavors to next level. RocketHub is a destination for emerging artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and those who wish to discover and support innovative work.

More Crowdfunding sites:

  • GiveForward
  • Fundable
  • Crowdtilt
  • Crowdfunder
  • AppBackr
  • DonorsChoose

What if You Don’t Get Funded?

For those that are unable to raise enough money with crowdfunding sites there are other options. An alternative to crowdfunding is to take advantage of peer to peer lending.

Peer lending sites operate in a similar way to most fundraising sites. A borrower can post a personal loan request online for almost any purpose. After the request is posted individual investors can fund the loan with as little as $25. Once the loan amount is reached the borrower can have the money deposited into their account immediately. Unlike crowdfunding, however, peer to peer lending loans must be repaid to the individual investors.

Peer to peer lending is completely anonymous and it’s free to submit a loan request.