If you’re planning to launch a new venture and need capital but don’t want to use a bank, crowdfunding could be the answer. Kickstarter is the biggest name in the game but it’s not your only option, as our 10 best Kickstarter alternatives will show.
Kickstarter is one of the largest crowdfunding organizations in the world. It has helped raise over $7.5 billion from over 90 million pledges.
Whenever someone thinks of crowdfunding, they think Kickstarter.
But there are other alternatives to Kickstarter as we’ll share in this post.
Crowdfunding is very aptly named. It’s a way of leveraging a large number of people, the ‘crowd’ to raise money, ‘funding’.
Each person can contribute relatively little but the venture could potentially raise thousands of dollars if the idea resonates with enough people.
It’s an alternative to using banks to raise capital and is very popular among startups.
Banks have traditionally struggled to adapt to new ways of thinking and emerging markets. This left startups struggling to find capital, which led to a search for alternative funding.
A way to raise money for any venture you can think of without being tied to banks or old fashioned thinking.
It may seem a new concept but it has been around for longer than you might think.
The earliest known crowdfunding campaigns are from the 17th century. Wealthy businessmen would pool funds together to finance a shipping venture or exploration in exchange for access to any new markets discovered.
The first modern crowdfunding website was artishShare, launched in 2001. It popularized the idea of fans funding projects in what we now refer to as crowdfunding.
The modern crowdfunding market is worth $1.14 billion, with the average funding campaign raising $7,500.
You may be asking yourself, if Kickstarter has been around for so long and raised so much, why look for an alternative?
The main reason is that Kickstarter is all or nothing. You set a financial target, open the campaign and hope for the best.
If you reach that target, you keep the money to launch your venture.
If you don’t reach that target, you get nothing.
There is no middle ground and that can present a problem. It’s a key reason people look for alternatives to Kickstarter.
It isn’t designed for every type of venture either. It’s mainly for creative projects rather than tech startups, which is another reason to look for an alternative to Kickstarter.
With the background out of the way, let’s get to those websites like Kickstarter.
Each of these offers crowdfunding in slightly different ways and there should be something here for every conceivable need.
Patreon allows you to connect with your fans on a deeper level. Instead of relying solely on one-time sales or ads, you invite your supporters to become your “patrons.”
Patrons pledge to give you a small amount of money as a recurring payment like a subscription, often monthly.
In return for support, you offer exclusive perks and content such as early access to your new work, behind-the-scenes insights, or personal interactions like Q&A sessions or private performances.
As these are all exclusive to patrons, your fans get closer to you and your process, and you get a stable income to keep doing what you love.
Patreon empowers independent artists, writers, and creators of all kinds. It’s a way to build a community of dedicated supporters who appreciate your work and want to see more of it.
Patreon is free to use and has two premium plans. Pro charges 8% of your income while Premium charges 12%. Extra fees are payable for selling merch or items.
- Designed specifically for creative people to access funding
- Flexible platform allows you to create almost anything and charge for access
- Has its own mobile app to attract the widest audience
- Lots of resources to help you learn and grow
- Can track funds, growth and other metrics
- Earnings are gradual rather than upfront
- It’s easy to get lost in the noise as Patreon is very busy
Patreon is an alternative to Kickstarter because it is specifically designed to help creatives. You don’t have to meet a target and don’t have to owe funders anything as they pay to access what you create.
GoFundMe is a Kickstarter alternative for good causes rather than businesses. It brings together people from all over who want to make a positive impact on the world.
It lets you create a fundraising campaign to tell your story and request financial assistance for almost any reason.
Whether you’re facing a personal crisis, medical bills, have educational goals, or a community project, GoFundMe can help.
You set a fundraising goal, share your campaign with friends, family, and your wider network through social media, and people can donate to support your cause.
If you want to contribute to a cause and do some good, GoFundMe allows you to browse campaigns and choose the ones you’re passionate about. You can make donations of any amount to help those in need.
The platform has been used to help cover medical bills, support disaster relief efforts, fund creative projects, and much more.
It’s free to create a GoFundMe. The platform charges a flat 2.9% + $0.30 fee for each donation to an individual or business and 1.9% + $0.25 fee for charities.
