Crowdfunding Sites for Non-US Citizens
Raising Money Through Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is now a well-established way for people to raise money. Before people had donated to well-known charities, their local school, and churches, but now they can donate directly to other individuals.
People try to raise money for a variety of things: to travel, to start a business or social project or to provide medical care. When we wanted to start a crowdfunding campaign for equipment we needed here on our farm, we found our choices were limited because we were not living in the USA. Sites like Kickstarter weren't available to us because of where we lived. It didn't matter that I was American; it had to do with the fact that we were not in the US or Canada. In the end, we did find a crowdfunding site to use, but I was annoyed that we were deemed unworthy for the other sites, simply because of our location.
This article aims to highlight the choices of crowdfunding sites which allow non-US based people to partake in the crowdfunding experience and help them promote their campaign to people around the world.
Not only will I be listing the sites open to non-US residents, but I will explain the different types of funding, and some of the expected costs. For specific details, I would recommend you visit the sites and see for yourself which is a good fit for your needs. Some are targeted at specific types of projects, for example, social improvements including environmental issues, and one site is aimed at those interested in projects related to videoing.
Projects for Crowdfunding
The projects people raise money for vary but can be classed into three very broad categories:
Technology and innovation: Bringing products to the market including fashion, phone accessories, apps, food, health, and travel.
The arts: Projects involving writing, music, dancing, games, photography etc.
Social, global and community: Educational, environmental, cultural, and animal rights projects.
Ways of Raising Money Through Crowdfunding
There are three options for receiving funds when crowdfunding and not every site offers all of these. This may affect your decision to which platform you will ultimately choose.
An "all-or-nothing" or "fixed" option means you either make your target or you don't receive your funds. Most of the sites use this method but not all. The money which people donate is put into an escrow account and if you fail to make your target, the money is returned to the people who donated. The idea behind this is, if your project doesn't hit its financial target, it will never get off the ground in any case.
Another option to consider is more flexible and you can get your funds whether your target is reached or not. The people who donate know they will not be receiving their money back; it is just a donation to your cause. This too is held in an escrow account until the campaign ends. This is the method we used in our campaign to fund our equipment. Although we didn't reach our target, we were still able to put that money towards equipment for our farm. This is often referred to as flexible funding.
The third way is for your supporter to become a continuous patron or sponsor. Using this method, the donor would pay for each record, video or book, for example. Let's say, for example, you love someone's videos on YouTube and you want to give them money enabling them to create more. Each time they put out a new video, you will be charged. It may a couple of dollars or more depending on how much you wish to give. The amount you contribute can be altered or deleted altogether. Some creatives (this is the phrase used) put their work out often, perhaps every two weeks, as in a new YouTube video. Other people may be producing an album or a book, which of course takes more time; in this case, a sponsor may wish to donate money on a monthly basis. They are in essence paying that person a small wage so the creator can continue creating without the pressure of needing to go out and find 'a day job'.
Costs of Crowdfunding
The costs for crowdfunding need to be taken into account before you launch your first campaign. There are no costs when you sign up with the crowdfunding site, and there will be nothing to pay if you use the 'all or nothing' option and aren't successful.
- Platform charges: If your campaign is successful and you reach or surpass your target, you will be charged. The fees are listed in the table on this page and also on the individual crowdfunding sites. Besides the fees payable to the platform, there are also credit card, Paypal, or money transfer fees to pay.
- Rewards: You will probably offer rewards or perks to donors: for example, a personal note of thanks for smaller amounts, or tangible products such as t-shirts or albums, items that apply to your craft or have your logo printed on them. For our campaign, we offered a thank you for smaller donations, plus a blog writing service, a vacation at our home, and a photographic shoot. If your rewards are non-digital, you will need to factor in the cost of postage for shipping them.
- Taxes: You will be required to pay tax on the money you receive.
As soon as you list your campaign you will be inundated with people who want to promote it for a fee. This is an option, and if your social media circle isn't large, you may want to consider this. Places such as Fiverr have numerous people who will promote your cause. However, read the comments to see if any people had responses as a result of this promotion method. Twitter and Facebook are also popular places to post your campaign.
Name of Crowdfunding
Fixed (All or nothing) or flexible
5% +3% credit card fees (0% for non-profit)
All or nothing
5% + 3% if target is reached
All or nothing
Varies depending on location of creator and payment method
All or nothing
5% + 3% if target is reached
All or nothing
All or nothing or flexible
6% VAT included + Paypal or credit card fees
5% plus other payout fees
List of Non-US Crowdfunding Sites
The following is a list of sites which accept people from around the world. I have also listed their current Alexa ranking which shows their popularity on the web and also how much has been raised on their site.
Indiegogo is the largest and most popular of the crowdfunding sites available to use if outside the US. This was the site we used. Their Alexa ranking is 1505 showing its popularity. As you can see in the table, they offer both flexible and fixed options. At the time of writing, through their site creatives have raised more than $1 billion and they have campaigns from 223 different countries.
Ulele: Currently, Ulele has projects from people in 201 different countries. In order to start a campaign, you have to be 18 years old or older and live in a country which uses one of the following currencies: €, $ (US, CAD etc.), or £.
KissKissbankbank: This crowdfunding site accepts international creators. They too work on the all or nothing rule. With more than €66 million raised, they are steadily climbing in the ranks of crowdfunding sites. Their tagline is 'Let's Unleash Creativity.' Their Alexa ranking is 34714.
Patreon: This is an ongoing payment. You will be charged 5% of all money which comes in whether it is a monthly payment or per item. Think of this as a paycheck from people who want you to succeed. Their Alexa rank is a fantastic 684 at the time of writing this article.
Crowdfunder.co.uk has both flexible funding and all or nothing. Based in the UK, their fees are slightly higher than the others and vary due to VAT and country of the creator. Via their site, their creators have received £37,000.000. Their Alexa ranking is 61079.
Touscoprod.com is based in France and accepts crowdfunding campaigns from people around the world who want to make films, television programs, or documentaries. It is aimed at those who are interested in video-related projects. The people who fund you would be co-producers although the creator always holds all copyrights. The average raised on their site is €8,000 and this is on an all or nothing basis. They charge 5% and 3% bank fees. Their Alexa ranking is 776,189.
Startsomegood.com is slightly different in that they are a crowdfunding site for making positive changes on a broader scale. They want campaigns which will have a positive social, global or environmental impact. Their fee is also 5%. They have 24-hour support with virtual agents in Australia, UK, and the US. Their tag line is 'We help world-changing projects succeed'. With an Alexa ranking at 462,149, they have played a crucial role in helping 765 projects get funded with more than $7 million raised.
Helping You Succeed
All of the sites listed want your campaign to succeed and offer help and guidance even before your launch. Read what you can to get your project up and running successfully.
Their guides are free to download on their sites and will help you maximize your chances of a successful outcome.