DIY Crowdfunding Basics
You’re a tinkerer, you like to build things from the ground up, and you want to know how the sausage is made. You’re a DIYer! At IgnitionDeck, we love folks just like you! We ARE you! It’s true!! (and I promise that’s the last rhyme you’ll here from this emcee!)
Maybe you’re looking to build out a Crowdfunding platform just because you want to know how it all works. Or, perhaps, you’re experienced at running Crowdfunding campaigns, but you don’t like the fees charged by the big platforms like StartEngine or Kickstarter? Or, maybe, you need a customized Crowdfunding experience, like our friends at Reebok.
Regardless of where you’re at in your journey to build out a Crowdfunding platform, this DIY Crowdfunding guide is for YOU.
Building a Crowdfunding Platform with IgnitionDeck
Getting started is a daunting task, no doubt. However, our team has you covered. In addition to this resource, please look at our informative Crowdfunding Resource Guide to get a broader picture of how to build and succeed with your Crowdfunding Business venture.
Building a Crowdfunding platform with IgnitionDeck, you have a couple of options:
Option One: The Crowdfunding Platform
This option represents most of our IgnitionDeck customers. This customer segment wants to build a Crowdfunding business by providing the tools and functionality that empower project creators to connect with their audience of interested project backers.
Who is this option for?
This option is great when you plan to host a platform that caters to many different crowdfunding projects at once—it’s a good enterprise tool for organizations or, again, for the business-minded person selling digital tools for project creators to fund their projects, startups, or to raise equity for their businesses.
Why this option is great
- You own the platform. That means you run the website, you are in control of the software, and you manage the fees that are applied. You set the rules!
- It’s white-labeled. Your project creators and their backers will never know that it’s IgnitionDeck that’s powering the platform. You aren’t restricted to a brand design that isn’t yours. You can customize the look, feel, and functionality however you wish.
- Ability to use the most powerful e-commerce platform available. IgnitionDeck integrates with WooCommerce, one of the most widely used Crowdfunding platforms on the web; your campaigns will run more smoothly, and you’ll have access to a wide variety of payment gateways and e-commerce tools.
Option Two: A Single Crowdfunding Campaign
Who is this option for
You don’t want to build a large platform that supports multiple Crowdfunding Projects at one time and has just a single campaign you’re raising funds for. This option will work for you. This route is more in line with traditional fundraising campaigns, and you have similar WordPress-related options.
- Web Hosting
- What is fee splitting?
- How does fee splitting relate to your business?
- What platforms allow fee splitting?
- How IgnitionDeck supports fee splitting.
Hosted Vs. Self-Hosted
When considering a web-based solution for your business, where to host the solution arises. Do you want to host it yourself? Do you want the platform to host the solution for you?
Hosted Crowdfunding platforms like StartEngine, GoFundMe, and IndieGogo provide a lot of utility out of the box and are often easier to manage than their self-hosted competitors.
The technical aspects of running a hosted platform aren’t considerations you need to make. The platform providers handle SSL certificates, bugs and errors, and uptime monitoring—all of those technical details. You only have to worry about configuring your account’s options and setting everything up!
Hosted platforms also provide the ability to showcase your project to a broader audience. This means more opportunities to get new eyeballs on your Crowdfunding projects.
Hosted Crowdfunding Platforms often have higher fees per transaction and usually charge a percentage of fees and/or equity raised from your or your backers’ Crowdfunding campaigns. That’s necessary to keep the Hosted platform running.
Hosted platforms have their own rules that you must abide by. And sometimes, those rules run counter to your morals and ethics, and you may find yourself getting removed from the platform and often without any notice. While it’s unlikely to happen to most campaigns, it does happen.
As with any self-hosted platform, it’s essential to understand what you’re getting into. Self-hosted means that you and your team (if you have one) are responsible for the functionality, security, and stability of all relevant components that make your platform function properly.
There is a steep learning curve for the non-technical user—it’s not impossible to learn and get up to speed on how to manage and maintain your self-hosted Crowdfunding platform. Still, there are a lot of potential pain points that even affect the most seasoned technical user.
Our advice is to have a technical team or person on hand that you can consult with in the event you run into a technical hurdle, and you will (it’s not a matter of if) run into technical hiccups.
What to watch out for
The thing with IgnitionDeck that makes it a compelling option is that we are built for WordPress, one of the internet’s most widely used CMS platforms, and there are a ton of communities across the web that cater to WP. For example, you can find Slack Channels, Facebook Groups, and more. We’ve listed these necessary and helpful resources down below.
Why We Believe IgnitionDeck is the Right Choice
Fee Splitting – This feature is the line in the sand between solutions like ours and those other more extensive options. IgnitionDeck allows you to split fees with your Project Creators and their backers. You can collect fees at checkout and allow project creators to enable their backers to pay platform fees on their behalf with every payment.
