10 Alternative Crowdfunding Sites to Help You Do Good

From brownies and books to social enterprises and solar energy, these crowdfunding sites get projects funded - with the help of the masses.

Mar 30, 2015
Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding makes projects bloom (Shutterstock) 

Crowdfunding - the practice of funding a project by raising contributions from a large number of donors, usually online - has revolutionized fundraising. Plain and simple. And while the three biggest sites, GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo have helped hundreds of thousands projects get funded, there are hundreds of niche platforms that help smaller, speciality ventures get the support they need. From funding women’s rights to getting books written, these 10 sites are there to help you do good - whether you want to lend a hand, or have a project to launch yourself.

1. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

Catapult is a partner-based crowdfunding site to promote girls and women's’ equality and rights. The platform works on a yearly basis, taking on hundreds of projects at a time and promoting them over the course of a calendar year. Since its inception in 2012, Catapult has hosted projects in 86 countries, supporting over 400,000 girls and women around the world.
SAMPLE PROJECT: A maternal health project increasing safe deliveries in Cambodia.
GOOD FOR: Promoting women’s issues - from gender equality and leadership to maternal health and reproductive rights.

Catapult crowdfunding site

Catapulting girls and women forward (Screenshot)

2. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD

Barnraiser is looking to radically change the food industry, by giving a voice to sustainable food and farming initiatives. The site provides a platform for food innovators to come together, share their stories and raise money for food related projects.
SAMPLE PROJECT: Goldilocks Goodies are freshly-baked, gluten-free treats that use local ingredients.
GOOD FOR: Environmentally-minded foodies.

Barnraiser crowdfunding site

Powering the food movement one project at a time (Screenshot)

3. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR SOCIAL GOOD PROJECTS

kriticalmass is a crowdfunding platform and more, which helps social good projects get support in all different forms. Campaigns field donations, encourage people to use their social clout to spread the good word, and even recruit volunteers.
SAMPLE PROJECT: A nonprofit working on solar empowerment for rural West African communities.
GOOD FOR: Positive social and environmental projects.

kriticalmass crowdfunding site

Powering good feels great (Screenshot)

4. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE THAT WILL MAKE YOU GIGGLE

Crowdrise is probably the only fundraising platform that will make you laugh out loud. Founded by a group of social entrepreneurs - including actor Edward Norton - Crowdrise is user-friendly for donors and charities alike. The site provides users with ideas for fundraising campaigns, including birthdays, runs and creative, adventurous pursuits. Crowdrise also offers goodies for “being really good at Crowdrise,” like funky tshirts and extra exposure for your campaign.
SAMPLE PROJECT: A triathlete raising funds for dolphin research in the Ganges River.
GOOD FOR: Raising funds for medical expenses, personal emergencies, tuition, volunteer projects, and charities. And a good laugh while you’re at it.

Crowdrise crowdfunding site

Raise money for awesome causes and have the most fun while you do it (Screenshot)

5. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR BUDDING WRITERS

Unbound is for authors what Kickstarter is for musicians. With a standard crowdfunding vibe, budding writers pitch book ideas, and backers offer different levels of support according to the amount they pledge.
SAMPLE PROJECT: The Power of Soft is a book pitch by experienced businessman Hilary Gallo, about how to get what you want and still be nice. The book was recently fully funded and will be available in print in the coming months.
GOOD FOR: Aspiring writers.

Unbound crowdfunding site

Books are now in your hands (Screenshot)

6. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT

Spacehive is a UK-based crowdfunding platform that specializes in neighborhood improvement projects. Users can pitch ideas and fundraise, while donors can give to projects that interest them.
SAMPLE PROJECT: The Land Trust wants to create an outdoor classroom in London, to inspire children and adults alike about wildlife, conservation and the environment.
GOOD FOR: Local community makeovers.

Spacehive crowdfunding site

Crowdfunding civic projects (Screenshot)

7. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

Modest Needs is a nonprofit crowdfunding site that provides emergency grants for people who really need it. The site serves as a platform where low income yet essentially self-sufficient households can request emergency financial help for specific causes.
SAMPLE PROJECT: A hardworking single mother who also supports her elderly mother needs help with mortgage repayments after an unexpected car expense.
GOOD FOR: Hard working people who have fallen on hard times - and compassionate donors who want to lend a hand.

Modest Needs crowdfunding site

Make a world of difference with your spare change (Screenshot)

8. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR SOLAR ENERGY

Mosaic is a crowdfunding-like platform that allows individuals to invest in solar projects and receive repayments with interest. The site vets high quality projects, minimizing potential financial risks to investors and maximizing the positive impact on the environment.
SAMPLE PROJECT: In Federal Heights, Colarado, 169 investors financed solar panels for the Pinnacle Charter School. All up, $450,000 was raised for the project.
GOOD FOR: Supporting solar energy.

Mosaic crowdfunding site

Investing in solar (Screenshot)

9. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR FASHIONISTAS

Sevenly features weekly tshirt campaigns that raise funds for alternating causes. The hip California-made tops are sold online, and $7 from each purchase is donated to a charity.
SAMPLE PROJECT: The Gentle Barn collection offers a selection of animal print garments, raising money for children with special needs and at-risk youth.
GOOD FOR: Fashionistas with heart.

Sevenly crowdfunding site

Designed to inspire (Screenshot)

10. THE CROWDFUNDING SITE THAT FINANCES LOANS

Combining a tech-savvy approach with a big heart, Kiva has become a leader in web-based microfinance. Kiva's pitch is simple: lend $25, and take part in a venture that involves 61 countries, 146 partners and 450 volunteers. The site collaborates with a network of microfinance organizations who help screen the loans and make sure they are repaid.  
SAMPLE PROJECT: Rudis Evenilson is a corn farmer in El Salvador, who needs a $300 loan to prepare his land for planting and purchase fertilizer. Partially funded at time of writing, the loan will enable Evenilson to provide an education for his five-year-old son.
GOOD FOR: Supporting entrepreneurial efforts in under-resourced regions worldwide.

Kiva crowdfunding site

Loans that change lives (Screenshot)

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