April 28, 2023
We are about to help you plan your budget for crowdfunding platform development and estimate a realistic timeline and deadlines.
With the rise of the Internet and social media, crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful way for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations to raise money for their projects and ideas. Whether you're an entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or a nonprofit organization seeking funding for a community initiative, a crowdfunding platform can be a powerful tool to achieve your goals. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have made it easier than ever to connect with potential investors and donors and raise funds needed to bring a project to life.
However, building a crowdfunding platform can be a complex and costly process. Exactly how much does it cost to create your own crowdfunding platform? This article will break down the various costs associated with building and maintaining a successful crowdfunding platform, so you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right strategy for you.
In a nutshell, a crowdfunding platform is a digital service (web or mobile) that connects individuals or organizations with potential investors or backers. These platforms help entrepreneurs to raise funds for their projects by reaching out to a large number of people who may be interested in contributing to their cause. Usually, these platforms take a small share of the funds raised as a fee for their services. They can also provide additional tools to help users promote their campaigns, manage funds, and communicate with investors.
There are several types of crowdfunding platforms, such as donation-based, reward-based, equity-based, and debt-based. Each type of platform operates differently and may cater to specific types of projects or investors.
If you still aren’t sure if you want to join the crowdfunding market, we would like to remind you why crowdfunding services are so popular. Crowdfunding in general is a viable alternative to traditional forms of funding like bank loans or venture capital. Bank-backed funding is difficult to obtain for someone lacking established credentials and financial resources and so Crowdfunding platforms provide an accessible fundraising option, allowing anyone with a compelling idea to reach out to like-minded people and gain support.
Crowdfunding also offers an opportunity for people to support something that resonates with them, whether it's a social cause, a creative endeavor, or a new technology. By donating to what they love, backers can also have a sense of ownership and connection with the project, which helps build community.
So, you have decided to create your crowdfunding platform to help people raise funds. You may be overwhelmed with possible opportunities and ongoing preparations, but we ask you to slow down a bit. Your success depends on several important factors that should be considered before you begin the main design and development process.
Basic features will be perfect for a minimum viable product (MVP). Here is what you can include:
Project creation and management: Allow project creators to create, manage, and update their projects on the platform.
User accounts: Users can create profiles, log in, and manage their personal information.
Project discovery: People can browse and search for projects, including basic filtering and sorting options.
Payment processing: A way for backers to make payments to project creators and handle the disbursement of funds.
Project updates: Publishing updates will keep backers in the loop.
Security: Ensures that the platform is secure and complies with relevant security standards and regulations.
Customer support: Have a basic customer support system in place to handle inquiries from project creators and backers.
Analytics: Tracking basic metrics like the number of projects, the amount of funding raised, and the number of backers is important for campaigners.
Legal compliance: Ensures that the platform complies with relevant laws and regulations.
It's important to keep in mind that the MVP should be focused on delivering value to the user, rather than on adding every possible feature. Also, it should be easy to use, and the development should be done in a way that allows for future updates and improvements.
Once the MVP receives positive feedback, you can move to add more functionality to the service. Here are a few options for you to consider.:
Social media integration: Social media is a massive tool for promoting crowdfunding campaigns so social media integration should be present in a full-scale crowdfunding service.
Automated payment processing: Crowdfunding platforms can offer automated payment processing, making it easier for backers to contribute to a project and for fundraisers to manage their funds.
Investor relationship/Community management: Some platforms enable project creators to maintain a relationship with their backers and keep them updated on the project’s progress.
Direct messages and comments: Backers can write directly to a campaign creator or leave comments under the post to create a better connection between them and the project.
Fundraising coaching and support: Providing fundraising coaching and support to campaigners can help them create more effective campaigns and increase their chances of success.
These features help users create effective campaigns and provide a positive experience for everyone.
Finally, to level up your platform and make it stand out, you can add additional functionality. It’s not that necessary for a service like this but will be a nice addition in future updates. Some ideas for these functionalities are:
Community building tools
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Localization and translation services
These functionalities can help you differentiate yourself in a competitive market and provide more value to users.
Custom design vs. pre-built templates
Custom design can provide several benefits to a crowdfunding platform like a unique and distinctive brand identity, the ability to cater to specific user needs and preferences, and the opportunity to stand out from the competition. Custom design can also provide a more seamless user experience, as the design can be optimized for the specific features and functionality of the platform. However, custom design can be time-consuming and expensive, and may require specialized design skills that are not readily available.
Pre-built templates offer several advantages as well, including a lower cost and faster time to market, as the templates can be easily customized and implemented without the need for extensive design work. Pre-built templates can also be more accessible and user-friendly, as they offer a familiar and consistent design across the platform. However, pre-built templates can also be limiting in terms of design options and may not offer the same level of customization and flexibility as custom design.
