There are many crowdfunding platforms available on which companies and individuals can attempt to raise money for their cause. I would like to share my thoughts on chuffed.org, an Australian based platform that is one of only a handful of platforms available (one other example is youcaring) that charge no fees to the organisation running the campaign. I personally think their story is inspiring and hope they will be able to survive despite of their current business model. We will look at the way the platform operates from the supplier and customer sides before assessing the business model.
For suppliers of projects, chuffed is a relatively easy to use platform to start hosting funding campaigns. Chuffed has listed a five-step plan to help charities and individuals get underway in starting their first campaign, including best-practices about perks and promoting the campaign on social media. Obviously, chuffed benefits from well-run campaigns so making this as easy to understand as possible is in their favour, and they seem to understand this very well. The biggest reason for causes to use chuffed is probably that they charge no fees on the donations made through the platform. End users must pay the credit card fees on top of the donation amount but this is paid to their PSP: stripe.
Chuffed is accessible on a responsive website. End users can browse through the different projects with relative ease. I can understand the choice to save money by not building native apps, but it is still a shame that the site is not very mobile-friendly, especially on lower internet speeds.
On a more positive note, the site attracts consumers from all over the globe. In an interesting blog post containing statistics from 2016, chuffed notes “We’ve only run campaigns in 20 countries, yet donors have come from 152.”.
Chuffed.org is a social enterprise, so survival is their prime concern. They ask end users for a small donation to sustain chuffed on top of the donation to the specific campaign.
This intuitively seems like a good option to sustain the platform, but chuffed does not disclose numbers on how many donations they receive through this channel so it is hard to assess whether they do a good job of sustaining themselves.
Another interesting survival strategy is discussed in a blog post posted by the CEO. Chuffed received their second round of funding in March 2016 through Blackbird, a venture capitalist. The CEO notes that even though they were rejected for 86 times by various VC’s and other investment parties he persisted in this strategy and that it eventually paid off.
I greatly admire the persistence of chuffed to charge no fees on the supplier side of the business and it appears like they have found a couple of ways to sustain their own platform.
In order to attract more funding from customers, my opinion is that they should invest more in the mobile-friendliness of the platform through native apps.