Very few platforms allow for this type of fee-splitting functionality. For example, Kickstarter doesn’t do it, StartEngine doesn’t do it, and GoFundMe doesn’t do it, either. However, Thrinacia, a hosted white-labeled solution, allows for this, just like IgnitionDeck.
Customizability – IgnitionDeck works great out of the box, and you can start raising funds with any of our gorgeous themes.
But you can do that if you want to tack on some custom functionality! Of course, you’d need to hire a developer to do that work for you. IgnitionDeck provides custom development services. Alternatively, you can hire someone from a freelance network like Codeable, a specifically WordPress-focused offering, FreeUp, or Upwork. Whatever you need, it can be built with IgnitionDeck. Other platforms, like Thrinacia, don’t allow that level of flexibility—it’s one of the trade-offs when choosing a Hosted Solution over a Self-Hosted one.
Who is this option best for?
Building out a Crowdfunding platform on your own is no small matter. Anyone can do it! However, in our experience, we find that hosting your platform requires specific resources and knowledge to succeed.
Folks who are technically sound or proficient. This type of user will take to various technical concepts much more accessible than novices.
If you don’t have technical expertise, having access to a team who does or someone who possesses that knowledge is critical. Suppose you can find a trusted developer, friend, or acquaintance with technical prowess; great! However, putting together a team to help support your project ensures a greater probability of success.
DIY Crowdfunding is great for users who can manage their web hosting since you’ll need a web server to manage and deliver your campaigns.
If you build it, will they come? It’s a great line from a great movie, but it doesn’t guarantee that random internet strangers will flock to your platform. So you have to know how to market to folks who are interested in what you’re doing? Makes sense. Of course you would! But where does one even begin?
I recommend Gabriel Weinberg’s Traction if you want to level up your marketing tactics and knowledge quickly. It’s a great book that does a great job of showing you how to market to various digital channels and how to determine if the channel is any good for your business or not. I found that book to be super helpful.
Whether you’re building a Crowdfunding Platform to help fund artists in your community or to back the production of musicians or technologists looking to make the next big thing, being passionate, even obsessed over a given subject, is one of the surest ways to predict success in such a venture.
People with a passion for a given subject draw others to them, like mosquitos to light (or to my blood). Passionate people know where their people exist online; if you’re this person, you know where they live and discuss similar interests, making it easier to promote your platform.
Promoting Your Crowdfunding Business
Having an understanding of how to market through various channels is helpful. Also, learning which tracks you have the most traction on matters quite a bit. Maybe it’s your personal Facebook or LinkedIn or your personal Instagram account. Unfortunately, I see too many people not hitting up their networks to share their stories or what they’re working on.
That’s a big mistake! Instead, share your hustle and projects with people who know, love, and support you! For example, Pamela Hunter did an extensive Crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Hunter shared her story with her friends and one of them, a reporter at the LA Times, picked up the story, and things exploded from there.
Sure, it helps if you know someone with a giant megaphone. But, unfortunately, most of us don’t have that luxury. The point is not to be shy about what you’re doing. Your passion and work will speak volumes, and people will share what you’re doing.
If you plan to succeed in building your business platform, you’ll need to accept and process payments. PayPal and Stripe are our most popular payment integrations.
However, some of our customers have noted problems with Crowdfunding via PayPal as they have an uneasy relationship with donations and Crowdfunding. As such, I generally don’t recommend PayPal for processing payments for CrowdFunding platforms.
Stripe, on the other hand, is a much more accessible platform for collecting and processing payments and works well with our fee-splitting features.
You can find all of our currently supported payment gateways here.
Making Your Crowdfunding Website Look Nice
Having a professional, nice-looking website is essential to building trust with your potential Creators and their Backers.
IgnitionDeck has several professional Crowdfunding Themes you can use by signing up for our Echelon or Enterprise product offering.
You can also use your theme for your Crowdfunding Platform if using IgnitionDeck Enterprise. For example, lift Women is a Crowdfunding platform that does exactly this!
There has never been a better time to start a Crowdfunding Business than now! You have all of the tools available to you right from the start.
As I mentioned, starting a Crowdfunding platform is daunting, and it’s tricky, even for the most experienced people, but the tools make it doable, and we have Open Source to thank for that (and WordPress)!
Before you take that initial step, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself how much time you have to dedicate to such a venture. Who can (and will) help you in a pinch and guide you along the way? Where can you find support when you need it? One of the best things about IgnitionDeck is our support. Our support is fantastic, and we have a great team. Sure, I’m biased, but when I’m right, I’m right!
What will you build?
Got questions? Hit us up. Let’s talk!!
Get Started With IgnitionDeck Today
Start your next Crowdfunding Project on the right foot with WordPress’s most loved and longest-running White-Label Crowdfunding Platform