“What is the best platform for crowdfunding audio”
If you’re considering crowdfunding as a capital-raising tool, I imagine that picking the best platform is at the top of your crowdfunding “to do” list. I understand. A quick internet search will yield dozens of potential platforms, and you’re afraid that your campaign will fail if you pick the wrong one. Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
TL:DR: If you were simply looking for a list of reputable platforms, hop over here and grab our Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet. If you’d like to dig a little deeper into what really matters when choosing a platform, keep reading…
First, it’s important to understand that the platform you choose may have less to do with your crowdfunding success than you think.
How could this be the case? Well, one of the biggest myths in crowdfunding is that platforms will provide your campaign backers. This misconception is why so many crowdfunding campaigns fail. What makes campaigns successful are your efforts to gather a community of people around your campaign who want to support you, and then doing the work to get that community excited enough to take action.
Now that you know this, you can focus less on the number of existing supporters a platform has and more on what platform is a good fit for your business. How do you do that?
4 key questions to help you choose the best crowdfunding platform:
1 – Are you looking for donations, product pre-sales, microloans, or equity/debt investments?
Before you determine the best platform, you’ll want to determine what type of crowdfunding makes the most sense for your business:
- Are you a nonprofit or social enterprise looking to raise charitable dollars for your organization…then research Donation platforms.
- Are you looking to pre-sell a product or service in exchange for contributions from your community… then Rewards crowdfunding is likely to be the right direction.
- Are you looking to crowdfund a small (under $15k) no-interest microloan from your community rather than from a bank…there’s a specific Microlending platform for this use case.
- Are you looking to raise equity or debt capital from investors…then you’ll need to choose an Investment crowdfunding portal.
If you understand what type of crowdfunding is appropriate for your campaign, it will prevent you from spending your time researching platforms that are not a good fit. Check out our Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet for a list of platforms by type.
2 – Does your campaign look like other successful campaigns on the platform?
If you visit the major platforms, they’re likely to highlight campaigns that have had blockbuster success. But pay close attention.
Are these successes for businesses like yours? Do these campaigns focus on selling to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B)? Was the campaign for a local, community-focused business or a technology start-up with an international reach?
The donation campaigns that raise the most funds are for nonprofits or social enterprises whose missions connect with hot-button news issues. For rewards crowdfunding, the blockbuster successes tend to be unique gaming, technology and design campaigns that have a worldwide audience. In investment crowdfunding, high growth companies hoping to be the next unicorn have campaigns raising millions.
Fair or unfair, these are the types of businesses that benefit most from “the platform effect” where people you don’t know discover your campaign through the platform. This platform effect phenomenon was more common in the early days of crowdfunding when there were fewer campaigns, but now is mostly limited to campaigns for businesses or products that attract early adopters. Even being highlighted as a “Staff Pick” or getting a mention in the platform’s newsletter is no guarantee your campaign will attract supporters who have already used the platform.
So, don’t get distracted by the big numbers. Look for platforms where businesses like yours have been successful. These platforms are more likely to understand the specific crowdfunding needs of your business and to attract supporters interested in your type of campaign (aka “platform effect”).
3 – What experience do you as a campaign creator want on the platform?
Just as small businesses tend to have more human-scale interactions than big corporations, a smaller crowdfunding platform may offer a more human touch than a larger, more established platform. With many of the bigger platforms, the experience is often self-serve. You may never interact with another human.
Smaller platforms, as well as niche platforms that focus on women, minority and rural businesses, or on verticals like creative businesses, may offer more individual support, but their technology solutions may not have the features of larger, more established platforms. If you want specific functionality around rewards fulfillment, investor management or community engagement, be sure the platforms you’re considering offer these features. Research lesser-known platforms along with the crowdfunding “household names” so you can weigh your options. Check out our Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet for some recommendations of platforms to explore.
You’ll also want to understand the fees that you, the campaign creator, will be charged to use a platform. Some, but not all, donation and rewards platforms allow you to launch a campaign without paying any upfront fees, but they will deduct platform fees (usually between 5-8% of the funds you raise) to cover their costs when your campaign closes. You may also be charged payment processing fees (usually around 3%) for contributions made using a credit card.
If you are pursuing investment crowdfunding, the question of fees gets a little more complicated. While most investment platforms follow the same “% of funds raised” model that is common with donation and rewards crowdfunding, some platforms charge an upfront fee and charge a smaller “% of funds raised” upon campaign close. Some platforms take that “percentage of funds raised” from the money you raise during your campaign, and others require a portion to be paid in shares of your company. Ask for detailed information on the platform’s fee structure and be sure to look for any hidden costs (i.e. escrow fees, Form C filings) or extra services (i.e. marketing support, insurance) included in their fees.
4 – What experience do you want your potential supporters to have on the platform?
When deciding on a platform, put yourself in the shoes of your potential supporters by using the platform the way they will – go support someone else’s campaign. This process will give you a sense of how easy (or confusing) it is to navigate the platform’s website. Ask yourself: Does the platform design make it easy for you to decide whether or not to support a campaign? Do the pages load quickly or is there a lot of lag? What’s the experience of making a contribution?
An additional benefit of doing this research is you will also be learning what works in terms of effective campaign video, copy, and images. Bookmark campaigns that you think do a great job at their storytelling and use these as a guide in building your own campaign page.
You’ll also want to know if your supporters will pay any fees when they support your campaign. Some donation and rewards platforms encourage “tipping” by your supporters to help cover your platform fees, and some investment crowdfunding platforms charge your investors a fee to invest. Make sure you know, and are comfortable with, the platform fee model.
So what is the best platform for your crowdfunding campaign? It’s the one that is best for YOUR business. Using the questions above will help you streamline your search. You can also take a look at the list of platforms on our Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet, which are already broken down by the different types of crowdfunding. Just remember, whatever platform you choose, you will be responsible for bringing the majority of your backers, if not all of them, to your campaign.
Want some HUMAN help sorting it out? Give yourself the gift of our Crowdfunding Roadmap Package where in addition to helping you build a successful campaign strategy, we’ll point you to platforms that match up with your answers to the questions above.