When funding the first Great Yarmouth TTN Gateway I originally setup a fundraising page while I was selling a few old bits I didn't need to also fund it. This article is intended towards makers who may want to raise funds for small projects they're working on or events etc.
I used GoFundMe for this as it seemed to have the right balance of allowing projects that would be counted as funding personal things, and I had one person donate £10.
However when I went to withdraw the total fees worked out at around £3! It seemed pretty pointless and as my clearance of bits I didn't need raised more money than expected I refunded the donator. However one thing I did like with GoFundMe was that you could input offline donations. You didn't get charged for these but it allowed me to put in the money I raised elsewhere. Ideal for this.
- Big Company, high potential of people browsing around leading to a donation.
- Offline donation option
- High in fees
- To my knowledge, Credit / Debit Card Only
As of this I wouldn't really plan to use GoFundMe again, There was also quite a few issues with planning to withdraw compared to other solutions.
I then went on the hunt for a more suited one for my needs. I currently want to save up & fundraise for a second gateway board, this would allow me to do some extra reviews and tutorials.
Patreon would be a mixed thing, as I can't guarantee constant blogposts etc I wouldn't want to do a monthly donation thing. Furthermore I also wouldn't really want to go the route of the patreon per post method either as some weeks I may not do any, and others have multiple posts.
After doing some more searching I landed upon a service called Ko-Fi, a free to use service based on the "give a coffee" model, and actually it looks rather good. This was my planned method.
It uses paypal so the fees may only apply in certain cases or be reduced in most. Allows one off donations of £3 and integrates very nicely into the blog.
Picture of Ko-Fi Embedded
Furthermore it also allows you to enter if you have raised money elsewhere or have a starting fund.
- Cheaper fees!
- Allows one off donations in the currency you select
- Can enter in an amount from offline donations.
- Only in increments of 3, e.g £3,$3 etc. However this fits in with the whole "Coffee" idea so isn't an issue for me.
- Compared to paypal's solution, the ability of branding it as much isn't as good.
And then paypal came along, I had an email advertising their new Paypal Pools Feature. I logged in and set one up and it was almost ideal.
Picture of Paypal Pool
Compared to just having a paypal donation button or Paypal.me link, this allows you to set a goal with an end date if you want. Designed for say a group of friends giving some money towards a present for a friend or such. It's quite ideal.
Compared to Ko-Fi you could donate any amount, and the fees are usually 0% if funded from a Paypal, Debit or Bank account.
However something just doesn't seem ideal with it. Being able to have a banner image is rather nice however there's a few things lacking.
- It's paypal, most people trust Paypal more, However Ko-Fi also uses Paypal
- Nicer UI experience
- Lower minimum contribution.
- You need to set a minimum, this contradicts the last point however as you can see my pool had someone donate 1P, However you can set your own minimum.
- No Offline Donation Support, even for the intended use case of friends pooling together this does seem a big missing feature.
- Money is first put into a seperate area of your paypal account until you withdraw.
And the winner is.....
For my use case Ko-Fi works the best as a contribution method on my blog and projects. It has a good balance between it being a low fee low contribution system. And allowing goals to have offline donation so if I sell some bits I can include these in the goal progress.
Furthermore it actually works ideal for blogs as if my goal of raising funds for a gateway is reached people can still support me. And then if I decide to fundraise for another piece of kit the contributions can be then made to a new goal for that instead.
And finishing on that note...
Enjoy this blogpost? - I'm currently funding for a RAK831 LoRa Concentrator. This will lead to another series of blogposts on setting up a different LoRa Board and possibly include a development series of a Backpane I'm developing. You can donate via Ko-Fi by using the button below
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