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Gofundme Website Clone - How to Create a Crowdfunding Platform Like Gofundme

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Yuri Musienko
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GoFundMe is the world's largest free online crowdfunding platform that helps you find funding for social and charitable projects, whether it is raising money to treat a family member with a cancer patient or building a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

From our article you will learn: why this platform has become so successful and how to create your own crowdfunding platform like GoFundMe by cloning its business model and key functions. The instruction consists of simple steps.

Step 1: goal of the project

Gofundme Website Clone GoFundMe's

GoFundMe's goal and mission is to help people in difficult situations

Before you start developing a crowdfunding platform, you must clearly determine: why are you creating it, in which niche and with what target audience will you work. This is important because the goal is critical in choosing the right business model, design, and features. In addition, the niche also affects marketing and how much time and money should be spent to make a site competitive.

But here it is important to understand that you are not required to clone the mission and goals of GoFundMe, which are mainly associated with traditional social and charitable projects. You can keep up with the times and come up with something new. For example, you can use the crowdfunding trend for the development of technology and launch a site that will help with the development of programs important for society (anonymous messengers, anti-corruption tools, AI-based diagnostic medical programs, etc.).

Moreover, you can create a platform for raising funds for educational projects on the Internet, for example, videos on global warming that are understandable to ordinary people, online social campaigns on the dangers of smoking and alcohol, web books on the latest achievements in the economy and other sciences (Nobel Economy Prize in 2019 awarded for proven poverty reduction methods, and few people know about it).

Here are the questions you should answer at this point:

  1. To whom will focus platform. GoFundMe focuses on social and charitable projects without being tied to any field. But this is not the only option. By launching a crowdfunding platform, you can bet on a narrower group, for example, to help only women, children, the LGBT community or animals.
  2. In which country or region you will work. This is also important, since each country has its own specific problems. For example, it is foolish to raise money for the construction of wells in the United States, but in Africa it is very important. On the other hand, in the United States people are willing to help victims of domestic violence and various refugees, while in Africa it is of little interest to anyone.
  3. What niche will the platform focus on. It is best if the site at the start is aimed at one narrow niche and target audience. This will help create a more effective UX / UI design and marketing strategy. For example, it can be assistance in publishing books, paying for treating loved ones or financing various eco-projects.

Step 2: the right business model

Gofundme Website Clone video
GoFundMe commercial where they talk about the business model and the value of their site. Video link
GoFundMe crowdfunding platform began work in 2010, as a commercial project, which took a small commission from each amount collected in personal campaigns. However, this approach had a bad effect on the brand image, so in 2017 the platform switched to a non-commissioned service option for most countries of the Western world (excluding transaction fees: 2.9% + 30 cents).

Now GoFundMe survives through donations (like Wikipedia), which, according to GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon, is enough for the platform to work properly.

As for the value proposition, GoFundMe relies on:

  1. Help in difficult situations. This value proposition is not unique to crowdfunding platforms, but for GoFundMe it is the main one, since their marketing strategy is based on it. This applies both to fundraising for those who launch the campaign, and for project sponsors.
  2. Simplicity and accessibility of crowdfunding. It takes a few minutes to launch a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, and one to make a donation. Any person will cope with this, and without additional instructions, even if this is for the first time. You can withdraw funds in 1-5 working days.
  3. Assisting customers 24/7. The service has Happiness Agents who help users around the clock in all matters related to fundraising. To become such an agent, a candidate must pass at least four rounds of interviews and “put in the shade 350 other candidates”.
  4. Marketing Tools. GoFundMe provides crowdfunders with a small, but quite sufficient, set of opportunities for free promotion of crowdfunding campaigns on the Internet and social networks.
  5. The connection of the site with emotions. All platform ads are built around emotions: compassion, support, happiness and self-affirmation. On the site you can also see how much an individual donator donated, which is very important, because such people need to be praised (in a good way).
When creating your clone of a crowdfunding platform, you can use a similar business model, but this is not necessary if you are not focused on charity. What other business models are there, we described in the article “How to Build a Crowdfunding Platform for Fundraising”.

Step 3: main platform features

Gofundme Website Clone features
What features do crowdfunding platforms need
Next, you need to decide what functions to clone with GoFundMe to launch your crowdfunding platform. It is not necessary to transfer all functions, as well as make them completely identical to the original. It's not a fact that everything is better implemented on GoFundMe than their competitors, so you should look at other popular platforms (Causes, Crowdrise, RocketHub, Razoo, Mightycause and others).

That’s what you need to focus on, when selecting and implementing functions:

  1. Recognition and simplicity. The unfamiliar interface makes most users unpleasant. For a site where it is important to create a sense of reliability, kindness and decency, such unpleasant sensations are unacceptable, so the interface of your web service should look like the popular (familiar) platforms: Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo, GoFundMe or Lending Club.
  2. Nice platform design. The color scheme can be any, the main thing is that the colors are combined and not aggressive. This applies to all images, photos, typography and video. If you want to repeat the “atmosphere” of GoFundMe, then take a look at their photos (smiles and happiness are everywhere, and all photos are always in warm colors), typography (soft, rounded fonts) and icons (soft and rounded). All this works through perceptual associations. They kind of say: “We are soft, warm and everyone is so nice”.
  3. Available payment systems. GoFundMe works with PayPal and WePay, which process all transactions on their platform. They are fast, familiar and safe, but, unfortunately, do not support all local payment systems. If your niche is beyond the reach of PayPal and WePay, then use LemonWay, Reyker or GCEN - systems sharpened for crowdfunding sites.
  4. Mobility / Adaptability. As of February 2019, the share of mobile traffic on the Internet is about 52%, and the share of applications in this traffic is over 89%. In addition, it is also important to note that 77% of the time that users spend on the Internet is spent on mobile devices. Therefore, if you are creating a crowdfunding platform and want it to be successful, you need a responsive design and application.