- Flexible platform for almost any kind of crowdfunding program
- No time limits unlike Kickstarter
- Almost 40 million visits per month provides a huge audience
- Supports a wide range of community-based projects
- More about philanthropy than fundraising for business
- Not really designed for business ventures
- Income can be a little more haphazard than traditional crowdfunding platforms
GoFundMe is a Kickstarter competitor because it has the ability to harness the collective power of communities. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the emotional support and solidarity that comes from knowing people care.
If you need to finance something more philanthropic than business, GoFundMe is the platform to try.
Indiegogo is one of many crowdfunding sites designed for creative ideas and innovative projects rather than startups. It brings together dreamers, creators, and supporters to help fund everything from a new type of pillow to a short film.
Supporters contribute whatever they like. In return, you often receive exclusive perks, early access, or a first edition of whatever is created.
There’s a lot of support to help you succeed and access to industry experts should you require it.
What also makes this website stand out are the two campaign types. Fixed is an all or nothing campaign like Kickstarter. Flexible allows you to access funds whether you meet your goal or not.
Indiegogo helps raise those initial funds but also has another neat trick, InDemand. This enables you to continue raising money after your initial campaign to help continue developing and improving it.
Indiegogo charges a 5% fee on all funds raised for your campaign plus a processing fee that’s dependent on the currency used.
- High profile with lots of backers
- Well designed process that’s easy to navigate
- Supports almost any kind of venture
- Can access funds as they are raised rather than when campaign ends
- Lots of resources to help you succeed
- Lots of competition for backers
- Less stringent checks on campaigns can impact quality
Indiegogo is a Kickstarter alternative because it does very similar things in a more accessible way. Fixed and Flexible campaigns are a smart choice and InDemand could be a game changer for some ventures.
StartEngine is a platform with a focus on equity crowdfunding. It allows businesses to raise money by selling shares or ownership stakes to a community of backers.
StartEngine even crowdfunds its own business, having recently raised the money to buy competitor SeedInvest.
The process is similar to other crowdfunding platforms, create a campaign, share your story, offer something in return and do what you can to raise awareness and capital.
What makes StartEngine different is that it enables you to sell ownership shares or equity in your company in exchange for their financial support rather than access to your product or service.
You get to raise money for your venture in return for selling shares or a equity. It’s very much like traditional business fundraising made accessible to everyone.
Funders can buy and sell shares, hold them, invest in art and collectibles and make investments in other ways. It’s almost a complete investment platform.
StartEngine charges 3.5% for startups seeking funding or 5% for StartEngine Secondary trading. Total fees aren’t very clear on the website so research is essential.
- Ideal for startups and new ventures
- Great for raising larger amounts
- Investors can become mentors, helping you learn and grow
- Validation as StartEngine has a great reputation
- Free to invest and attracts a wide audience
- Much more formal process without the indie feel of other crowdfunding platforms
- Minimum $10,000 goal for funding
- Most investments require equity rather than access to your products or services
StartEngine is an alternative to Kickstarter because it can provide seed funding to any type of startup. It attracts professional investors and has such a good reputation, being accepted to receive funding is its own validation of your concept.
Fundable is a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter with a specific focus on helping startups and small businesses. It helps raise the capital they need to bring their ideas to life or take their ventures to the next level.
The process is similar to Kickstarter. You create a fundraising campaign to showcase your business idea to potential investors.
You then set a funding goal that outlines how much money you need and then you share your vision, business plan, and goals.
Investors can range from individual backers to more experienced venture capitalists. The different approach attracts a different audience and you’ll be more likely to see VCs and angel investors here rather than individuals who like an idea.
In exchange for financial support, you often offer equity in your company or other rewards, depending on your offering.
What sets Fundable apart is that it’s not just about raising funds. You can attract investors who are genuinely interested in your ideas and form long-lasting business relationships.
You can create a Fundable account for free but will need to pay a subscription of $179 per month to fundraise. There are no fees for standard fundraising and 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction fees for rewards-based campaigns.
- The place to go to find venture capital or serious investors
- Designed for startups and new ventures
- Attracts a more serious business-minded audience
- Supports multiple funding types including equity and debt financing
- Tools and resources to help create successful campaigns
- The monthly fee won’t be for everyone
- Reputation for being very selective when approving campaigns
Fundable is a Kickstarter alternative because it is geared very much towards business and focuses mainly on that. It also attracts a more serious type of investor, ideal for raising funds in a more formal setting.
artistShare was the first crowdfunding website and is still offering alternative ways to make a living as an artist. If you’re just starting out or have a grand vision, this is a way of raising money to pay for it.
