2020's Best Crowdfunding Sites (Reviewed & Analysed)

Crowdfunding helps people fund their projects and causes by getting small contributions from a large number of backers. In this article, we’ve listed the best crowdfunding sites out there. To explain what they are and what makes them the best, we’re covering:

  • ✔ Reviews
  • ✔ Ease of use, pros, and cons
  • ✔ Guide to crowdfunding types
  • ✔ FAQ

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Best Crowdfunding Sites In 2020

1. Kickstarter

Industry-standard fees

No deadlines for drafts

Instant campaigns launch

Best For Creative Projects

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With Kickstarter, artists can create a campaign fairly quickly, and start receiving money in no time. They get to keep the campaign as a draft as long as they want to, and are encouraged to offer rewards and add-ons to all backers.

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2. Indiegogo

Flexible funding

Industry-standard fees

Projects can be funded indefinitely

Best Funding Options

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Indiegogo is one of the rare platforms that allow users to keep the money they get, and even continue receiving funds indefinitely. Add to that the option of teamwork and you have all you need for a successful campaign.

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3. Experiment

For scientists

Tax-deductible projects

Many payment options available

Best For The Scientific Community

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Experiment is a brilliant way for scientists to get funding for their experiments, present their findings to a wider audience, and avoid overhead costs.

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4. Patreon

User-friendly

No funding goals or deadlines

Subscription and commission-based funding

Best For Influencers

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Patreon is one of the best crowdfunding sites when it comes to payment. All those who have a fanbase and wish to get a steady monthly income can do so via monthly subscriptions or commissions, rather than a one-time project.

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5. Causes

No platform fees

Serves as a social network as well

Connects activists to representatives

Best For Social Activists And Non-profits

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Causes is a brilliant way to make meaningful change in your community. It’s also one of the best crowdfunding sites for nonprofits in 2020, functions as a social network, and has no platform fees.

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6. GoFundMe

24/7 assistance

No platform fees

Flexible funding

Best For Personal Fundraisers

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GoFundMe is one of the best crowdfunding sites for personal issues. Whether it’s a medical or educational issue or even a problem with your pet, GoFundMe lets you receive funds for yourself or others in need easily (and indefinitely).

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7. CircleUp

Offers financial advice

Connects entrepreneurs and investors

Equity crowdfunding and credit financing available

Best For Early-Stage Consumer Brands

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CircleUp is one of the best crowdfunding sites for startups, especially those with innovative consumer products. Proprietary technology recognizes companies with potential and makes it easy for them to reach investors.

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8. LendingClub

Anonymity

Low service fee

Up to $40,000 for personal loans

Best Debt Crowdfunding

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LendingClub lets both individuals and businesses take quick loans for a low service fee. Though interest rates are somewhat high, if you’re looking for a quick process that protects your identity, LendingClub is the right choice.

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How we created this list - Our Methodology

Crowdfunding can be very helpful, but not all crowdfunding sites are created equal. To make sure our list features only the best crowdfunding sites in 2020, we did thorough research. Those with a complicated sign up/campaign creation process didn’t make it on our list. We looked for websites with a simple and intuitive interface, as well as those with affordable prices.

Here’s what we paid attention to:

✔ How Crowdfunding Sites Work

No matter how useful crowdfunding may be, it still needs to be worth the effort. Unless the sign-up process is easy and creating campaigns is quick and simple, chances are the cons will outweigh the pros. Some of the websites on our list require you to fill in a questionnaire, but we checked to make sure that these questionnaires are short. Overall, the entire campaign creation process takes between a couple of minutes and several days with these sites.

✔ Ease Of Use

The first thing we looked at while reviewing these online crowdfunding sites was whether they’re easy to navigate and whether the entire process – from creating a campaign to withdrawing money – is intuitive.

Next, we searched for those with apps that provide enough value on their own and can either replace going to the website or complement that step.

✔ Pricing

Finally, we chose websites that not only have a good reputation but also offer industry-standard or even lower prices. There are some exceptions, but we made sure those with somewhat higher prices provide a lot of value and are worth the extra money.

At a Glance

  • Industry-standard fees
  • No deadlines for drafts
  • Instant campaigns launch
  • Projects can only run up to 60 days
  • No equity crowdfunding or raising money for charity

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter offers the best crowdfunding for creative projects.

