How to choose the best crowd-funding site

Ten questions to help you pick between Pozible, Indiegogo, Kickstarter and the next start-up to host your crowd-funding campaign.
How to choose the best crowd-funding site

Picking a platform for your crowd-funding campaign is becoming more challenging. With Pozible, Indiegogo and now Kickstarter all vying to host Australian projects, how do you choose between them?

They like to shout about their success rates; number of funded projects and the dollar-amount of their largest successful project, but there are a few other things to consider.

Here are 10 things worth weighing up before making a selection.

  1. Are you happy to go with an all-or-nothing funding option?

    This is probably one of the biggest questions for crowd-funding campaigners. Are you prepared to walk away with nothing if you don’t hit your target? Or are you more comfortable with a flexible funding option that allows you to take whatever is pledged (less fees)?

    If flexible funding is important you’ll probably head in the direction of Indiegogo which offers a choice of all-or-nothing and flexible funding options. Kickstarter and Pozible both only have all-or-nothing funding models.

  2. What will it cost you?

    You don’t hit your target? There no fees attached if you opt for the all-or-nothing funding models offered by Pozible and Kickstarter. If you choose Indiegogo’s flexible funding option, where you get the money pledged whether you hit or target or not, there is a fee of 9 per cent payable if you don’t reach your target and if you do the fee is 4 per cent. Plus there’s a 3 per cent third-party processing fee. Hit your target and Kickstarter takes 5 per cent plus third-party payment processing fees of 3-5 per cent. Pozible takes 5 per cent (or 4 per cent if you’ve previously run a successful campaign with them and they invite you to run another) plus transaction fees of 2.4 per cent plus 30 cents for Australian debit or credit cards and 3.4 per cent plus 30 cents for international cards. Go with Indiegogo’s all-or-nothing option and the fee is 4 per cent plus the 3 per cent third-party processing fee.

  3. Are you worried about currency fluctuations?

    As a home-grown site Pozible allows you to raise money in Australian dollars as well as other currencies. Indiegogo has just added Australian dollars to its currency options.

    For anyone wanting to appeal to supporters with Bitcoins burning a hole in their pocket, Pozible is the way to go.

  4. How quickly do you want to launch your campaign?

    Kickstarter and Pozible like to make sure potential campaigners meet their project guidelines before they give a campaign the go-ahead whereas Indiegogo allows campaigners to kick off whenever they are ready.

  5. Does your project meet the guidelines?

    Each platform has project categories and guidelines and these may steer you in a particular direction. For instance, Kickstarter rules won’t allow projects that fund social causes or self-help material; campaigners can’t offer rewards in bulk quantities and projects must have a clear end.

    Indiegogo allows creative, entrepreneurial and cause-related projects. Indiegogo spokesperson Tony Been says often there can be hybrid projects: ‘We were founded under the concept of meritocracy which is all about letting the crowd decide what is valid so we’re completely open across any category. You might have a creative project with an altruistic project which is really cool.’

  6. Do you want to appeal to a global audience?

    Been stresses Indiegogo’s ability to span multiple languages, countries and currencies, helping campaigners reach a global audience. ‘To have the capacity – particularly for an artistic project – to tap into a global audience with millions of people that is quite significant.’ 

  7. What help will you get to prepare your campaign?

    Reuben Acciano, social media and communications manager at Pozible, emphasises the support its crowdfunding community can offer to newbies. It enlists the help of 140 successful campaigners as ‘ambassadors’ to support and nurture people making their crowdfunding debut. ‘It’s about creating that second tier in the community,’ he says.

  8. What support will you get during your campaign?

    How you score some extra promotion while your campaign is running will depend on the platform. Indiegogo’s Been says it relies on a ‘proprietory algorithm’ to decide which campaigns are worthy of being showcased in newsletters, on the website and in blogs. ‘We believe it’s up to the crowd to decide what works and what doesn’t so we won’t subjectively choose campaigns or arbitrarily decide whether something should be featured or not.’  Pozible also relies on an algorithm to push particular campaigns to the home page. At Kickstarter, on the other hand, editorial staff select its ‘Staff picks’, pushing campaigns into the foreground if they have a ‘really fun video, creative and well-priced rewards, a great story or an exciting idea.’ From there your project may be chosen to be featured on the home page or even become the ‘Project of the day’.

  9. Do you want to raise money regularly?

    Pozible has recently launched a subscription funding option for its campaigners. Acciano says it can be useful for projects that might want regular funding to publish editions of a magazine. It could also be used to fund various stages of a longer-term project.

    He also points out it pioneered matched crowdfunding in 2012. Independent West Australian filmmakers received $150,000 from ScreenWest under a matching arrangement that saw it contribute $3 for every dollar pledged by the public to eligible projects.

  10. What support will you get after the campaign?

    So you fail first-time round. Can you give it a second chance on the same platform? Pozible discourages people from running back-to-back campaigns, even if they are successful. But Acciano says it provides unsuccessful campaigners with a download of pledges to their project so there is always the option of reconfiguring the project and giving it another go.

Christine Long

Wednesday 15 January, 2014

About the author

Christine Long is a Sydney freelance journalist.