Running A Crowdfunding Campaign On Your Own Site

The Pros and Cons

I get it -- you want to run a crowdfunding campaign but you're concerned about running it on one of the largest crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Maybe you want more control over the campaign -- maybe you want to own your customers a little more strongly. Whatever the reason, there are definitely pros and cons to running a crowdfunding campaign on your own site.

There are numerous tools to self-host your own crowdfunding campaign like Tilt and Celery.

We explore the pluses and minuses of self-hosting your crowdfunding campaign below:

Pros: You Own Your Campaign

hosting your own crowdfunding campaign
Marina del Castell on Flickr Creative Commons

Kickstarter and Indiegogo use templates for their crowdfunding campaigns. That means campaigns all look more or less the same. If you're looking to branch out and make a very creative campaign aesthetically or structurally, you'll have a hard time doing that on one of the top platforms.

When you self-host your own crowdfunding campaign, you get a chance to determine the ground rules. You can own the experience for your backers. You can put more of your own creative stamp on your campaign.

Pros: You Own Your Backers

own your crowdfunding backers
RonAmok, Flickr Creative Commons

When someone backs you on Kickstarter, for the most part, that person feels an allegiance with Kickstarter. When you self-host your own campaign, you own your backers. You own the channels of communication with your supporters (so, treat 'em well!). You have the ability and freedom to interact with your backers in your own way, not the way defined by crowdfunding platforms.

Pros: You Own the Message

Get the word out about your crowdfunding campaign
Jason Hargrove, Flickr Creative Commons

If you run your own crowdfunding campaign, you won't be drowned out by the thousands of campaigns that are being run on Kickstarter alongside yours. Users can't click off and back something else. If you're successful in attracting users to your site and to your crowdfunding campaign, you have a clean way to communicate with them.

Pros: You Keep More Money

Crowdfunding on your own site
Sh4rp_i Flickr Creative Commons

In return for providing creators a platform to raise money, crowdfunding platforms charge a fee for their services (typically, a percentage of all funds raised). If you bypass the crowdfunding platforms to run your own campaign on your own site, you'll keep more of the money you raised. That's another 3-10% more.

Cons: Lack of Access to Deep Pool of Supporters

crowdfunding your own campaign on your own site
David Barrie, Flickr Creative Commons

If you run your own crowdfunding campaign, you retain more control. But, by not using a large rewards crowdfunding platform, you have to build your audience all by yourself. While just launching a campaign on Kickstarter doesn't guarantee you that money will roll in, what Kickstarter does have is traffic. It also has tens of thousands of users, all who have already contributed to at least one crowdfunding campaign.

Cons: Lots of Moving Parts

Running your own crowdfunding campaign is complicated
KT King, Flickr Creative Commons

There's a reason creators like working with the crowdfunding platforms. While the technology is there to run your own crowdfunding campaign, the process is still quite complicated. One of the minuses of running your own crowdfunding campaign is that there are even more details that you'll have to contend with: in addition to customer service, you'll have to handle refunds and chargebacks, too.

Cons: Harder to Create Buzz

can you get buzz for your crowdfunding campaign?
Steven Depolo, Flickr Creative Commons

In addition to a community of backers, crowdfunding platforms also have numerous reporters scouring their sites, looking for breakout campaigns. Reporters report, so they're always on the prowl for new content and crowdfunding campaigns serve as a popular topic. If you host your own campaign, you'll have to work harder to get some PR love.