GoFundMe business campaigns allow businesses to reap the benefits of crowdfunding—essentially accessing funding that doesn’t involve taking on business loan debt or diluting equity. That said, creating a successful GoFundMe business campaign will take a fair amount of investment, marketing, and time.
Whether you’re just starting up, raising money in a dry spell, or seeking funds for an exciting opportunity, crowdfunding might seem like the logical choice. With all of the success stories swirling around the internet of entrepreneurs who raised money for their businesses through crowdfunding, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. And that’s especially the case when it comes to GoFundMe, which is the top crowdfunding site on the internet.
However, before you choose to create a GoFundMe business campaign, it’s crucial you take some time to understand the benefits and the downsides of relying on GoFundMe for business capital needs.
You probably know of crowdfunding in a personal context, people fundraising for a cause or particular person in need, but let’s look at how it works in the context of raising capital for a business.
Overall, crowdfunding is a method of fundraising typically used to raise money for business ventures, personal projects, nonprofits, etc. through the collection of small amounts of funds from a large number of contributors.
When it comes to your business, instead of securing a large lump sum from one or two sources, you secure many small donations from various sources to reach your business capital needs. And GoFundMe is one of the most widely used crowdfunding platforms on the internet.
We’ll explore all the features that make GoFundMe one of the best options for crowdfunding your business. Additionally, we’ll go over when your business is in the right financial scenario to create a crowdfunding campaign, and when it’s not. Finally, we’ll cover great alternatives for financing your business when crowdfunding isn’t the right fit for your business’s financial needs.
We’ll start with all you need to know about GoFundMe business funding.
One of the biggest perks of financing your business with GoFundMe is the simplicity. Especially when compared to your other business funding options that often come tied with bureaucracy and paperwork, GoFundMe business fundraising is remarkably user-friendly and democratized.
You can reap the benefits of a GoFundMe campaign for your business in four straightforward steps.
Start by conceptualizing the fundraising campaign you want to create. Think about past campaigns you’ve seen and what appealed to you as a potential donor, then see if you can incorporate similar tactics.
You should ideally create your campaign around a story. Even if the motivation for the campaign is something as simple as buying a new piece of equipment, explain why that equipment is key to your business success and why you need it. Explain to potential donors where their money would go and how it would help your business succeed.
Once you have the storyline picked out and the idea for your campaign decided, it’s time to make your GoFundMe page creative and appealing. Use images and videos to illustrate your business, a good fundraising title, and a thorough description of your campaign can also go a long way in making your business funding more successful.
Next up, you’ll need to raise awareness around your business’s GoFundMe campaign.
Like most other businesses that crowdfund, your business’s finances will likely end up coming mostly from your first-, second-, and third-degree connections. So don’t be shy. Use your social media channels and other means of communication to let people know about your campaign and where they can go to contribute.
Take to your business’s Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Any account that you and your business have, share your campaign’s link with an attention-grabbing caption.
If you and your business don’t have social media, sign up for channels to help spread the word. You should also consider sharing your campaign in person at social events or enlisting supporters who have a strong social media presence to share your campaign on a regular basis.
After you’ve put in the work to perform your first two steps, this third step’s easy—just watch as the donations roll in on your GoFundMe business campaign.
As they roll in, you’ll be able to withdraw the proceeds even before you meet your goal, and doing so won’t affect your campaign’s progress tracker, either.
If you’re offering incentives to donors, like a social media “thank you” shoutout, or another small gift, be sure to keep up with those as the donations roll in.
Lastly, after your campaign is over, you can enjoy the results.
Use your proceeds toward your campaign objective, send out thank you notes quickly, and send updates to those who donated to your campaign.
Make sure to highlight the money being put to use for your business so your donors know that you used their funds properly. This will help if, in the future, you need to fundraise again.
Now that we’ve gone over how to use a GoFundMe business fundraising campaign, let’s take a look at the precise reasons why you might launch a GoFundMe business fundraising campaign.
Some of these reasons will apply to crowdfunding at large, while others will apply to GoFundMe specifically. But all of them are serious perks that you’ll be able to access if you decide to make a GoFundMe business campaign.
With GoFundMe, you can rest assured that your donors’ payments are processed securely.
In the unlikely chance of a mishap, GoFundMe guarantees any payment made on their site, and they’ll refund any discrepancies.
GoFundMe allows you to withdraw your campaign’s proceeds while your campaign is still running.
Let’s say you’re attempting to raise $100,000 to buy a new storefront for your business, but you need to make a $10,000 down payment earlier than you expected. Your campaign has only raised $20,000, but that’s okay. You’ll be able to withdraw the $10,000 your business needs.
With GoFundMe, you can withdraw your proceeds as you need, even if your campaign is still running or your total goal hasn’t been met yet.
Additionally, GoFundMe won’t charge your donors any sneaky fees that might deter them from contributing to your campaign. Indeed, GoFundMe is remarkably transparent about the fees that they impose, and the onus will never fall on your donors to pay any of the fees that keep GoFundMe running.
Some crowdfunding sources come with an ultimatum built into any campaign you run with them—if you don’t reach your goal, then you don’t get your campaign’s proceeds.
While this might be an impetus for donors to help you reach your goal, it’s more often than not a bigger source of stress than it’s worth.
