Our guide to crowdfunding custom lapel pins stressed the importance of creating pin-friendly designs and organizing a campaign. However, just as essential to any crowdfunding campaign is deciding which platform to host it on!
In today’s post, we’re covering the main factors for deciding a crowdfunding platform for custom pins and taking a look at how the four biggest names in crowdfunding measure up to each other.
Crowdfunding Platforms and Their Audiences
While associated with ambitious business startups like mobile farmer markets or cutting-edge virtual reality gadgets, crowdfunding is also a godsend for pin designers. And we’re not just talking about upfronting production costs, starting a campaign is a great way to build a following for your custom pin designs.
However, like any marketing effort, it pays to know where your audience is and where it’ll be best to run a campaign for the best visibility. If your custom pins appeal to a narrow audience with an established community then reaching them on a platform focused on their interests is much more effective.
For example, Kickstarter’s model focuses on creative projects and products specifically bans cause-based fundraising. On their platform, you’ll find people looking specifically for new products or interesting designs that pique interest. Meanwhile, GoFundMe focuses specifically on cause-based fundraising. So, nonprofit lapel pins have a better shot at reaching out to people with a mission in mind.
Know Your Goals and Needs
Are you looking for startup capital to get your original pins on the market? Or are you using it as a marketing tool to advertise a new idea and drum excitement back to your existing business or Etsy shop? Understanding your motivations helps target your core audience and decide which platform is going to be the best way to reach them.
Some platforms are going to be better if you have an existing following for your designs. While others are suited for just drumming up that initial wave of support and interest.
If you’re an established designer or artist, subscription crowdfunding platforms like Patreon are a good way for followers to support your work long-term. Subscription models bring steady income helping cover manufacturing costs for custom pins which you can use as rewards for contributors. Meanwhile, if you’re just getting started or running an online shop, then single project platforms like classic Kickstarter or Indiegogo are a good way to reach a big market and follow-up later if you gain traction.
Choosing between the four biggest platforms for custom lapel pins
One size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to crowdfunding platforms and deciding where you launch a campaign is an important decision. To help you decide the best platform for your designs, we’ve collated a list of from the biggest crowdfunding sites along with a description of their platform and audiences. Each has advantages and disadvantages making them ideal for specific pin designs or personal goals so be sure to explore your options fully before committing to a platform.
A name synonymous with crowdfunding, Kickstarter is the world’s biggest crowdfunding platform with over 150,000 projects funded and over $103 million raised for custom pin designs and other art projects. Boasting 15 categories and a universally known name, you’re guaranteed to find a niche for your designs.
If you’re making a pin based on original artwork or inspired by pop culture, Kickstarter’s vast reach and community tools are invaluable for hitting both funding goals and building a following. However, competition is stiff and it can be easy to get lost in the crowd when new campaigns are being launched everyday on Kickstarter.
Another of the biggest names in crowdfunding, Indiegogo has been described as the Pepsi to Kickstarter’s Coke. While very similar to Kickstarter, the platform’s major main difference over Kickstarter is the ability to choose “flexible funding.”
With flexible funding, you collect all funds from a campaign even if it fails to reach its goals. It’s a solid feature, helping pin designers get partway toward their goals even if they don’t quite hit the mark. But, this can also backfire if a pin campaign fails to gain broad traction as you’re still contractually required to fulfill your promises to donors. Indiegogo features better integrated marketing tools such as In-demand funding and retargeting for continuing to market and gain funding after a campaign has ended.
Popularly used by content creators on YouTube and other Rather than give a one-time donation for a project, backers on Patreon provide subscription-based monthly support for an artist’s work. Artists often use custom pins, stickers or other deliverables as a monthly reward to their subscribers, with content creators often creating new pin designs based on community votes or suggestions on their Patreon page. The platform is ideal if you’re committed to creating new designs each month and/or have an existing following.
With a focus on personal causes, GoFundMe bills itself as a platform to raise money for personal emergencies or charitable causes. GoFundMe is ideal for crowdfunding custom pins designed for social advocacy or charity. Like Indiegogo, campaign owners can keep funds raised even if the campaign fails to meet its goal, and campaign organizers can make their campaigns pure donation platforms without the traditional setting backer perks.
Picking a platform for success
These days, the internet is inundated with crowdfunding platforms for nearly every cause or community and each year the number of crowdfunding platforms continues to grow and evolve. As of 2017, there are nearly 200 crowdfunding platforms for nearly every conceivable project, cause or event. We’ve covered some of the biggest crowdfunding platforms on the market in this article alone but there are other platforms from Razoo to Rockethub focusing on different communities and different goals. Choosing a platform that works for you boils down to knowing your own goals, knowing who your pins appeal to and applying that knowledge to finding a platform that reaches the people who’d be most interested.