Ok, I’ll skip the wonted “Why not free crowdfunding?” part. There are plenty of reasons why crowdfunding platforms have fees and are not free or cheap. First and foremost – they have their expenses as well, especially bigger platforms.
Additionally, fees – as well as all restrictions in general – are forcing the campaign owner to really try and make a damn good campaign, as opposed to just throwing an image plus 200-300 words at the page and hope for the best (which won’t be much higher than $0 if you’re not promoting your own campaign in every way imaginable).
That’s basically the delicate art of making a crowdfunding platform – you want to make things easier both for the campaign owner and for the funders, but at the same time you want to provoke and motivate them to create a campaign that’s actually good.
Usually, when platforms give their campaigns the freedom to just do whatever they want, however they want, the result is an entire page filled with $0 campaigns. Poorly made campaigns that haven’t been promoted at all and as a result – achieve nothing.
And as a subsequent result – those campaigns make the platform itself look bad in front of the newcomers because “Well, apparently, campaigns on this platform don’t do too well.”
And the only fault of the platform itself? Giving the campaigners too much freedom and trust, lowering their fees or – may the crowdfunding gods forbid it – lowering them to zero and making the platform free.
Enough with the anti-thesis however, before I convince myself! Because “freedom” and “trust” are two of the main words, around which the entire concept of crowdfunding exists!
The point of a crowdfunding platform is not to restrict the campaign creator and make things harder for him/her, in hopes that a better campaign will come out of it as a result. The entire point of a crowdfunding platform’s existence is to help people looking for funding to get it.
To that end a lot of platforms give campaigners detailed guides with advices and hints, others offer personalized consultations, etc, etc. And that’s the way things should be done – not by restricting the campaigner’s freedom and burdening him/her with fees so that he/she will just try harder. Instead, a crowdfunding platform’s goal should be to free the campaigner of as many restrictions as possible and make things easier, while at the same time giving advices and guidance to assure the campaigns are as well-made as possible.
Plus, behind the nice words and explanations about “motivating campaigners”, once you look at the numbers it becomes painfully clear that most platforms are either in it for the profit, or, well – became “in it for the profit” later on. I won’t even bother with links and statistics here – the biggest platforms have thousands of campaigns on them, lots of those reach tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars and more. And the platform takes 4-6% of all that. Just imagine the numbers. Add to that the 2-4% that go to credit card companies, and the campaigner is basically forced to say “Goodbye” to ~10% of the donations.
(Not to mention the former 9% fee IndieGoGo had a while back for non-100% campaigns, which resulted in most campaigners giving ~13% of their money away!)
Also add that many of those funds – especially on smaller projects – come from family, friends and friends of friends. And ~10% of my friends’ money should go somewhere else? Sorry, but that’s not OK and – call me an idealist – but it’s not what crowdfunding is supposed to be.
And so – here’s CoverrMe.com! The platform is designed specifically for smaller, personal projects – medical bills, traveling wishes, weddings/honeymoons, birthdays, funerals/memorial services, pets, family matters, etc. And since the majority of those campaigns are usually funded mostly by friends, friends of friends and family, or – at the very least the funders are driven by mostly altruistic motivations – it’s just not right to burden the campaigners with fees.
Instead – CoverrMe.com offers the opportunity for free crowdfunding, while at the same time looks at helping campaigners with advices and hints instead of restrictions and fees! And yes – in time, when the platform gets a bit bigger, it’ll probably stop being 100% free and introduce some form of minor % fee in order to keep the lights up.
However, even then it will be as low as possible and far from the ~5% industry standard, with the goal of helping small projects achieve their goal and keep what they’ve earned.
Because that’s what crowdfunding is supposed to be about.