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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

How to survive a recession in the modern economy

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Advice about surviving a recession is common these days, but its intended audience can leave a large gap in application.



recession squeeze

There’s no question of whether or not we’re in a recession right now, and while some may debate the severity of this recession in comparison to the last major one, there are undoubtedly some parallels–something Next Avenue’s Elizabeth White highlights in her advice on planning for the next few months (or years).

Among White’s musings are actionable strategies that involve forecasting for future layoffs, anticipating age discrimination, and swallowing one’s ego in regards to labor worth and government benefits like unemployment.

White isn’t wrong. It’s exceptionally important to plan for the future as much as possible–even when that plan undergoes major paradigm shifts a few times a week, at best–and if you can reduce your spending at all, that’s a pretty major part of your planning that doesn’t necessarily have to be subjected to those weekly changes.

However, White also approaches the issue of a recession from an angle that assumes a few things about the audience–that they’re middle-aged, relatively established in their occupation, and about to be unemployed for years at a time. These are, of course, completely reasonable assumptions to make…but they don’t apply to a pretty large subset of the current workforce.

We’d like to look at a different angle, one from which everything is a gig, unemployment benefits aren’t guaranteed, and long-term savings are a laughable concept at best.

White’s advice vis-a-vis spending is spot-on–cancelling literally everything you can to avoid recurring charges, pausing all non-essential memberships (yes, that includes Netflix), and downgrading your phone plan–it’s something that transcends generational boundaries.

In fact, it’s even more important for this generation than White’s because of how frail our savings accounts really are. This means that some of White’s advice–i.e., plan for being unemployed for years–isn’t really feasible for a lot of us.

It means that taking literally any job, benefit, handout, or circumstantial support that we can find is mandatory, regardless of setbacks. It means that White’s point of “getting off the throne” isn’t extreme enough–the throne needs to be abolished entirely, and survival mode needs to be implemented immediately.

We’re not a generation that’s flying all over the place for work, investing in real estate because it’s there, and taking an appropriate amount of paid time off because we can; we’re a generation of scrappy, gig economy-based, paycheck-to-paycheck-living, student debt-encumbered individuals who were, are, and will continue to be woefully unprepared for the parameters of a post-COVID world.

If you’re preparing to be unemployed, you’re recently unemployed, or you even think you might undergo unemployment at some point in your life, start scrapping your expenses and adopt as many healthy habits as possible. Anything goes.

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Business Finance

Clyde helps smaller brands to offer product protection programs

(BUSINESS FINANCE) For small brands that sell not-so-little items, Clyde is a big deal! Now you can offer product protection normally reserved for the big brands.



product protection

For small businesses seeking to adapt to their new or growing online presence, Clyde, a platform allowing small business consumers to receive extended warranties and protection on purchases may be the answer.

Due to the current pandemic, online retailers have reported on average, a 200% increase in digital sales. Online commerce is only expected to continue its growth with 52% of consumers suggesting they will not return to in-store shopping, post COVID-19. With online shopping in demand, stolen packages, damaged products, and lost goods are also surging.

If you’re ordering from a superstore like Amazon, Target, or Walmart, chances are your items are protected and will be quickly replaced upon a discovery of any of the above issues. However, for smaller companies, protection on consumer goods is usually not offered, not because smaller companies don’t want to give their customers this option, but because finding insurance for small businesses is hard.

Clyde, a company working to provide product protection programs to small retailers through the navigation and connection to insurance companies, intends to change that. Clyde gives small businesses or as their CEO, Brandon Gell, would say, “everybody that’s not Amazon and Walmart,” the opportunity to provide their customers with individual product protection or an extended warranty contract that can be purchased at checkout.

Clyde also provides the retailer with a portion of the insurance profit, serving as an incentive for smaller companies who usually get left out of this profitable market. Product protection is responsible for a whopping $50 billion market, so getting in on the game is key. The company also provides sellers with critical data analytics, product performance statistics, that otherwise would not be obtainable to smaller companies.