This isn’t a feature that GoFundMe business campaigns come with, so you can rest easy knowing that, even if your campaign underperforms slightly, you’ll still have access to your well-deserved proceeds.
Though this is in no way an all-encompassing rule for GoFundMe donations, most donations made through GoFundMe for businesses are considered “personal gifts” and, as such, aren’t taxed.
While GoFundMe business campaigns are relatively straightforward, questions could still come up in the process.
In this case, you’ll be able to get in touch with GoFundMe’s customer support in as little as five minutes if you reach out to them during typical business hours.
With all that said, it’s time to take a look at the downsides of raising money for your business through GoFundMe.
As GoFundMe is one of the best crowdfunding sites out there, all of the downsides of using it are really just the downsides of funding your business via crowdfunding.
Nonetheless, it’s important to go over all the disadvantages baked into GoFundMe as a platform, so let’s take a moment to look into these crowdfunding downsides.
One main downside of raising money for your business through GoFundMe—and crowdfunding platforms generally—is that they charge platform and processing fees.
With GoFundMe, these fees together will amount to 7.9% of the donation plus $0.30 per donation. Broken down, that would be a 5% GoFundMe platform fee plus a 2.9% and $0.30 processing fee.
These extra fees can certainly add up, so be sure to keep them in mind when deciding whether or not to take your funding efforts to GoFundMe.
Put simply, running a successful GoFundMe business fundraising campaign will require a lot of creative framing and marketing on your part.
Even though the four steps of setting up a GoFundMe campaign for your business are straightforward and user-friendly, actually taking those steps is a bit more complicated.
If you want to raise a lot of money for your business, get ready to do a lot of creative marketing and outreach. Put simply, you’re probably going to have to reach out to a lot of friends, family, and customers to get your business’s GoFundMe some real momentum.
Finally, at risk of stating the obvious, you’re probably not going to be able to secure as much funding with crowdfunding as you would with more traditional business funding sources.
Unless your campaign goes absolutely viral, it’s pretty likely that your fundraising proceeds won’t be able to match the cash or credit that you can get through business loans or business credit cards
It’s easy to get hyped up about the idea of crowdfunding. No debt, credit check, or onlooking investors, no problem. Right?
Though the upsides to crowdfunding are undeniable, it’s important to recognize when crowdfunding isn’t the right move for your business.
Let’s take a look at common scenarios that business owners can find themselves in. In each of these cases, crowdfunding is probably not the best choice, especially if you’re looking to it as your sole source of funding.
If one of these situations sounds like your business, then we suggest that you skip financing your business with GoFundMe.
Though it might work as a supplementary source of funding, crowdfunding is often too hit-or-miss to rely on as your business’s only source of funding. And this is especially true if your business doesn’t have access to the time or resources that a successful GoFundMe business campaign will require.
If you’re not able to share and frame your campaign properly, then crowdfunding probably isn’t the best option for your business’s financial needs.
Let’s say you need a specific lump sum of money, or your business will lose a make-or-break opportunity.
If your business is in a situation even remotely like this, then crowdfunding is not the answer to your financial predicament. Again, this way of fundraising is far too unpredictable to bank on.
If you need a guaranteed, specific amount of money for your business, then look to a more traditional source of funding—like a business loan or a business credit card—to secure it.
If crowdfunding isn’t the perfect fit for you, there’s likely some other form of business financing that will be a better fit. For business owners in a situation where they need a specific lump sum of money as soon as possible, the following funding sources will likely be better.
Here are your best alternatives for securing funding that isn’t crowdsourced.
If your business needs a quick influx of financing, we suggest that you turn to one of the top 0% intro APR business credit cards.
Our top suggestion?
The Blue Business Plus from Amex. This business credit card offers a 0% intro APR period of 12 months. As long as you make your minimum monthly payments on time, you’ll be able to carry an interest-free balance for these 12 months.
If you’re considering running a crowdsourcing campaign in order to make a big-ticket purchase for your business, then you should also consider looking into this 0% intro APR card.
You’ll be able to make a big purchase for your business and pay it off gradually over more than a year. Plus, you won’t gain a cent of interest in the meantime. Just make sure you have a plan to pay off your balance before the introductory period ends, or a variable APR will set in and you will owe interest.
If you were considering GoFundMe for business because you need quick, easy-to-access business funding, then a short-term loan might serve you well.
Short-term loans are quicker, more accessible versions of traditional business term loans. Generally speaking, business owners with personal credit scores of 550 or above, at least one year in business, and $50,000+ in annual revenue can qualify for short-term loans. Not to mention, short-term loans can range in size anywhere from $2,500 to $250,000.
Plus, if you qualify for a short-term loan, you can get funded in as little as one business day.
Though securing a short-term loan might require a bit of paperwork, it would be nothing compared to the effort you’d have to sink into a successful GoFundMe business campaign.
So, what’s the long and short of all of this information on GoFundMe business funding?
Put simply, GoFundMe—and crowdsourcing at large—isn’t a reliable source of funding. Even the best-laid plans for fundraising often go awry. We suggest you look for another main source of business funding and consider any crowdfunding you do to be a supplementary, cherry on top funding for your business.