Once you’ve provided some basic information about the campaign, you’ll also need to film a video and post a detailed backstory. Setting up rewards and shipping costs, linking your social accounts, and confirming your identity are the final steps before launching the campaign and accepting contributions. But there’s no need to rush it – feel free to keep your project in draft form for as long as you need to.

In general, 80% of the Kickstarter campaigns can be launched right away. Those which don’t pass the initial screening are put under additional scrutiny by Kickstarter’s Trust & Safety team. This process usually takes up to three days, but if more edits are needed, it may take a while longer to launch the campaign. Kickstarter is among the most successful crowdfunding platforms, and the option of offering various rewards and add-ons has a lot to do with it. Other than certain prohibitions (alcohol, gambling) you can offer anything you want. Kickstarter does have its own app, but it’s geared towards backers, allowing them to stay in the loop.

Backers can fund your project via credit cards only. However, UnionPay, Discover, and JCB cards can only be used to back U.S.-based projects, while Visa Electron is not accepted. There is a 5% platform fee and 3%-5% processing fees. Just keep in mind that Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform – you either reach your goal in 60 days or you don’t get any money.
If you have a creative project you’d like funding for, be it film, music, or design, Kickstarter is the best crowdfunding site to raise the money you need.

At a Glance

  • Flexible funding
  • Industry-standard fees
  • Projects can be funded indefinitely
  • Indiegogo doesn’t control whether or not backers get rewards
  • Your card is charged right away, not after the campaign has met its goal

This BBB-accredited company was founded in 2007 and is still one of the top crowdfunding sites in 2020. It doesn’t have restrictions when it comes to the type of campaign – you can fund a personal project, raise money for nonprofits, and even have a team that will lead the campaign together.

To get started, simply sign up and click “Start a campaign”. You’ll be asked to choose either a project or a cause and answer some basic questions (e.g. are you an individual or a business, where you’re located, etc.). Once you save your campaign as a draft, you have six months to launch it. Otherwise, it will be deleted forever. Indiegogo’s tools make it easy to navigate campaign fields so you can easily add an image, title, a short description, and a video. Though there is no mobile app, with such a user-friendly website, it’s not necessary.

What makes Indiegogo one of the great crowdfunding sites for new products is the fact that you can choose between fixed and flexible funding. By choosing the flexible option, even if you don’t hit the goal, you still get to keep all the money you’ve received. What’s more, if you opt your campaign into InDemand, you can keep on receiving funds even after you’ve reached your goal. With Indiegogo, you can make sure you reach that goal by offering material, personal, and experiential rewards, as well as add-on perks like a VIP discount.

Like most popular crowdfunding sites, Indiegogo has a 5% platform fee. It accepts payment in the form of credit and debit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. There’s also a fee of 3% + $0.30 per each Stripe transaction.

Indiegogo is perfect for everyone who wants to keep all the money they get, as well as those wishing to launch a campaign as a team. And if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s worth knowing that there’s an Experts Directory taking on select campaigns to make the most of them.

At a Glance

  • Many payment options available
  • Occasionally tax-deductible
  • For scientists
  • High platform fee
  • No rewards

This all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform was built in 2012 as a way for scientists to get funding for their experiments. Instead of applying for grants with 50%-60% overhead, they can submit the scientific projects to Experiment’s rigorous team and, if the goal has been met, keep all the money they receive. Some projects may even be tax-deductible, at least if the applicant is based in the USA. It clearly isn’t your usual crowdfunding site, so it’s no wonder that the best crowdfunding site reviews often mention Experiment.

Setting up a project will likely take a week:

  • Define what you want to work on
  • Get endorsements from your peers
  • Submit it for review

Once it’s approved, feel free to share it around, as audience engagement can get you more contributions. If you reach your goal, you have to share your findings with the audience, though there’s no deadline as to when you need to do it. All in all, it’s a pretty intuitive, straightforward process that can give those in the scientific community a push.

