June 25, 2014

Over the last few years, crowdfunding has taken off in a big way. In 2011, a total of $1.5 billion was raised through crowdfunding. In 2012, that number increased to $2.7 billion. The most successful crowdfunding projects raise many millions of dollars, with prominent examples being Star Citizen, a video game that raised over $44 million dollars after having asked for $500,000; the Pebble smartwatch, which exceeded $10 million; and the Ubuntu Edge, which failed in its (somewhat over-optimistic) goal of raising $32 million, but was pledged almost $12 million dollars.

The leading crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter, have had a huge impact on the opportunities available for makers, creatives, and anyone who has a great idea but lacks the capital and connections to turn it into reality. While there are obvious advantages to using established crowdfunding platforms, the most notable being a built-in audience, a platform designed for running crowdfunding projects, and experienced people handling the financial aspects of the process, there are also benefits to going it alone and building a platform over which you exert complete control.

Naturally, WordPress offers several solutions to the problem of home-grow, self-hosted crowd funding. But, I’m going to highlight what I consider to be one of the best WordPress crowdfunding plugins available.

Fundify Crowdfunding

A successful crowdfunding project takes a lot of work in addition to the basic functionality that a plugin can provide, including product development, marketing, outreach, and content. The platform you choose will only provide the bare bones, but a the very least it will need to include a trusted payment mechanism and a means to collect donations and pledges.

Fundify Crowdfunding does both with aplomb. It is compatible with WePay, Stripe, and PayPal Adaptive Payments. The plugin adopts the Kickstarter model, whereby those who pledge funds are only charged if the campaign reaches its predefined goal. It also provides a slick interface for collection donations that integrates well with WordPress’s existing content management features.

Particularly useful is Fundify Crowdfunding’s integration with Easy Digital Downloads, a digital eCommerce solution designed for people who want to sell digital good like music, video, and software. Easy Digital Downloads is excellent for handling software licensing in particular.

While many will prefer to use established and trusted crowdfunding platforms, there is something to be said for going it alone and creating a funding platform for your projects that offers complete over each stage of the project. At the time of writing, Fundify Crowdfunding is the best way to achieve that goal.


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