Kickstarter is an online fundraising site for people who have great ideas, but need money to make them come to life.
If you have an idea for a creative project that requires anywhere from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars to bring to completion, Kickstarter could be for you.
Does Kickstarter work?
Kickstarter can work. According to Kickstarter Stats, 44 percent of projects posted on Kickstarter have raised all the funds they were after.
So far, about 30,000 projects have raised approximately $300 million.
The projects range from to a pair of California designers who raised nearly half a million dollars to market a new sports watch, to a couple of vintage printing press aficionados who needed just $3,500 to set up a printing studio in New York.
Who is Kickstarter for?
Kickstarter isn’t for every project. It is intended for people in creative fields such as music, filmmaking, art, theater, performance, writing and the like.
However, one popular category is “Design and Technology,” which includes projects to create electronic devices, gadgets and other products, like the sports watch mentioned earlier.
A Kickstarter project needs a clearly stated goal, like creating an album or writing a book. It’s not for raising money to start a new business, or providing working capital for an existing business, for example.
Nor is it for purely personal aims such as paying for college, vacation or living expenses. The guidelines also rule out charitable causes.
Most Kickstarter projects are small. The typical successful project is after less than $10,000, although a small but expanding number of projects have raised much larger amounts — a few even more than $1 million.
What if I only raise part of the money?
One of the wrinkles of fundraising through Kickstarter is the all-or-nothing policy. If a project doesn’t raise its entire stated target amount, then none of the money changes hands.
So, if you need $1,200 to film a web series you’ve developed and wind up only raising $1,100, you’re out of luck.
This, according to the founders’ guidelines, is intended to keep project creators from being confronted with having to complete a project when they haven’t raised enough money to completely fund it.
Finding people who believe in what you’re doing is one of the most popular uses of Kickstarter.
By posting a project on Kickstarter, people who are interested in supporting it have an opportunity to say so with their wallets, which is a great way to test market a concept.
If a project can’t get funded, it might be a good indicator that the end result probably wouldn’t have been successful anyway.
Is it free?
While it’s free to seek funding, Kickstarter keeps 5 percent of the funds raised for successful projects.
And funds are transferred through Amazon, which applies credit card processing fees that range from 3 percent to 5 percent.
Another characteristic of Kickstarter is that project creators offer rewards to their supporters and project creators are legally obligated to fulfill their promises of rewards.
Otherwise, according to an agreement all must sign, they have to refund donated funds or otherwise make it up to their donors.
The rewards offered to supporters can include a sample of a recording, painting, book or other end result of the project.
Other times, a reward may be a t-shirt, a chance to be an extra in the movie, or a simple “thank you” on the acknowledgments page.
What a reward can’t be is money. Kickstarter isn’t a business investment site or online venture capital network. Donors don’t receive cash or ownership stakes in a company.
It’s for people who want to provide money to help something succeed, perhaps because they want to buy the product that it will create, or maybe because they simply believe in it.
Starting a Kickstarter campaign is easy. Simply read the online guidelines and submit the project for approval. About three out of four are approved.
Then, with a little luck (and a lot of persistence), it’s just a matter of watching a dream become reality.
“Fund Your Creative Project with Kickstarter” was written by Mark Henricks.