Experiment’s 8% platform fee is higher than the industry standard. Payment processing fees are 3%-5%. However, there’s a silver lining. While top fundraising sites in 2020 rarely offer more payment options on top of credit/debit cards, Experiment does. In the U.S., you can choose between an ACH transfer or a check (an additional $20 fee); in Canada and Australia, it’s ACH only, while those from other countries can use PayPal (with an additional $30 fee).

Anyone in the scientific community who wants to conduct an experiment and share their findings with the community should submit their project to Experiment.

At a Glance

  • User-friendly
  • No funding goals or deadlines
  • Subscription and commission-based funding
  • Rewards not available with the basic plan
  • Issues with mobile app

Patreon was founded in 2013 with a different way of crowdfunding in mind. Instead of having backers fund specific projects and asking creators to set a funding goal, this company came up with a subscription-based model. That turned Patreon into one of the most respected crowdfunding sites, especially among influencers, YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and Instagram stars – they all use it to offer different rewards to their fans, based on their subscriptions.

Starting out is insanely easy, as it doesn’t require any campaign-making. Simply add some personal information, link your social media accounts, set up a payment method, and you’re ready to start earning. There’s also an intuitive mobile app used by both creators and Patrons. However, it has been experiencing some issues lately.

Patreon has three pricing tiers:

  • Lite has a 5% platform fee and offers some basic tools
  • Pro has an 8% platform fee, but you’ll get access to membership tiers and analytics
  • Premium has a platform fee of 12% due to offering a dedicated partner manager, team accounts, and more

Patreon is one of the most popular and most reviewed crowdfunding sites, and the company’s strict fraud policy is one of the reasons. As a creator, you can be sure failed payments will be recovered while you sit back and relax. When it comes to processing fees, they’re 2.9% + $0.30 for payments over $3, and 5% + $0.10 for the rest. However, non-U.S. PayPal processing fees are 1% higher. Other payment methods include ACH and Payoneer.

Patreon is perfect for influencers of all kinds. Those with a pre-existing fanbase can make a decent monthly income thanks to Patreon’s tier-based subscriptions. Additionally, they can choose to get paid per commission as well.

At a Glance

  • No platform fees
  • Serves as a social network as well
  • Connects activists to representatives
  • Website offers little information
  • Issues with mobile app

Founded in 2007 and previously known as Countable, Causes is a platform for social activists. Causes is more than a crowdfunding platform: it’s also a social network connecting those wishing to take action and see a change in society.

Though this sounds amazing, one issue with Causes is a confusing website that doesn’t offer too much information on how to start a campaign. What we do know is, once you sign up, creating the campaign should be fairly simple. You can even do it by connecting your Facebook page to Causes. Once you create your project, you can share it with all those who follow you and prompt them to donate or share the cause with their representatives.

Audience engagement is a big part of Causes, and the feeling of getting together and serving the same purpose is a big reason it’s among the best fundraising sites for political activists. Such a huge audience turns the platform into a breeding ground for crowdsourcing and bringing palpable change to communities. You can also use their app, although it’s been having some glitches as of late.

And if you’re looking for the best free online crowdfunding sites, we have good news: other than a 4% payment processing fee, Causes is free to use.

Social activists use Causes to create all sorts of campaigns: grassroots, awareness, non-profit, etc. Causes’ great community makes social entrepreneurship simple, so if you’re looking for the best crowdfunding sites for environmental projects or any other awareness campaign, Causes is a great choice.

At a Glance

  • Accept donations after reaching your goal
  • 24/7 assistance
  • No platform fees
  • Flexible funding
  • No raffling off rewards
  • Not many payment methods

This company makes it easy to get contributions to a personal cause since 2010. Whether you want to create a fundraiser for yourself, someone you know, or a complete stranger, GoFundMe can help.

  • To start your campaign, you need to set a goal. But don’t sweat it: you can change this amount later on (something not many best crowdfunding platforms allow), and you get to keep however money you get.
  • Next, choose a title and let everyone know who you’re raising funds for.
  • Enter your postal code, choose a category, and decide whether you want to fundraise alone, or as a team.
  • Finally, add a story, an image, and you’re good to go.

Overall, the setup is quick and easy, and GoFundMe is there to assist you via email 24/7. There’s even a helpful mobile app. To get as much funding as possible for your campaign (be it medical crowdfunding, education costs, funerals, or memorials) take advantage of the GoFundMe reward crowdfunding. Just know that you can’t raffle off products, even if it’s something homemade. Once your campaign is over, you can continue receiving funds indefinitely.