You can create a campaign on artistShare to showcase your creative project or idea. It could be funding a new album, a concert, book publication, art exhibition, or anything you’re passionate about.
You set a funding goal to help pay for it and share your campaign with your friends and followers. You can choose an all or nothing approach like Kickstarts or Unconditional Support that allows access to the funds even if you don’t meet the goal.
People who believe in your work can then contribute money. Contributions can range from small donations to larger investments, depending on the level of support they want to offer.
In return for their support, you can offer various perks and rewards, such as exclusive access to your work, limited edition items, or personalized experiences.
artistShare is about more than just fundraising. It also helps build a community around your work and connects you directly with your fans.
artistShare charges a 4% fee for withdrawing funding and a 3-5% processing fee.
- Designed specifically for art and artists
- Community plays an important role
- No charge for artists to create campaigns
- Platform has 30 Grammy nominations and 10 wins
- Unconditional Support option
- It doesn’t have the same high profile as Kickstarter
- Mainly for artists and creatives, not startups
artistShare is a Kickstarter alternative because it’s as much about building a following and a community than it is about fundraising. Plus, the ‘Unconditional Support’ mode enables you to access funds regardless of whether you hit your goal or not.
Crowdfunder is a UK-based Kickstarter competitor that helps startups, nonprofits, fundraisers, sportspeople and anyone that needs a helping hand. You’ll see everything from ‘help me fund an apprentice’ funds to earthquake appeals there.
For startups or new ventures, funding usually comes in exchange for equity. Backers will provide an amount of money in exchange for a percentage of the business.
For non-businesses, it’s more like a fundraiser where you pledge money with no return except helping a good cause.
Contributions range from a few dollars to much more, depending on the project. It has a much wider scope than Kickstarter, covering many more types of project, but is a similar all or nothing crowdfunding platform.
Reach your goal and the money is yours. Don’t reach your goal and you don’t.
Crowdfunder also has an internal funding option called +Extra. This is a pot of money from large donors that Crowdfunder can use to offer extra help should you need it.
Crowdfunder charges a 5% project platform fee and a transaction fee of 2.4% + $0.25 + value-added tax.
- Wider scope than Kickstarter, covering more types of fundraising
- Simple rules written in plain English
- UK-based but has global reach
- +Extra uses large corporate donors to offer extra funding
- Mix of equity funding and philanthropy
- All or nothing like Kickstarter
Crowdfunder is an alternative to Kickstarter because it has a much wider scope. Not only can you help fund startups and new ventures, you can also do good in the community.
MicroVentures specializes in equity crowdfunding for tech companies, including green technology. Projects are usually larger, from $150,000 targets into the millions, so attracts a completely different audience than Kickstarter.
The process works in much the same way though. MicroVentures vets all projects and approves all that meet its criteria.
MicroVentures has a reputation for being very selective about the projects it approves. This is good for investors as it means any fundraising that happens stands a higher chance of success.
It’s harder work for the startup, but once you’re approved, you should have no problem fundraising.
Once approved, you can list your project and promote it on the platform. There’s a mixture of individual investors and organizations that provide investment through equity, standard investing or secondary trading.
MicroVentures is much more business-oriented than Kickstarter and is mainly for tech startups. If you’re in that market and are looking for significant funding, this could be the place for you.
MicroVentures charges different rates depending on the type of investment. Closing fees are 5% commission and 2% of securities raised plus a $1,000 escrow fee.
- Ideal for tech companies looking for investment
- Some big names have successfully used the platform
- Attracts serious investors
- Lots of resources for both investors and fundraisers
- Regulated company
- All or nothing crowdfunding
- Approval can be tough as it’s very selective
MicroVentures is an alternative to Kickstarter because it’s ideal for tech businesses seeking investment for equity. It also attracts higher quality companies and investors, which works in its favor.
FundRazr is a Canadian crowdfunding platform that helps startups, nonprofits and individuals raise money for just about anything. If you’re a nonprofit, school or someone who needs help, you can raise money through crowdfunding.
The platform is accessible and easy to use, with simple instructions on how to create a crowdfunding project and promote it.
