Crowdfunding websites help entrepreneurs fund small businesses with financing from the community. For social-cause entrepreneurs, who venture to create a positive change in the world, crowdfunding sites can also provide financing and resources.
Here is a list of crowdfunding sites that seek to empower entrepreneurs to promote the social good. These crowdfunding sites finance for-profit and nonprofit projects. For a list of general crowdfunding sites, see “13 Crowdfunding Websites to Fund Your Business,” my previous article on that topic. For charitable fundraising sites for nonprofits only, access Causes, Crowdrise, Network for Good, and FirstGiving.
Crowdfunding Sites for Change
- 33needs. 33needs is a crowdfunding site for social enterprises. Its goal is to find businesses that are most able to create change and get them what they need to do it, providing impact investing for social entrepreneurs, social enterprises and companies with a social mission. Investment dollars are exchanged for rewards offered by crowdfunded companies. The social entrepreneurs have between 30-60 days to reach their goal.
- Advert Activist. Advert Activist is a U.K.-based crowdfunding platform that helps fund advertising campaigns that can make a positive difference. Check out their “This World Belongs To Everyone” campaign. The site deducts a 15 percent commission off each donation. Payments are processed through PayPal.
- Buzzbnk. Buzzbnk is an online marketplace that connects social ventures from all walks of life with backers, supporters and fans. Through Buzzbnk, social ventures can get the support and funds they need to make bright ideas a reality. Buzzbnk backers support the initiatives they like by pledging money, time or both and carry the message to their own social networks and communities. If the financial target is not met within the defined time frame, funds pledged by backers are returned. Buzzbnk charges a small registration fee for social ventures to join the site. There is a 5 percent administrative fee on funds raised successfully for each venture.
- CauseVox. CauseVox is a crowdfunding site for both nonprofit organizations and for-profit causes. It provides you with a nice set of tools and templates to design your campaign, rally your supports on your website or through social media, track your progress, and utilize your data. It offers a free plan that waives the $39 monthly fee until you raise at least $3,000. For-profit ventures must use PayPal for their donation processing.
- Give.fm. Whether you’re a nonprofit, a school, or a social entrepreneur, Give.fm makes it easy to launch and promote successful fundraising campaigns. Give.fm allows individuals to support a set of causes through recurring micro-donations. Causes pay a flat $5 per month per campaign. There are also processing fees of 3.75 percent plus 30-cents per transaction.
- IndieGoGo. IndieGoGo offers anyone with an idea — creative, cause-related, entrepreneurial — the tools to build a campaign and raise money. Although this is a general crowdfunding site, it has a clear focus on projects in the public good. Keep all the money you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal. Track contributions with the analytics tools and stay on top of fulfillment with the dashboard. There is a 4 percent fee on the money you raise when you meet your funding goal.
- Kiva. Kiva lets individuals make charitable, interest-free micro-loans to entrepreneurs around the world. Throughout the life of the loan, you will see progress updates from Kiva through your email, and from updates on the site. Once the loan is repaid, use it to fund another loan, or withdraw it to spend on something else.
- ioby. Use ioby to raise necessary funds and find new volunteers. ioby cares about environmental issues in urban neighborhoods and all the important ways that affects communities. It can act as a fiscal sponsor if you are not a 501(c)3. This means you can still collect tax-deductible donations for your work by using ioby. Free of charge.
- MicroPlace. MicroPlace is a site where you can make investment loans to the micro-finance projects of your choice. These projects use your investment dollars to provide financial services to the working poor to help them improve their lives. You’ll receive quarterly interest payments and statements on your portfolio. When your investment matures, you can choose to get your money back or to roll it over into another investment.
- OpenIDEO. OpenIDEO is a social development engine for social change. After a challenge is posted at OpenIDEO.com, the three development phases — inspiration, conceptualization, and evaluation — are put into motion. Community members can contribute in a variety of different ways, from inspirational observations and photos, sketches of ideas, to business models and snippets of code.
At the end, the strongest concepts are chosen. The hope is that some of these concepts will become reality outside of OpenIDEO.com.
- Sparked. Sparked is a micro-volunteering network. Sparked makes it easy for busy people to give back with an entirely online form of volunteering to lend professional skills whenever and wherever you have time. Sparked helps nonprofits increase capacity by giving them a low-maintenance way to get free work done from a huge pool of talented professionals. Sparked also helps companies engage their employees, to make an impact.
- Sponsume. Sponsume is a crowdfunding site where creative people sell perks and rewards. Although it is more of a general crowdfunding site, it does have a social enterprise category for innovative ventures. The site allows you to keep all funding. It charges 4 percent of the amount raised when projects reach their funding target.
- Start Some Good. Start Some Good is a site for social entrepreneurs to gather a community and raise the funds needed to create change. Its goal is to be the best platform for social entrepreneurs to launch and grow the innovative ventures needed to improve communities and the world. Both for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises can post fundraising campaigns to the site. It charges 5 percent of the amount raised.