If you’re trying to figure out which platform to use for your rewards crowdfunding campaign, you’ll want to know what each of them have to offer. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Crowdfunder all share many similar features – but each has a few unique options to help you drive your campaign.

I’d strongly suggest that you also take other criteria into account when choosing, like the success rate on different platforms, or the (very) different audiences and their different expectations. Each platform has built a reputation around different types of project, meaning that they’ve built different types of audiences – you’re unlikely to get much traction, for example, running a campaign for a social impact community project in the UK on Indiegogo.

And each platform wants to give more visibility to the types of projects they want to be known for – so Kickstarter’s project categories include things like ‘Conceptual Art’, ‘Tabletop Games’, ‘Makerspaces’, and Indiegogo’s include categories like ‘Productivity’, ‘Transportation’, ‘Health & Fitness’. No-one’s stopping you from running your campaign on whichever platform you like, but you’ll get the best results if you look out for which platform gets used by successful campaigns addressing a similar audience to yours.

But if you just can’t choose which platform to go for, then maybe one killer feature will change your mind!

Features by crowdfunding platform

Here are a few of their unique features. And the platforms are constantly developing and innovating, so if your favourite platform doesn’t do what you want yet… check back in six months!

Jo Breeze - crowdfunding comparison table of the three crowdfunding platforms' features, summarising the rest of the blog post.

Pre-launch page

Before you launch your campaign, while you’re building hype, it can be really useful to have a link for anyone interested in finding out more – and, hopefully, where they can drop their email address to be alerted as soon as your campaign goes live.

Crowdfunder: not yet

Indiegogo: YES – pre-launch on Indiegogo

Kickstarter: YES – pre-launch on Kickstarter

Referral contests

If you’re running a crowdfunding campaign, you hope your backers will share it with their friends too. But a referral contest can give people an incentive to share it – if they bring in a certain number of new backers, or a certain amount of money, they’ll get a little something extra as a thank you.

Crowdfunder: not yet

Indiegogo: YES – referral contests on Indiegogo

Kickstarter: not yet

Extra funding

Whatever project you’re running, there may be other pots of grant funding available – and you might be eligible for them. In most cases, you’d have to put together a separate grant application to run in parallel with your crowdfunding project. But wouldn’t it be handy if you could use your crowdfunding campaign itself as the application?

Crowdfunder: YES – extra funding on Crowdfunder

Indiegogo: not yet

Kickstarter: not yet

Ongoing funding

There are lots of good reasons why the 30-days crowdfunding model has become so widely adopted. But if you hit your target on time, you might want to keep the campaign open so that someone who finds you a few months down the line can still contribute. Some platforms will keep the funding page open for you indefinitely.

Crowdfunder: YES – ‘Always On’ projects on Crowdfunder

Indiegogo: YES – Indiegogo InDemand

Kickstarter: not yet

Gift Aid

If you’re a UK charity, you can claim back a little extra on donations made to you by UK taxpayers. Whether or not crowdfunding pledges count as donations is an interesting question – but one of the three platforms we’re looking at allows you to claim back Gift Aid on eligible reward pledges from eligible donors…

Crowdfunder: YES – Gift Aid on Crowdfunder

Indiegogo: not yet

Kickstarter: not yet

Secret rewards

On most crowdfunding campaigns, all your rewards are visible on the page, to all backers. But Indiegogo allows you to create secret rewards – only visible if you visit the campaign page via through one specific link. So if you’ve wondered about how to create a ‘mailing list only’ 10% discount on a reward, or ‘friends and family special’, that’s the way to do it.

Crowdfunder: not yet

Indiegogo: YES – Secret Perks on Indiegogo

Kickstarter: not yet

Stretch goals

You can always set a stretch goal for your campaign, whatever your platform you’re using. A stretch goal is simply a way to say ‘if we hit our first funding target, then our next plan is… and to do it we’ll need to raise another £…’. Stretch goals might benefit your backers (‘if we raise an extra £2k, everyone will also get a signed copy of the book with their rewards’) or they might benefit the wider project (‘if we raise an extra £5k, we’ll be able to make sure the cafe is fully accessible when we open’). But only one of the platforms lets you set stretch goals as a formal part of your campaign, and right from the start if you so choose – that’s Crowdfunder.

Crowdfunder: YES – stretch goals on Crowdfunder

Indiegogo: not yet – but here’s how they suggest you handle it

Kickstarter: not yet – but here’s how they suggest you handle it

So which to choose?

I don’t recommend using features alone as the way to choose your crowdfunding platform. What’s far more important is how well your project fits with the kind of campaigns that already do well there, and whether your audience will engage there. But if you’re still not able to decide, then maybe one of these features will change your mind. If you’ve planned your campaign out effectively ahead of time, you’ll already know what kind of campaign you want to run and what types of features you might want to rely on – and if you’re still at the speculation stage, then you can make your chosen platform’s features part of your plan from the very beginning.