Navigation is simple, with the ability to divide it into professional fundraising and personal. This makes it easy to find what you’re looking for or appeal to your target audience when setting up a project.
FundRazr has a mobile app and social media integration to make marketing easy. It has a youthful, more approachable vibe than MicroVentures as the market it serves is very different.
Despite the more approachable feel, you can still raise funds for startups and the platform still attracts serious investors. There’s just a lot more to it than pure business.
FundRazr has three pricing models. One is free and charges nothing but the third-party payment processor’s fee (typically 2.9% + $0.30 per payment) plus an ‘optional tip’.
The other two include a 5% fee taken from the cash raised along with a fee for payment processing.
- Huge scope for fundraising
- Caters to a much wider audience than sites like Kickstarter
- Simple setup with clear division between professionals and individuals
- Low fees, with an ‘almost free’ option
- Training and resources to help fundraising
- More suited to less formal startups and individuals
FundRazr is an alternative to Kickstarter because it caters to a much wider audience. You can raise funds as an individual, nonprofit or startup.
If none of the Kickstarter alternatives above hit the spot, how about doing it yourself? Bear with us here, it isn’t as crazy as it may seem!
Use an AI website builder like ZipWP to create a landing page and use an eCommerce plugin such as SureCart to accept donations. You could also create a subscription option using SureMembers where supporters could pay a set fee per month for access to your creations.
It will take more work to set up, but the technical side is easy.
There are real advantages to this approach. You get much more control over your campaign, what you offer, what you give in return and how you engage with your audience.
There’d be no fees charged on donations either. Your only costs would be web hosting and a SureMembers subscription. There may be transaction fees depending on the payment provider, but the rest is completely free!
You will need to market your website and gain enough attention to attract the investment you’re looking for though.
Fees involved in doing it yourself include web hosting and domain name (average of $10 per month), a SureMembers subscription (from $69 per year) and any optional extras you might want to use.
ZipWP is free, SureCart has a free tier, WordPress is free, the Astra WordPress theme is free.
Read all you need to know about building your own website for donations.
- Full control over what you do and how you do it
- Your website could remain to help market your business
- Choose your own page design to fit your brand
- You can accept donations, add subscriptions or sell products
- Your website can go on to fulfill all your marketing needs
- There are still fees involved
- You’ll be in charge of marketing and running the website
Doing it yourself is a Kickstarter alternative because you can raise funds for literally anything using mostly free tools. Whether you’re a startup or individual, it’s your website so you’re in charge.
We think doing it yourself is such a good idea, we even wrote a blog post on creating your own version of Patreon.
Have questions on crowdfunding? We have answers!
What alternatives to Kickstarter are there for crowdfunding?
There are many Kickstarter competitors for crowdfunding. Options include Patreon, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, StartEngine, SeedInvest, Fundable, artistShare, Crowdfunder, EquityNet, MicroVentures and many others.
Do you pay back crowdfunding?
Yes, you do pay back crowdfunding. It isn’t always financial payback though. Some funders will want their initial stake plus profit while other funders may prefer perks like exclusive access, priority passes, free products or access to the service. Much depends on the venture.
Is it a good idea to crowdfund using sites like Kickstarter?
It can be a good idea to crowdfund. It isn’t for everyone, or every venture, but it can be an effective way to raise capital without involving the banks. Any unconventional business, idea or project is unlikely to receive traditional financing. That’s where crowdfunding can be most useful.
What is the downside to crowdfunding?
There are downsides to crowdfunding you should be aware of. Most platforms charge a fee and you may not get your money if you don’t meet your target. Putting your idea out there can also mean someone takes it and uses it for themselves.
Which crowdfunding site has the lowest fees?
FundRazr is the crowdfunding site with the lowest fees. There’s an ‘almost free’ option where you can provide a tip and cover payment processing. That said, fees for most Kickstarter alternatives are relatively low, between 5% and 12% if you don’t pay a monthly subscription.
Kickstarter may be the best-known crowdfunding website but it’s not the only one. There are plenty of Kickstarter competitors to choose from, with each having its own pros and cons and target audience.
The good news is that whatever type of fundraising you want to do, there’s a website like Kickstarter that can help.
Whether you’re trying to fund the next big thing or a community project, one of the Kickstarter competitors in this list will surely be able to help!
Have you used any of these alternatives to Kickstarter? What was your experience? Have any stories to share?
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