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7 ways to crowdfund on your own website

If you have a great idea and are hoping to crowdfund but don’t want to give up control to a third party or you have a unique idea of how to crowdfund, these tools will allow you to do it yourself with WordPress.





Crowdfund your next project yourself

If you are looking for alternative ways to crowdfund your next project, you might give WordPress a chance. There are many different plugins, apps, and themes that work along with WordPress to help you get the most out of crowdfunding. By using WordPress, you can quickly tell people what you are doing and inspire them to contribute to your campaign.

Most people don’t know that they don’t have to rely on a third party site that takes a cut or high fees, and while the disadvantage is you have to do more legwork, the advantage is that you are truly in control.

You can offer rewards and perks for your backers as well. Here are a few ways to get your crowdfunding campaign started:

WordPress themes to get you started

Theme Forest offers several choices for a theme that will turn your WordPress account into a successful crowdfunding campaign. These are three favorites: Fundify, Campaignify, and CrowdPress.

1. Fundify is reminiscent of Indiegogo or KickStarter, but on a smaller scale that you can use any time you need help funding a project. All you need to do it create a campaign, by setting your goal amount, target date, and tell people about your campaign and yourself. Then, set backer rewards. Finally, decide whether you want a fixed or flexible campaign. A fixed campaign will only collect funds if you meet your target goal, but for projects where any amount of money raised is helpful, run a flexible campaign and collect contributions even if you do not meet your target goal. Fundify is $60 to download the theme combines the plugin with outputs (such as payment options like We Pay and Paypal) and then fully integrates into your WordPress account in a visually appealing manner, but if you just need the plugin, it is free.

To demo Fundify, Campaignify, or view similar offerings, you can visit this site to get more information.

2. Campaignify is very similar to Fundify. It offers you the best of the big crowdfunding sites, without the hassle. Using WordPress plugins means you will not be told what you can or cannot raise funds for, no portion of your funds will be taken away; what you raise is yours, and there are not a hundred other campaigns to take attention away from yours; your viewers see your campaign, on your site. Campaignify offers all of the benefits of Fundify, only in a slightly different layout. The complete theme is available for download for $55, but as with Fundify, the basic plugin is free. If you are curious about how these themes work, there are several demo campaigns on the Campaignify site.

3. CrowdPress offers yet another option for WordPress themes. It offers many of the same features as Fundify and Campaignify, but the layout is much bolder. It also offers multiple page layout options, a unique flip-style slider, and custom widgets with a big admin panel. The complete package is downloadable for $45, but again, the basic plugin is free. You can see a demo of CrowdPress here.

WordPress plugins

4. Fundraising offers a WordPress plugin to optimize your crowdfunding endeavors. It integrates with PayPal with a hassle-free interface: creating a new fundraiser is as simple as adding a new post to your WordPress blog. No more sending people to a different site and risking losing a potential donation. This plugin is compatible with any WordPress theme. Allowing you to retain the branding or images you already have in place with your existing theme, or create a new one for each campaign. Fundraising offers widgets, an automatically displayed “thank you” message, and fully customizable options from your dashboard. To get this plugin, you will need to become of WPMU DEV member, but this will give you access not only to this plugin, but over 350 more. Your first month’s membership is $10, after that it is $99 per month.

5. You can also use WordPress’ own Personal Fundraiser plugin to raise funds. In my opinion, it is much less user friendly, in that you have to manually set up PayPal, options, and be fairly proficient with shortcodes, to get your campaign operational and running the way you need it to maximize efficiency. However, it is completely free. So, if you already very proficient with WordPress and shortcodes, this could be another good plugin option for you.

If none of these plugins are what you need, here are two more to check out: IgnitionDeck and CrowdFund HQ.

Third party options that keep you in control

6. IgnitionDeck lets you crowdfund, pre-sell, or raise money for your next project. The WordPress crowdfunding theme, Theme 500, by IgnitionDeck is completely free, but, IgnitionDeck will also work with any of the thousands of themes available for WordPress. IgnitionDeck skins allow you to modify the framework in order to better match your overall web presence. You can change themes at any time because the magic is in the plugin, not the theme. Also, the IgnitionDeck MakerKit offers integration with PayPal, Stripe, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, and more. So it will enable you to take your fundraising to the next level. I especially like the Mailchimp integration because it automatically adds backers to your Mailchimp account for newsletters and updates. No more manually transferring your contacts.

