Diving into the world of online fundraising, our guide unveils the top 10 crowdfunding sites, showcasing each platform’s unique strengths and offerings.
Crowdfunding is a popular way of investing to help pay for a business or project that fails to raise cash from a bank.
The idea is that investors, supporters, friends, and family can contribute small amounts toward the fundraising goal.
Some businesses use crowdfunding as a publicity exercise and promote a new product or concept, offering discounted prices, shares, non-financial perks or pre-order exclusivity in return for an investment or contribution.
The list below looks at ten of the most popular crowdfunding sites, commission rates and the campaign types each platform supports.
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Kickstarter specialises in creative projects, where companies share pitch decks, videos and prototypes to attract investment.
The platform launched in 2009 and has supported over 200,000 projects, including movie productions and video games.
Kickstarter fees are as follows:
- Five per cent commission charged on successful projects.
- Transaction fees of three to five per cent plus a £0.20 charge per pledge.
- Pledges under £10 are charged a lower five per cent fee, plus £0.05.
Campaigns offer rewards in return for contributions rather than equity shares. Investors are offered a specific perk, such as a pre-order discount, a physical item, or a mention on social media.
Kickstarter requires all campaigns to reach their fundraising goal to be successful. If the target is not hit, contributors keep their pledges, and the project fails.
Indiegogo supports various crowdfunding projects, including business investment fundraisers, charitable causes and artists looking for financial support.
Campaigns do not necessarily need a target or to pass a fundraising goal to be successful. Fundraisers also do not need to end by a fixed date. For example, if a company raises pre-order investment for a new product, it can continue accepting contributions until capacity.
Indiegogo charges a five per cent fee on all funds raised.
UK businesses crowdfunding in GBP have a three per cent transaction fee deducted from each contribution, plus £0.20. They also pay a £25 charge for transferring funds from their campaign.
Focused specifically on creators, such as streamers, YouTubers, podcast producers and bloggers, Patreon is not limited to fixed-period fundraising campaigns.
Instead, Patreon users can invite viewers and followers to sign up for a subscription service or to make one-off donations. Donors can access exclusive content or receive other perks.
There are three different pricing packages:
- Patreon Lite costs five per cent of monthly earnings and includes a creator page.
- Patreon Pro costs eight per cent of monthly income with extra features such as app integrations, promotional tools and membership tiers.
- Patreon Premium costs 12 per cent of takings and has merchandise settings, access to a partner manager and other tools.
Every contribution made is subject to Patreon processing fees, which are charged at 3.4 per cent plus £0.35. Micropayments of £3 or less are charged a five per cent fee, plus £0.15.
Crowdfunder claims to be the number one UK crowdfunding platform and offers campaigns to support business investment, sports fundraisers, charitable causes and community projects.
Businesses don’t need to create a page on the platform but can integrate crowdfunding tools with an existing product page on their website.
Integrations show the target fundraising goal and track progress each time a contribution is made or a product is ordered.
Prices vary between different crowdfunding campaigns:
|Charitable fundraiser||Zero||1.9% plus £0.20|
|Not-for-profit cause||Zero||2.4% plus £0.20|
|For-profit business or project||5%||2.4% plus £0.20|
Tipping is optional on all Crowdfunder campaigns, and extra funding raised, such as match funding, is charged an additional five per cent plus VAT, but without a transaction charge.
GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that doesn’t support business or commercial fundraisers – it is designed for personal, charitable or friends and family campaigns.
Although there are no crowdfunding commissions, every transaction is charged a 2.9 per cent processing fee plus £0.25. This charge is deducted automatically from every donation.
Crowdcube is a crowdfunding platform that supports private businesses in the UK and EU, offering equity share-based fundraisers.
There are different crowdfunding categories depending on how much investment you want to raise:
- Seed funding: £150,000 to £249,000
- Early funding: £250,000 to £750,000
- Growth funding: over £750,000
Businesses can join the Crowdcube Funded Club if they succeed in hitting their target, which provides several benefits, such as discounted services and expert advice from partner organisations.
Joining the platform is free. Contributions are charged a transaction fee of 1.65 per cent, with a minimum of £0.50 and a maximum of £250. Companies pay a five per cent commission of the total investment raised.