Ultimately, the choice between custom design and pre-built templates depends on the specific needs and goals of the crowdfunding platform, as well as the preferences and expectations of its users. Some platforms may opt for a hybrid approach, offering both custom design options for more advanced users, and pre-built templates for beginners and those with limited design skills.
User experience considerations
User experience design (UX) is responsible for creating the way people navigate inside your app. The main goal of UX is to help users perform the action they want to with the minimum amount of time and effort. At this stage, the costs will be tied to the level of engagement and complexity of the design. Things like button placement, size of elements, user flow, and template usage will impact the UX and your development costs.
In-house vs. outsourcing
When it comes to building a team, there are two common options to choose from: an in-house team or a third-party agency. An in-house team means you will hire the necessary specialists as part of your staff. Designers, managers, and software engineers will work on your project under your full control. They will also closely align the platform with the company's vision and values.
However, an in-house team can cost a lot. You are responsible for salary, vacations, and sick leave, adding additional costs. In addition, your HR team will have to spend a lot of time finding qualified candidates, which can lead to potential delays or complications if internal resources are stretched too thin.
Another option is partnering with a third-party software development agency. Hiring this type of team means that you will delegate all development work to a specialized agency that will complete your project. You don’t have to worry about the hiring process or a long onboarding process; you just need to pay the team’s hourly rate.
One advantage to a third-party agency is the scalability of the team, but with a third-party agency, you will have less control of the team and may have issues with communication. Also, you will have to be careful when choosing the provider.
In general, an in-house team would be ideal if the company has the resources and budget to assemble a skilled and experienced team of developers, while outsourcing might be the best option if the company wants to save on costs or is short on in-house resources. Additionally, it is important to find the right partner, whether it is a development firm or an independent contractor, that has experience building crowdfunding platforms and shares the company's vision and values.
Technology stack considerations
There are a variety of technologies that can be used to develop a crowdfunding website. Here are some popular options:
Web development frameworks: Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Django
Database management systems: MySQL, PostgreSQL
Payment gateway integration: Stripe, PayPal, Braintree
Search functionality: Elasticsearch, Solr
Email marketing: Mailchimp, Sendinblue
Content management systems (CMS): WordPress, Drupal, Contentful
Social media integrations: APIs from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks
Analytics: Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Firebase
Cloud hosting: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure
Hosting and server costs
The cost of hosting and server maintenance can vary depending on the size and complexity of the platform, as well as the traffic volume and bandwidth usage. For smaller platforms with low traffic, shared hosting services can be considered, and these are typically cheaper than dedicated hosting services with higher bandwidth and larger storage capacity. However, for larger platforms, shared hosting may not provide sufficient resources and performance when dealing with higher traffic and more complex features.
In addition to hosting and server costs, the design and functionality of the platform, the level of customization and integration required, the number of users and campaigns, and the regulatory requirements and compliance measures can affect the development cost of a crowdfunding platform.
To minimize the hosting and server costs and optimize the performance and scalability, developers can use efficient coding practices, optimize the database queries, and use caching and content delivery networks to reduce the server load and improve the speed and reliability of the platform.
Legal and regulatory requirements
Legal compliance is essential to consider when developing a crowdfunding platform. Depending on your niche and the countries where you want to launch, there may be different laws and regulations that apply to crowdfunding. Here are some key legal compliance considerations for a crowdfunding platform:
⚖️ Securities laws
Crowdfunding platforms that involve the sale of securities, like equity or debt, must comply with securities laws, which may include registering with the appropriate regulatory bodies and providing disclosure documents to investors.
⚖️ Consumer protection laws
Crowdfunding platforms must comply with consumer protection laws related to disclosure, advertising, and refund policies.
⚖️ Money transmission laws
Crowdfunding handles money on behalf of project creators and backers. Platforms are subject to money transmission laws, which may require registration and compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.
⚖️ Data privacy laws
Crowdfunding platforms must comply with data privacy laws, which regulate the collection, use, and protection of personal data. The most commonly-encountered privacy laws are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
⚖️ Tax laws
Businesses pay taxes. A crowdfunding platform is a business, so you should be aware of laws about taxation when building your solution. Depending on your location, you may have to pay income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax (VAT). You may also need to collect and remit taxes on behalf of project creators and backers.
To ensure you stay compliant, consult with professionals who are familiar with crowdfunding regulations and who stay up-to-date with any changes in laws and regulations.
Let’s move on to the most crucial question: how much does it cost to create a crowdfunding platform?