GoFundMe is among the best free crowdfunding sites out there. There are no platform fees, the processing fees are 2.9% + $0.30, and you can choose to tip the platform, which is how it makes money. Another thing that makes GoFundMe one of the best crowdfunding sites is the flexible funding. The site will let you keep all the money you get, and those you’re raising money for can withdraw the money themselves. One flaw is the lack of payment methods: backers need to do it via credit/debit cards, or, in certain cases, PayPal.

All in all, GoFundMe is a great way to create personal fundraisers either for yourself or for someone else in need.

At a Glance

  • Offers financial advice
  • Connects entrepreneurs and investors
  • Equity crowdfunding and credit financing available
  • Unclear pricing
  • It’s hard to qualify for investments

This award-winning company is one of the relatively new crowdfunding sites. It was founded in 2017 to help early-stage consumer brands get their first investors. Besides equity crowdfunding, the company also offers credit financing.

The two types of financial help are complementary – you can have both at the same time to aid your entrepreneurial ventures. All it takes is two minutes and six questions to see if you’re eligible. In this phase, there are no credit checks and you don’t need to provide any financial uploads. CircleUp uses Helio, proprietary software that analyses up-and-coming companies to determine whether they’re eligible to be in the company’s base. If you are eligible, you can soon start getting investments on one of the best equity crowdfunding sites in 2020. On average, the eligible companies have a revenue of $1 million for the current fiscal year and annual revenue of $500,000. All investors are accredited, and there’s a somewhat high minimum they have to invest. While investors typically receive shares of the company they invest in, the return is not always specified.

While most companies reach their target in 60 to 90 days, not reaching the goal means returning 100% of the money raised. If you do reach it, CircleUp claims to take a commission close to “what companies pay to investment bankers in the offline world for similar size fundraising rounds”.

Though one of the highest-rated crowdfunding platforms, it only accepts a small percentage of companies that apply for credits or investments. Still, it’s a great solution for early-stage businesses offering innovative consumer products.

At a Glance

  • Anonymity
  • Low service fee
  • Up to $40,000 for personal loans
  • High-interest rates
  • Insecure for investors

Founded in 2006, this award-winning company is among the legit crowdfunding sites based on debt crowdfunding, as well as traditional direct-to-consumer loans. Debt crowdfunding could get you from $1,000 to $40,000.

To get this type of loan, all you need to do is fill a quick application on LendingClub’s website. Once your credit score is pulled alongside your credit history, employment, income, and your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, you get assigned a risk grade. This grade determines the interest rate for your loan, which can be anywhere between 6.03% and 26.06%. You can also opt for a business loan (up to $300,000), auto refinancing, or a medical loan. The latter can cover interventions not usually covered by insurance. Another good thing is that the investors won’t know your identity, so you can remain completely anonymous.

The website is easy to navigate, and there’s a mobile app as well. However, it can’t fully replace the website.

Though LendingClub is among the best crowdfunding sites for small investors, these investments aren’t completely secure. Since the company is in charge of paying off the loans, in case LendingClub declares bankruptcy, investors could lose their money.

When it comes to pricing, LendingClub only takes a 1% service fee on income and as much as 40% of a collection fee for delinquent loans.

LendingClub is a great way to pay off debt quickly. And it’s not just about individual loans, either – the company offers business loans, medical loans, and even auto financing.

Best Crowdfunding Sites At A Glance

  • Kickstarter – Best for creative projects
  • Indiegogo – Best funding options
  • Experiment – Best for the scientific community
  • Patreon – Best for influencers
  • Causes – Best for social activists and non-profits
  • GoFundMe – Best for personal fundraisers
  • Circle Up – Best for early-stage consumer brands
  • LendingClub – Best debt crowdfunding

What Is Crowdfunding?

As the name suggests, crowdfunding refers to the practice of a big number of people funding certain projects or causes. By getting small amounts of money from many different people, those looking to fund their projects have a better chance of reaching their goal. Crowdfunding usually refers to internet-mediated registries, as it tends to be conducted via some of the best crowdfunding sites.

