Social media can now be harnessed to generate the one asset small business owners can never get enough of: capital. Whether you’re looking to raise money for a new venture or want to expand your current business, fundraising websites act as influential online marketing tools for spreading the word about your professional services and garnering enthusiasm for your brand. Kickstarter recently hosted its first million-dollar project and IndieGoGo has funded over 45,000 ventures. Here’s what you need to know about three of the most popular fundraising websites:
Arguably the largest interactive fundraising website, Kickstarter.com hosts project proposals for a maximum of 60 days. These ideas, which must be approved by the site’s staff before going live, focus more on creative product campaigns than the other two sites. You must also set a minimum donation goal for your project; if your project doesn’t reach its target before its deadline, then no funds are collected from donors. Kickstarter charges a hosting fee for successfully financed projects, but not for ventures that don’t get funded.
IndieGoGo has a similar set-up to Kickstarter, but whether or not the minimum goal is reached, projects must pay IndieGoGo a hosting fee and get to keep all pledges. There is no application process for creating a page on IndieGoGo, giving small business owners in any industry the opportunity to utilize its social networking capabilities. Small business owners and social entrepreneurs with already-funded operations can also use IndieGoGo for social networking and generating publicity.
ChipIn is the most unique on this list of fundraising websites. While Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns gain much of their publicity from the websites themselves, ChipIn focuses more on business networking through your own social media accounts. ChipIn doesn’t have an application process or require a minimum goal amount and is a good online marketing choice for small business owners that already have sizable social media and web presences because it isn’t possible to browse the site and find projects organically. The site provides each project with a personalized URL and a widget that can be embedded on your brand’s social media accounts or blog website in order to optimize exposure.
Utilizing social media accounts has become standard practice for many small business owners, and one category of social networking that’s becoming more and more prevalent is fundraising websites. These sites help raise awareness and interest in your brand across a large audience. Because these are real people funding your business, they become loyal to your brand, which leads to interest in your brand across a large audience.