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Free Crowdfunding Sites for Entrepreneurs and Non-Profits

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Are you in the market for some investment funds but don’t know where to go?  Or maybe you are a non-profit looking to raise some money for a great, impactful project?  Have you looked at crowdfunding sites? Crowdfunding involves a large number of people giving small payments or donations, generally in exchange for prizes or other perks. Many websites, such as Rocket Hub and Kickstarter, have helped to popularize this form of finance for both creative projects and businesses. Kickstarter is one of several crowdfunding sources for the smallest of entrepreneurs. It works like this: Project creators describe their project on the website and state a goal for fundraising. Lenders kick in small amounts of money. Lenders do not become owners in the company, but instead are offered products or experiences in exchange for their financial support.  Thanks to Free Events in Chicago for this listing!

The Wall Street Journal recently took a look at the crowdfunding phenomenon, and talked to some experts who believe it’s about to take off. Using sites such as,, and, entrepreneurs can set up a profile that explains how much money they’re seeking and what it will be used for. Investors pledge money toward the goal. The sites make their money by taking a percentage of the investment.   A crowdfunding site can be a great way to simplify the process of seeking financing from, say, family and friends. And until now, most business owners using the sites have been looking for very small amounts ($10,000 or less). However, according to the Journal, the sites are beginning to enable larger transactions as more business owners are turning to them.

Crowdfunding sites have their pros and cons. Like any other business tool, before you consider using one, you need to consider whether it’s a fit for your target audience. If your business’s target customer is younger and more tech-savvy—comfortable with the idea of “crowd”-anything—raising money from people who fit your target customer profile and can understand the profit potential of your business will be easier. On the other hand, if you’re trying to raise capital to start or grow a business in a more conservative industry, or if you’re pitching your elderly relatives to invest in your business, the crowdfunding concept is less likely to fly.   Crowdfunding sites differ in how they operate, but many do not release any funds unless the company’s target amount is met. At RocketHub, about 25 percent of small businesses hit their targets; at IndieGoGo only about 10 percent of projects do. Also keep in mind that, although sites do a preliminary background check of businesses seeking financing, they don’t take responsibility for the outcome or ensure that businesses deliver what they promise. This may make crowdfunding risky business for potential investors who are truly part of the “crowd” and don’t have some connection to you.

The public aspect of using crowdfunding  means that you need to keep your Backers in the loop of your progress. This can be alternately amazing and incredibly stressful. You’re not only dealing with the ups and downs of getting something made, but you have a large group of people invested in your success, watching and critiquing your progress in real time. Basically it turns the design process into real time performance art. Most will be fully supportive of you, but an extreme minority will be highly critical of every misstep in a very public way. To put it more succinctly, its the absolute best parts of the Internet, mixed with a dash of the absolute worst parts of the Internet.

Here is a list of FREE Crowdfunding sites:

Crowdfunding for businesses
- 40billion
- appbackr
- capangel
- cofundit
- crowdcube
- crowdfund
- digital garage
- globeforum
- growvc
- innovatrs
- investiere
- podium ventures
- profounder
- raisecapital…
- seedups
- seedmatch
- trampoline http://crowdfunding.trampolinesy…
- vencorps
- venture bonsai
- wealthforge
- wiseed (French)
- FriendsClear
- 33needs

Crowdfunding for non-business projects
- kickstarter
- Indiegogo
- crowdfunder
- peerbackers
- chipin
- fundable
- citizen effect
- revenue trades
- rockethub
- sonicangel
- spot
- startnext
- ulule
- cofundos
- buzzbnk
- biracy
- investedin
- haricot

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