Within the diverse crowdfunding landscape, the UK offers a distinct advantage for startups and investors through the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). The SEIS is a government-backed initiative designed to boost investment in early-stage companies. It provides significant tax reliefs for individual investors who buy shares in these companies, thus incentivizing investments in innovative enterprises that might be considered higher risk.
When considering the UK platforms in our ‘Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites’, it’s pivotal to note the potential benefits of SEIS, as it can greatly influence both the decision to fundraise and to invest.
UK or European companies can crowdfund through Seedrs, provided they are looking to raise seed funding or early-stage business financing.
One of the benefits of the platform is that it has a fairly large number of investors, mainly venture capitalists, that review pitches and invest in new startups that they think have growth potential.
Businesses create fundraisers offering equity shares in return for investment and can choose whether to pitch to private investors or crowdfund.
Successful raises pay a six per cent commission, a £2,000 completion fee, plus VAT, and the platform deducts a 0.5 per cent processing fee from every investment made.
SyndicateRoom is an online business financing platform backed by a group of angel investors advising startup businesses and investing in opportunities they think will be profitable.
The equity crowdfunding platform is aimed at early-stage UK startups looking to achieve targets of between £500,000 and £5 million.
New investors can contribute from £5,000, and all accepted businesses must be incorporated companies with EIS eligibility to allow investors to claim tax relief.
Companies pay a two per cent commission on the investment raised as a flat fee. Investors pay a different set of commissions:
- £5,000 minimum subscription
- Two per cent set up fee
- 1.5 per cent annual management fee
- 12.5 per cent total management fee over seven years
- Ten per cent performance fee
In return, the platform builds investment portfolios and selects startup pitches with target returns of £3.50 against each £1 invested.
AngelsDen is an equity investment site focusing on high-growth businesses and SMEs seeking funding. Companies can submit a pitch deck, which the AI technology scans to recommend a suitable funding option.
The site emails businesses to angel investors or invites enterprises to pitch at an event.
To use AngelsDen, companies must raise between £50,000 and £1 million, pass through an initial screening process, and make changes to their fundraising project if requested.
Although most companies that crowdfund are early stage, accepted fundraisers must be for established organisations with a strong business case.
Companies pay an onboarding fee of £299 if accepted, plus an 8.5 per cent commission against all investments raised through the platform.
JustGiving, like GoFundMe, is a crowdfunding platform that hosts fundraisers for charities, social entrepreneurs and community groups.
While the site does not support business fundraisers or equity investment campaigns, it accepts a range of projects:
- Political, social welfare and international aid fundraisers.
- Sports, animals and pets and educational projects.
- Health and medical, memorial and youth-related causes.
- Arts and culture, gardens and environment and local community campaigns.
Contributors are charged a 2.9 per cent processing fee, plus £0.25, but fundraisers withdraw all of their funds, whether or not they hit a target.
Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites: FAQs
Before we wrap up our exploration of the Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites, we understand you might have some burning questions. To assist, we’ve compiled a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, addressing common queries and providing concise answers to guide you further.
What is crowdfunding?
As an alternative to a traditional loan, businesses use crowdfunding to raise fixed or variable amounts of financing or investment from a larger audience.
Why use crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding allows businesses, charities and individuals to raise money by promoting their cause, fundraiser or campaign to wide groups of potential donors or investors, inviting contributions from as many payees as possible.
Does crowdfunding need to be paid back?
Payback depends on the nature of the crowdfunding project. Donations are not refundable, but exchange or equity-based crowdfunding means that the fundraiser agrees to provide equity shares or a reward in line with the amount contributed.
What do business crowdfunding sites charge?
Fees vary considerably depending on the amount you wish to raise and the crowdfunding platform you use. Some charitable crowdfunding sites charge a processing fee for donations, whereas angel investment platforms can deduct several per cent of the total raised.
What are the benefits of crowdfunding?
Companies use crowdfunding if they have an idea, concept or new product that is not eligible for conventional financing – such as a bank loan. Pitch decks and prototypes can attract investors or contributors.
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