Not only is Clyde protecting consumer purchases, but its mantra acts in the best interest of smaller companies normally left out of big commerce perks. The company’s dedication to provide smaller businesses with access to revenue and its consumers with product protection at a time where the demand is higher than ever may allow this company to flourish.

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Business Finance

Will cash still be king after COVID-19?

(EDITORIAL) Physical cash has been a preferred mode of payment for many, but will COVID-19 push us to a cashless future at an even faster rate?



No more Cash

Say goodbye to the almighty dollar, at least the paper version. Cashless is where it’s at, and COVID-19 is at least partially to thank–or blame, depending on your perspective.

Let’s face it, we were already headed that direction. Apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay have made cashless transactions painless enough that even stubborn luddites were beginning to migrate to these convenient payment methods. Then COVID-19 hit the world and suddenly, handling cash is a potential danger.

In 2020, the era of COVID-19, the thought of all the possible contaminants traveling around on an old dollar bill makes most of us cringe. Keep your nasty sock money, boob money, and even your pocket money to yourself, sir or madam, because I’ll have none of it! Nobody knows or wants to know where your money has been. We like the idea of taking your money, sure, but not the idea of actually touching it…ewww, David. Just ewww.

There is no hard evidence that cash can transmit COVID-19 from one person to the other, but perception is a powerful agent for changing our behavior. It seems plausible, considering the alarming rate this awful disease is moving through the world. Nobody has proven it can’t move with money.

There was a time when cash was king. Everyone took cash; everyone preferred it. Of course, credit cards have been around forever, but they’ve always been just as problematic as they are convenient. Like GrubHub and similar third party food delivery apps, banks end up charging both the business and the consumer with credit cards. It’s a trap. Cash cut out the (greedy) middle man.

Plus, paying with a credit card could be a pain. Try paying a taxi driver with a credit card prior to, oh, about 2014 when Uber hit the scene big time. Most drivers refused to take cash, because credit cards take a percentage off the top. Enter rideshare companies like Uber. Then in walks Square. Next PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay enter the scene. Suddenly, cabbies would like you to know they now take alternate forms of payment, and with a smile.

It’s good in a way, but it may end up hurting small businesses even more in the long run. The harsh reality of this current moment is that you shouldn’t be handling cash. No less an authority than the CDC recommends contactless forms of payment whenever possible. However, those cabbies weren’t wrong.

The banking industry has been pushing for a reduced reliance on cash since the 1950s, when they came up with the idea of credit cards. It was a stroke of evil genius to come up with more ways to expedite our lifelong journey into crushing debt.

The financial titans are very, very good at what they do, at the expense of all the rest of us. The New York Times reported on the trend, noting:

“In Britain alone, retailers paid 1.3 billion pounds (about $1.7 billion) in third-party fees in 2018, up £70 million from the year before, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Payment and processing companies such as PayPal (whose stock is up about 55 percent this year) and Adyen, based in the Netherlands (up 72 percent), also stand to gain.”

All kinds of banking-related industries stand to benefit as well. Maybe we’ll go back to spending physical cash one day, but I don’t think there’s any hurry. Fewer old grandpas are hiding their cash in their proverbial mattresses, and the younger, most tech-savvy generation seems perfectly content to use their smart phones for everything.

We get it. Convenience plus cleanliness is a sweet combo. If only cashless payments weren’t such a racket.

If this trend towards a cashless future continues, future travelers may not experience what it’s like to fumble with foreign currency, to smile and shrug and hand over a handful of bills because they have no idea how many baht, pesos, or rand those snacks are. They may not experience the realization that other countries’ bills come in different shapes and sizes, and may not come home with the most affordable souvenirs (coins and bills).

We shall see what the future holds. Odds are, it may not be cash money, at least in the U.S. I hope the cashless movement makes room for everyone to participate without being penalized. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, people. We need to find more ways to ease the path for people, not callously profit off of them.

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