What's the difference between reward and donation crowdfunding?

December 2020

We get asked this a lot:

"What's the difference between reward and donation crowdfunding"

Firstly, there are a lot of different types of crowdfunding, but reward crowdfunding and donation crowdfunding are the most common and well known.

With reward crowdfunding, people pledge to support your project with the expectation of receiving something later. The reward is usually the output of the project.

Your supporters will probably care more about the end product and the reward. They are more likely to find out about your product from an article about on a blog and want to buy or pre-order it. 

So if you are making a film then the rewards could include a DVD, a digital download, or tickets to the premiere. If it's a book or magazine then the reward could be an ebook version, a physical copy, or even a luxury hardback version. If you have company swag or merchandise that makes a great reward too.

With donation crowdfunding, people are making a gift with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

With donation crowdfunding people care more about you and your story. They are more likely to know you personally, or have a personal connection with the cause or organisation you are crowdfunding for.

How to choose

When might you want to use reward crowdfunding? if you are creating a product, or have products and services you can give as incentives for pledges then reward crowdfunding is the best option.

if you don't have any products and services to offer, then reward crowdfunding doesn't make much sense. In that case go with donation crowdfunding.

Reward ideas

OK let's say you are working on a creative project, which could include writing a book, making a film, recording an album, making a game, and lots more.

Here are just a few reward ideas, from some of the hundreds of reward crowdfunding projects that we've helped:

-- hot air balloon rides and art prints
Bring Darth Vader to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

-- signed albums and live performances
Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival Needs You

-- digital downloads and film production credits

-- postcards, prints and calendars
Teeswater Year : Farm · Fleece · Fashion - Bringing rare breed sheep to the museum walls!

-- signed albums and digital downloads
The Layers' album

-- digital downloads and film production credits
Debut Short, 'Real Thirsty', starring Bryan Cranston, Joely Richardson, John Douglas Thompson and Jack Dee

-- loads of art prints and bespoke commissions

-- CDs and digital downloads
Empress album CD by Makala Cheung

-- cakes!
23 Free Birthday Cakes for 23 Orphaned Children

-- cinema tickets
Outdoor Cinema in Teignmouth

-- signed albums and digital downloads
Original punk blues album by Bristol-based duo Husky Tones

-- DVD and digital downloads
El Gran Salto (The Jump)

-- Behind the scenes content
Somewhere out there

-- digital downloads and film production credits
Support our debut feature film -- 7x7!

-- cat tshirts, cat mugs, cat jewellery, cat everything!
Bristol's First Cat Cafe

-- signed albums and digital downloads
Victoria Klewin & The TrueTones debut album

-- ebook, signed original paperback, art prints
Catacombs of Terror! by Stanley Donwood

--digital downloads, behind the scenes content, tickets to the premiere
'Sound of a City' - a documentary about live music in Bristol

-- food vouchers

-- film rentals, posters, and private screenings
20th Century Flicks: The Future

-- ebooks and signed paperbacks
Independently publishing Solomon's Secrets


These are only a few ideas. You can browse through all of our live and completed crowdfunds on our Explore page.


Got any more good ideas? Add them in the comments below!