Business

Niche crowdfunding sites can out-perform Kickstarter — if you choose the right one

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Editor’s note: the author of this guest post runs CrowdsUnite.

Recently, crowdfunding reviews site CrowdsUnite ranked the top 10 crowdfunding platforms based on user reviews. Interestingly, Kickstarter, the most well-known crowdfunding site, ranked fifth, behind YouCaring, Pubslush, Seed&Spark, and GiveForward.

While you may be shocked to hear that Kickstarter ranks so low, a closer look at the statistics reveals that Kickstarter may not be the best platform for all projects.

Users ranked YouCaring, a donation-based crowdfunding platform above Kickstarter. One possible reason why Kickstarter was ranked lower is the discrepancy in fees. While Kickstarter charges a 5% fee on a successful campaign, there is no charge to running a campaign on YouCaring. One user wrote, “We love that 100% of the donation goes to us.”

Reviewers then placed Pubslush, the crowdfunding site for authors, next. Pubslush has a much higher success rate for authors than Kickstarter does. According to Crowdfunding4all, an independent third-party site, 58.89% of authors on Pubslush are able to reach their funding goals. While according to Kickstarter, just 32.12% of Kickstarter publishing campaigns are successful. While the average successful publishing campaign raises more money on Kickstarter than it does on Pubslush, with such a low success rate Kickstarter can be considered the riskier site for aspiring authors to use. Finally, the fees on Pubslush were 4%, while Kickstarter’s fees were 5%, a noteworthy difference if you plan to raise thousands of dollars.

A reviewer said of Pubslush, “they were helpful and the pressure was off by their fund fulfillment whether or not a goal is reached. I really like that they are a books only platform, I think it helps them better understand their author clients than some other platforms with flashier projects.”

Seed&Spark, a niche site for films, also received a higher rating than Kickstarter. The statistics from Seed&Spark explain why users felt more comfortable raising money on the platform. 69% of filmmakers on Seed&Spark were able to reach their funding goals, compared to just 40.20% on Kickstarter. Furthermore, the average Seed&Spark campaign raised $14,700, while the average Kickstarter campaign raised just $12,878. An aspirant filmmaker said, “It is a specialized crowdfunding platform because it just focuses on independent film … and as a result, the community of Seed&Sparkers are able to help each other out, through social media, donating, sharing the projects, and more.”

GiveForward, a crowdfunding site for medical supplies, is an interesting case. Our users gave it just a .2 higher rating than Kickstarter. Likely, this stems from the fact that Kickstarter doesn’t offer an option to raise money for medical campaigns.

While Kickstarter is certainly a great site, and has helped many brilliant ideas gain the funding necessary to succeed, it is not always the best site to use. There are plenty of good alternatives, be it a niche site, or sites with lower fees, that provide their own distinct set of advantages.

The CrowdsUnite survey results are based on 184 respondents who had completed a crowdfunding project prior to taking the survey.

Alex Feldman is CEO of CrowdsUnite. He educates government agencies like NYC Business Solutions and Small Business Development Center on crowdfunding. He has spoken on crowdfunding at conferences and teaches workshops and was featured on the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine for his accomplishments in the crowdfunding industry. Prior to CrowdsUnite, he worked for investment banks Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital.


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