7. CrowdFundHQ is less of a plugin and more of a platform. It is fully customizable with CSS, or choose from clickable options. You have unlimited hosting space which is HTML5 and CSS3 compatible. Also, you can choose a custom domain name or use a subdomain of CrowdFundHQ. There are several different payment options already integrated in to the platform: PayPal, WePay, Dwolla, and BitPay. And perhaps the most unique feature to CrowdFundHQ is that is offers people the ability to contribute time or resources instead of just money; allowing more people to help out. Since this is a platform, instead of a plugin, it definitely has more to offer, but it does cost quite a bit more than the plugins. So, you will need to weigh the benefits against your budget. There is a full list of features available here. It is free to try for fourteen days, after that it is $99/month for up to $50,000/month in transactions, or $199/month for unlimited amounts of transactions.

Crowdfunding can really help you accomplish your project goals quickly and efficiently and with all the new plugins and apps available it has never been easier to find something that will work perfectly with your needs and your budget.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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  1. Nathan Hangen

    August 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Hey Jennifer, great writeup and thanks for including us (IgnitionDeck). I love that two years ago when we started, there weren’t any options at all. Now, options abound. This industry has no place to go but up.

    • Adam Pickering

      August 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      We think your correct! We have a ton of exciting new themes coming out that will hopefully help people crowdfund the next big idea!

  2. Tinu

    September 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Interesting, I mis-read the title and didn’t realize it was about facilitating the actual crowdfund on your site – for some reason I thought it meant how to Get crowdfunding for building your website. This makes more sense.

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Business Finance

Politicians reconsider PPP rules too cumbersome for small businesses

(BUSINESS FINANCE) The PPP loans may have some changes coming soon, to help small businesses even more by extending the time they have to spend the money.



loan changes

Congress has reported talks over fixing parts of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a key program designed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Changes could range between small tweaks to an overhaul of program requirements. Congress remains divided over a phase four relief bill (passed in the House last week) which includes several of those PPP changes.

The PPP was created to provide forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Although the Treasury is continuing to offer updated guidance, any significant changes will require approval from Congress.

One of the major potential changes is an extension to the eight-week time frame for businesses to spend their loan money. Senator Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) is advocating the change. He told reporters “I think the more important thing to change is the time frame in which they can use it for,” Rubio told reporters. “We do need to give them more time to spend those monies.” The hope is to pass those changes before the first PPP loan recipients reach their deadline in early June.

Other changes proposed in the House bill include extending the spending time period to 24-weeks and eliminating the requirement for 75 percent of loan spending on payroll in order to qualify for full forgiveness. The flexibility could allow recipients to allocate money towards rent, another challenge facing small business owners. While Senate Republicans haven’t shot down that option, they’ve voiced concern on the spending rule which was originally designed to keep workers employed. Meanwhile, Democrats argue for flexibility which could support businesses with fixed costs. Both sides are open to discussing a 50 percent payroll and 50 percent additional cost breakdown in a new PPP changes.

The Small Business Administration has reported $195 billion from the $310 billion of the second tranche of PPP has been approved. With no defined plan to reopen the country, small businesses are counting on relief programs. Senior White House advisor Kevin Hassett has said the government can’t continue to lend money to businesses indefinitely. “It is something we can do through Jun, I would, guess if there’s enough cash for that.”

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Business Finance

Unless you call your representative, the IRS will be forced to screw PPP recipients

(BUSINESS FINANCE) Small business owners, can your Covid-19 loans really be forgiven? “Free money” never sounded so good…or bad. The CARES act missed a vital tax hole.



Cares act taxes due

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was hailed as a revolutionary life line to small businesses that had to shutter their doors against the plague.

Basically, the Feds said: Keep your expenses up, pay your staff so they don’t have to go on assistance, and not only will we loan you the cash to do so, so long as you can prove it was spent stimulating your business, we’ll not only forgive the loan, it won’t be taxed as income.

Right said, Fed. But some sharp-eyed readers of the letter of the law say they’re too savvy for these loans, and here’s why.

It was announced on April 30th that anything paid with PPP payments won’t be tax deductible.

Specifically, the IRS says, expenses that qualify a business owner loan forgiveness cannot be deducted from 2020’s tax filings, in order to keep people from getting “double tax benefit[s].” You can read up on the tax code citations and legal precedents right here, straight from the tax horse’s mouth.

