Women entrepreneurs tend to have a harder time raising money, but the opposite may be true online, as early crowdfunding data suggests. And new crowdfunding sites are cropping up to support women’s endeavors.
The latest: Women You Should Fund, a Kickstarter-style crowdfunding platform for women and women-led, gender diverse teams. It debuted in March for Women’s History Month and had its official launch in May.
The platform was founded by Jen Jones and Cynthia Hornig (pictured above) as an extension of their six-year-old site Women You Should Know, a digital media site and community focused on women’s empowerment. “We wanted to take our mission to the next level,” says Jones.
The platform joins the ranks of rewards-based crowdfunding sites such as iFundWomen, which focuses on women-owned entrepreneurial ventures and has a ‘pay it forward’ model. An earlier pioneer in the space, Plum Alley, has shifted to a private membership model.
A Ready-Made Audience
The move was a natural for Hornig and Jones, who often received pitches from women running crowdfunding campaigns trying to get their stories in front of the Women You Should Know audience. The concept of starting their own crowdfunding platform for women made sense, particularly if it could give such entrepreneurs additional exposure by promoting them to an existing community that is passionate about women’s issues.
Women You Should Know attracts an average 500,000 page views a month and has a 2.2 million weekly reach on Facebook.
“There’s a very large, robust, like-minded community to support these women and to exponentially increase the number of potential backers,” says Hornig.
More broadly, women represent a powerful potential source of support and funding. In the U.S. alone, women have decision making control over more than $11 trillion in investable assets, according to the Center for Talent Innovation.
Like Kickstarter, the platform is an all-or-nothing model—participants who don’t reach their fundraising goal can’t collect any money. That’s because the founders felt it provided fundraisers with more motivation to go all-out pushing their campaigns.
To help campaigns succeed, they’ll provide a lot of hand-holding, offering a step-by-step guide to everything from tapping social networks to deciding what kind of rewards to offer contributors.
“Crowdfunding is pretty ubiquitous at this point, but there still is a pretty big learning curve,” says Jones.
The platform charges fees that are competitive with other sites, including the usual credit card processing fee.
To date,Women You Should Fund has featured seven successfully completed campaigns, including Catrinka, a Brooklyn startup that produces women-made handbags to raise money for girls’ education (raised $9,268) and the Illustrated Women in Science comic series ($3,351).
The highest-grossing campaign to date was also the site’s first: Harriet Tubman Home, the nonprofit that manages and operates Harriet Tubman’s homestead in Auburn, NY, raised $32,121 to bid on a rare photo of the abolitionist that was being auctioned off (the photo and the album it was contained in was sold to another bidder for $130,000).
Anne Field is a New York-based journalist who writes about social enterprise and impact investing. A version of this article originally appeared on her Not Only For Profit blog on Forbes.com.