Types Of Crowdfunding Sites

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can choose to go with various crowdfunding website types:

✔ Donation crowdfunding

In the case of donations, a backer doesn’t expect anything in return. The downside is, your main donors may experience donor fatigue, a form of exhaustion when active contributors stop giving to your cause.

✔ Reward crowdfunding

Many websites encourage project-makers to offer different rewards based on how much a backer has pledged. This tends to motivate backers to give more money.

✔ Equity crowdfunding

This type of funding is typical for businesses. Once they invest in a company, investors get a percentage of its shares.

✔ Initial coin offering

Also known as software value token, this kind of funding uses cryptocurrencies.

Advantages Of Crowdfunding Sites

No matter what you need funds for – a creative project, good cause, or solving a personal problem – finding the best fundraising sites can help you reach your goal in no time. Here are some of the advantages they can bring:

  • Reaching goals quickly

These websites connect you to people who regularly donate, and who you likely wouldn’t have met otherwise. Instead of asking for funding from those who aren’t interested in it, you get access to a platform filled with regular backers, raising your chances of reaching the goal you’ve set.

  • Simplicity

Crowdfunding websites make it easy to share your story, create a campaign, and start getting contributions.

  • Reward crowdfunding

To thank your loyal backers, you can create different reward tiers – they’ll gain something, and you’ll gain more funds.

  • Anyone can do it

A huge advantage of the best crowdfunding platforms is that, as long as you have a project in mind, you can set up a page for it and start receiving funding no matter who you are. It’s that easy!

  • Make a difference

Finally, you don’t have to only fund your own projects. You can help a cause, a non-profit, or someone in need.

How To Choose The Right Crowdfunding Platform

To choose the best crowdfunding platform for yourself, you need to know the answers to these questions:

✔ What is your goal?

Are you looking to fund a project, help someone in need, or get your business going? Even if you go with the most trustworthy crowdfunding sites out there, unless they were created with your type of project in mind, they won’t be of much help.

✔ What kind of project are you working on?

Is it a creative project, or something scientific? There are crowdfunding sites that specialize in certain project types, so make sure you find one which fits your idea best.

✔ Do you have a go/no-go threshold?

If you do, you need to go with fixed funding. But if you want to keep any money you get, sites offering flexible funding are a better choice.

✔ Is the platform easy to use?

Whatever project you have in mind, finding the easiest to use crowdfunding sites can help you bring it to life.

✔ Is the pricing worth it?

Different sites take a different percentage of the money you make, while others are free to use. Look at what they offer and find the right features-to-fees ratio.

Whichever platform you choose, just pay attention to intellectual property (IP) protection. None of these companies can protect your project from being stolen, so make sure to do the necessary work (e.g. patent application) before getting your project funded.

Key Takeouts and FAQ

Crowdfunding sites are an amazing invention. Instead of saving money for years, waiting for the day, you can finally fund your creative endeavors and entrepreneurial ventures. You can easily connect with a community ready to help you fund it right away. If you follow the guides about title, description, image, and video, you’ll likely have your money in just a couple of weeks!

Plus, changing the world has never been easier – you can start a fundraiser for a cause or a non-profit in no time. Whether you’ll choose to go for the latest crowdfunding sites or the veterans in the field, the advantages are the same. Just make sure you’ve chosen the website that will be most helpful to you at a price you can afford.

FAQ

How do crowdfunding sites work?

Simply sign up, explain what you need funding for, launch a campaign, and start receiving money from kind strangers. To motivate backers to donate more, you can start offering rewards, and you’ll reach your goal in no time.

Which crowdfunding site has the lowest fees?

A 5% platform fee is the industry standard. The good news is, there are some crowdfunding sites with no platform fees, such as GoFundMe or Causes.

What is the best fundraising site to use?

The only answer to this question is – there is no fundraising site that’s best for everyone. The best website is the one that fits your needs, and that depends on the goal, type of project, what kind of platform fee you’re comfortable with, and other specifics.

Is Kickstarter or GoFundMe better?

That also depends on what you’re looking for. Both have made it to our list of best crowdfunding sites, and it’s not for nothing. Which one you’ll go with depends largely on what kind of project you’re looking to fund and what type of funding you prefer.