So what’s happening here is you can “enjoy” free money from the government, but if you were counting on it being non-taxable income, then you’d best count again.

I may be a simple country (adjacent) April, but is the purpose of handing out money somehow… NOT to put business owners AHEAD?

This move strikes me as a ship throwing someone in the water a life-vest… then sailing off without reeling them in.

‘Well you don’t want people to double-dip,’ is a rebuttal I’d expect. Or ‘that’s how the CARES Act was written,’ but right now we’re dealing with people and their businesses needing EXTRA. Not ‘a bit,’ not ‘enough,’ but quantifiably EXTRA help in order to do better than just tread water. We NEED that extra dip… and individual bowls for everyone while we’re at it.

“No half measures,” as a wise, narcissistic fictional criminal once said. Brian Cranston won an Emmy for delivering that line, so I figure it’s stand-by-able.

As of right now, there’s not much that can be done except for business owners to gather and lobby their representatives en masse to alter the language of the CARES Act, or add an amendment to it that allows the IRS to let the deductions business owners need to slide.

As is, strict interpretation of the law doesn’t give our beloved agents enough wiggle room to LET this money be deducted. And I’m guessing that the IRS isn’t really the type of agency to DO interpretative judgements as a matter of course so… the ball is in Congress’ court on this one.

Fortunately, it seems like they’re taking it and running with it!

On May 12, a bill aptly named the HEROES Act was proposed in the house, and it clarifies: “For purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and notwithstanding any other provision of law, any deduction and the basis of any property shall be determined without regard to whether any amount is excluded from gross income under section 20233 of this Act or section 1106(i) of the CARES Act.”

They’re reaching past the last stimulus bundle (that I haven’t received my share of yet by the way, cough cough) with a total of three trillion as a distribution goal. That’s a three followed by twelve zeroes, sweeties. And this is all cold, hard, tax free, DEDUCTIBLE cash.

My advice here? Get your letter-writing hands ready, business owners! It’s not a law YET, so keep pushing your politicians as best you can, and telling your friends, (and sharing our articles) And best of luck.

Sidenote from the Editor: Research for this story includes insights from Caleb Ellinger at Ellinger Services (CPA wizard (our word, not his) in Austin who is very well known as serving startup and freelance communities).

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Business Finance

Companies seek brownie points by returning PPP cash they shouldn’t have applied for

(BUSINESS FINANCE) It turns out some large national companies received millions of dollars of the PPP loans that were pitched as for small businesses, what gives?



ppp loans

The CARES Act, passed last month in response to the COVID19 pandemic, allocated over $370 billion to small businesses in the form of PPP loans. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was hastily ran through Congress, with many of the small details left for the SBA, IRS and other entities to iron out, even though the legislation was over 800 pages.

Now, Bloomberg is reporting that many small businesses are returning loans as the Trump administration issues new guidance for these loans.

PPP loans- confusion over eligibility, rules and restrictions

The PPP was designed to incentivize employers to maintain payroll through the pandemic. The law’s intent was to help small businesses, non-profits and smaller organizations without other resources.
Within just a few days, the money was exhausted.

As Congress allocated more money for the program, it came to light that many larger businesses made requests for the money. Shake Shack, a national chain, received $10 million. Ruth’s Chris steakhouse received $20 million. Even the Los Angeles Lakers received about $4.6 million through the PPP. It should be noted that each of these entities returned the money. Technically, each of the entities qualified under the PPP, too.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the SBA announced that all PPP loans over $2 million will be reviewed to ensure borrower eligibility. The SBA continues to provide guidance for the PPP loans. One financial expert likened it to building the plane while it was still in the air. Some companies are receiving guidance that no publicly traded companies qualify, even though these companies have received PPP funding, and some intend to keep it.

If a company doesn’t qualify for the PPP, they could face criminal charges for making false certifications on their loan applications. This could include statements that indicate the PPP funding is necessary to support ongoing operations.

Return the PPP money or not?

The SBA is giving borrowers a deadline of May 14 to return PPP loans without any legal trouble. Some companies are returning the money, not only because of public backlash, but to avoid problems. The government is sending a message that it will be vigilant over the use of PPP funding. There are still so many questions about how the loans will work and will be forgiven, it pays to tread carefully if you’ve received more than $2 million in funding under PPP.

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