Step 4: Marketing Strategy

Gofundme Website Clone marketing
Marketing channels that small businesses are betting on in 2020. Poll on the left - The Manifest, poll on the right - Clutch.
Attracting crowdfunders. This is the first marketing task of any crowdfunding platform. You need to start looking for such people a couple of months before deploying the service itself, so that at the start you already have 10-50 worthwhile projects. There are several ways to do this.

The easiest is personal contacts. If you know people who need help, contact them first. It can be payment for treatment, fundraising for the construction of an animal shelter, an eco-initiative or any other project that will cause interest from sponsors. And the “tearier” and more relevant the project, the better for site promotion.

The next way to find crowdfunders is through online communities. These are specialized forums and groups in social networks where people who need help communicate, as well as platforms focused directly on crowdfunding. Among the latter, the most popular such communities:

Gofundme Website Clone table

Attracting Sponsors. You can use standard marketing channels for this, but you must always remember who you are looking for. If you are focused on charity and social projects, then these should be compassionate people who are willing to spend at least a little money on your projects. If you create a crowdfunding platform in a different niche, then you need to attract people with a different motivation.

Here is the cost of the main promotion channels:

Attracting Sponsors. You can use standard marketing channels for this, but you must always remember who you are looking for. If you are focused on charity and social projects, then these should be compassionate people who are willing to spend at least a little money on your projects. If you create a crowdfunding platform in a different niche, then you need to attract people with a different motivation.

  1. Search engine optimization of content (SEO) - from 600 to 5000 dollars per month. At the initial cost, there will always be more, since you need to analyze search queries and create an SEO core, based on which you can optimize content and create links.
  2. Content marketing (texts, images, videos) - from 1,500 to 10,000 dollars per month. Most crowdfunding sites have a blog where they talk about interesting initiatives and innovations. Also, ideally, you should implement a weekly newsletter with a concise description of new fundraising campaigns on your site. The newsletter can be distributed via e-mail, social networks and instant messengers.
  3. Social Media Marketing (SMM) - from 200 to 10,000 dollars per month. The cost depends on the complexity and amount of content, as well as on the social network. Which network to bet on depends on the target audience. If you focus on business and large investors, these are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. If these are ordinary people - Instagram and Facebook.
  4. Advertising in mobile applications - from 500 to 10 thousand dollars per month. It is rarely used in crowdfunding, but according to Aki Technologies polls, users believe that in-app advertising is better and more relevant, so you should definitely use it.
  5. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) - from 1 to 50 thousand dollars per month. This is the easiest and fastest way to attract both sponsors and crowdfunders. But it works as long as you pay. In addition, this method will not work if you are tailored for charity (it may adversely affect the image: “It would be better if you spent the money on charity rather than on advertising” - people will think).
  6. Newsletter by e-mail - from 0 to 5 thousand dollars a month. The price includes copywriting, design and template development, A/B testing, etc. Also in the cost of mailing you need to include a fee for using special services to automate mailing: Pardot or HubSpot (pro version). If you do not have a user base, then you need to buy it.

Step 5: three development approaches

Gofundme Website Clone

There are at least four ways to create a clone of the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform: development from scratch, SaaS and white label, WordPress themes and clone scripts. The best option is to develop from scratch, since this way you can create a product with the desired set of features and a unique design. In this case, you will have no difficulties with copyright in the software. The disadvantages of this approach are the cost (5-50 thousand dollars) and development time (6-24 months).

Those who do not want to engage in any development and technical support should think about SaaS. These are ready-to-launch cloud solutions that you just need to configure for yourself and run, while the software provider will do everything, not you. You will have marketing and user contacts. Cons - payment in the form of a subscription (20-1000 dollars per month), template and features that are provided by the package. In addition, you can’t do anything if the software needs an urgent bugfix or functional update.

In addition to the methods described, you can also use:

  1. WordPress Themes - from 50 to 500 dollars. There are a lot of GoFundMe clone templates, and some of them are pretty good. But you always need to remember that WordPress is not the most reliable CMS and for the website to work properly you need to install some plugins that also cost money.
  2. Clone scripts of sites - from 50 to 1000 dollars. Usually this is also a solution completely ready to launch, which you just need to configure for yourself. Using a clone script, you pay only once and a little. This approach is similar to SaaS, but you will not have technical support and back office.
  3. Free open source software. Typically, such a software product does not have restrictions on changes, updates and use in any commercial projects. One could say that this is the best option, but, alas, the quality and safety of such products is almost always very low, because in most cases it is done by enthusiasts in order to declare themselves or sharpen their skills.

Last thoughts

Do not forget that crowdfunding is a form of financial activity that requires the establishment of a legal entity and an appropriate license. The cost, time and terms of licensing depend on jurisdiction and, often, on the business model. For example, obtaining a license for a non-profit crowdfunding platform is almost always easier than for a platform that works with a model based on lending, investment with dividends or equity.

In this case, permissions and licenses must be obtained before the service works. Otherwise, you will be closed and forced to pay a fine (sometimes there may be criminal liability), and after that you will be obliged to obtain the necessary permissions.

Gofundme Website Clone - How to Create a Crowdfunding Platform Like Gofundme key takeaways:
  1. Step 1: goal of the project
  2. Step 2: the right business model
  3. Step 3: main platform features
  4. Step 4: Marketing Strategy
  5. Step 5: three development approaches
  6. Last thoughts
Merehead does professional development of Crowdfunding Platform. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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