The number of hours needed to develop the features of a crowdfunding platform can vary widely depending on the complexity of the features and the skill level of the development team. Here are some estimates of the number of hours needed to develop some common features of a crowdfunding platform:
|Project creation and management||200-500|
|Rewards and perks||150-250|
|Analytics and reporting||150-250|
|Marketing and community-building||200-500|
Let’s translate that to money:
|Feature||Costs (in USD)|
|Project creation and management||$5,000 to $25,000|
|Payment processing||$5,000 to $10,000|
|User management||$3,000 to $5,000|
|Project discovery||$5,000 to $10,000|
|Rewards and perks||$3,000 to $7,000|
|Analytics and reporting||$5,000 to $10,000|
|Mobile optimization||$3,000 to $7,000|
|Legal compliance||$5,000 to $10,000|
|Marketing and community building||$10,000 to $20,000|
|Customer support||$5,000 to $10,000|
As you can see, the cost of developing a crowdfunding platform can range from $70,000 to $115,000. It's important to note that these are estimates only, and the actual cost of developing a crowdfunding platform will depend on all the factors we mentioned above. Additionally, it's important to have a clear scope of the project and communicate it with the development team for a better understanding of the costs.
More advanced features for a crowdfunding platform include:
|Social media integration||50-150||$1,500-$5,000|
|Automated payment processing||100-250||$5,000-$20,000|
|Investor relationship management||150-300||$10,000-$50,000|
|Direct messages and comments||50-150||$2,000-$10,000|
|Fundraising coaching and support||100-300||$5,000-$20,000|
Now, the killer features that will make your platform a truly unique experience:
|Community building tools||100-250||$2,000-$10,000|
|Localization and translation services||50-100||$5,000 to $15,000|
The maintenance cost can vary depending on the complexity and size of the platform, the frequency and urgency of the updates, and the level of expertise and resources required to implement them. For example, platforms that require regular updates and maintenance to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements or to address security vulnerabilities may require a higher investment in maintenance and updates than platforms with less frequent updates.
Crowdfunding platforms must have a strong marketing strategy in order to succeed. It’s a common misconception that you can just release your solution and users will find it on their own. That’s not how the Internet works. You will need to allocate part of your budget to marketing to attract the initial audience of creators and backers and then scale it up with time. Here are some strategies to consider when promoting a new crowdfunding platform:
SEO and SEM: The content on your website should be optimized for search engines (SEO). Also, consider running paid search engine advertising (SEM) campaigns to drive traffic to the website.
Social media: Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are perfect for promoting your services and interacting with potential users. These sites also encourage community building.
Email marketing: Many people think that email marketing is obsolete and old-fashioned, but it’s still a viable marketing channel. You can build an email list of potential project creators and backers and use it to keep them informed about new projects and platform developments.
Influencer marketing: To attract new project creators and backers to your crowdfunding platform, reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them to promote the platform.
Content marketing: This marketing activity is closely related to SEO. Engage potential project creators and backers with valuable and informative content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics.
To be successful, it is important to define a clear target audience and tailor the message accordingly, to track and measure the effectiveness of the marketing efforts, and to maintain consistency in messaging and branding across all marketing channels.
The cost of payment processing fees can vary depending on the payment processor used, the type of transaction, the currency exchange rates, and the volume of transactions processed through the platform. Typically, payment processors charge a percentage of the transaction amount plus a fixed fee per transaction.
The cost of any third-party technology involvement can vary depending on the complexity and compatibility of what you want to use, the level of customization and integration required, and the licensing and subscription fees associated with the integration or plugin.
Integrating third-party services or software components can provide several benefits to the crowdfunding platform, including access to new functionalities, improved user experience, and increased scalability and performance. However, integrations and plugins can also increase the complexity and maintenance requirements of the platform and may require additional development time and resources to implement and test.
Yellow can provide expertise in all aspects of the software development lifecycle, including requirements gathering, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. By partnering with us, you can benefit from our experience in developing similar projects, our knowledge of best practices and emerging trends, and our ability to manage the project timeline, budget, and resources effectively.
We will also help you to optimize the platform's performance, scalability, and security, and integrate it with other third-party services and APIs. Our team is ready to provide ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure that the platform remains up-to-date, bug-free, and meets the changing needs of the users and the market. If you want to know a detailed estimate of your project, feel free to drop us a line and book a call.
Creating a crowdfunding platform can be an effective way to raise money for a project or cause. However, it’s important to consider the costs associated with setting up the platform as well as tips for maximizing success. Be sure to avoid common pitfalls and consider alternatives if you don’t have the time or resources to create your own crowdfunding platform.
Got a project in mind?
Fill in this form or send us an e-mail
🤝 Is it cheaper to build a crowdfunding platform in-house or to outsource development?
🤝 Can crowdfunding platforms generate revenue?
🤝 Are there any ongoing costs associated with maintaining a crowdfunding platform?
Get weekly updates on the newest design stories, case studies and tips right in your mailbox.