Crowdfunding with KickStarter

KickStarter, crowdfundingIf you’re a young professional trying to break into a specific industry but lacking the resources to do so, KickStarter may be a good option for you. The crowdfunding website allows users to post project ideas, and individuals or businesses can give money to help make that project a reality. Having never heard of the site before this week, I decided to check it out so I could really understand how the site worked and what it had to offer.

Before looking at all of the projects, I wanted to get a better understanding of exactly how the site worked, so I clicked on the “What is KickStarter?” link at the bottom of the home page. I learned that the site funds a variety of projects including films, games, music and technology. The project creator has all creative control over the project, so project backers don’t have any control over the results. It would be a struggle for me to put money toward a project where I had no control over the outcome. If I’m investing, I want my input to be heard. But then again, I am a poor graduate student!

 I was most surprised to learn that in order for a project to be funded, the creator has to reach 100% of their fundraising goal – it’s all or nothing. As a creator, it would terrify me that I would set my goal too high, and I wouldn’t be able to reach it. I guess that’s the risk you take to get your product or idea out there.

KickStarter, crowdfundingAfter getting the basics down, I went straight to the projects. I decided to look at the different music projects. I’m a big fan of “American Idol” and seeing ordinary people become household names, and this platform vaguely reminded me of that concept. I clicked on a post by Monika Lidke, a singer hoping to raise enough funds to release her album, “If I was to describe you.” Her goal is to raise 1,500 pounds ($2,499.60) by Saturday, April, 26. So far her project has 26 backers.

When you can click on Lidke’s project, you can read a bio or watch a bio on her, and you can see video of her singing. On the side of the page, there is a list of different amounts of money that you can back, and what you will receive for backing the project. For instance, pledges of 7 pounds or more will receive a pre-release digital download of the album, plus a PDF file with all of the lyrics. Other incentives for backing Lidke’s project include a handwritten lyric sheet, a 60 minute singing lesson with Lidke, a song dedicated to you, or she will perform at your house or party. Now I finally understand some of the incentive for funding the projects. Not only are you helping out those struggling to make it, but you’re receiving a gift for your contribution. 

Another great aspect of KickStarter is that it allows you to search for local projects. If you know a local musician or author struggling to make their dream a reality, you can donate to their cause. One of the authors from my area on the site, already achieved his goal. For giving just $5, you would be announced in the Thank You section of the book. This is a great idea because it’s not costing him any extra money to mention backers, yet it gives people incentive to donate in order to see their names in print. KickStarter, crowdfunding

There are some really talented and created people on KickStarter, so I now understand why so many people have donated money to various projects on the site. If I wasn’t a poor graduate student, I’d be willing to make a contribution to some of the really talented people I found. If I had a great idea that I needed help funding, I would turn to KickStarter. As of now, that idea doesn’t exist, but if I think of one, I’ll know where to turn! There are also some projects that I’m not sure will reach their funding goals. It’s hard to back a musician when they don’t have any video or audio of them singing on their proposed project page. 

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10 thoughts on “Crowdfunding with KickStarter

  1. Hey Lauren.

    Your blog post this week was phenomenal. Of course that’s to be expected of The Social Lauren. I feel informed and empowered after your overview of KickStarter. I’m sure they have staying power; even with rival, crowdfunding site, IndieGoGo as a viable option to project creators.

    Crowdtilt, Beshara’s San Francisco-based company, helps people coordinate payments for almost anything. From Party Bus rides to weddings, Crowdtilt has you covered. As with Kickstarter campaigns, funds are not finalized until projects “tilt”, or reach their stated goal. Little Johnny gets to crowdfund. 🙂 Sally gets to crowd fund. 🙂 Everybody gets to play crowdfunding game. 😉

    • Hey Jason,

      Thanks so much! I was kind of skeptical about KickStarter before exploring it, but I have to admit I’m impressed with the site! I’ll have to check out IndieGoGo and Crowdtilt because I’ve never heard of those either. As unfortunate as it would be for the project creator to get so close to their goal and then go unfunded, it makes sense that if they don’t reach it, people wouldn’t have to give money for a project that might not have worked out. If I were a project creator, I would probably set the goal low so I had a better chance to reach it!

  2. Hello Lauren, great post! The idea of giving and receiving something sounds great. With Lidke’s project you could also get a singing lesson which would do me great because I sing terrible! I wonder is that’s done by Skype or something similar. That was very creative! I loved the idea about looking for local projects. Too bad there was only one for Puerto Rico and it was not able to get the funding!
    Also, giving credit on the album is another way of expressing gratitude that does not cost them, like you say, and it shows appreciation. From looking at those project profiles, I can tell they spend a lot of time doing them and thinking of creative ways to get people engaged!

    • Hi Celeste,

      Thank you! Before I was on the site, I didn’t realize that the project creators offered funders some sort of incentive, depending on the amount of money they were willing to give. People being willing to give money makes a lot more sense to me now! I’m not sure how the singing lesson would be done, I’m assuming your right and it’s probably done over Skype, and she doesn’t travel to you in person. It is a really creative incentive! Another interesting incentive for Lidke that I didn’t mention in my post was she would do a private cooking lesson and teach you to cook a traditional polish meal. I’m a pretty terrible cook, so this one struck a chord with me!

  3. Hi Lauren, I think it was great that you decided to learn more about the website, how it is structured and what it does. You did a good job in explaining this on your blog assignment. I am really glad that you mentioned too that in order to be crowdfunded the project manager needs to reach 100% of their fundraising goal. I too would be scared to set the goal too high, though it always depends on your needs for the project. I saw a couple of projects that were actually beyond their goal having like 230% funding and such.

    • Hi Juan,

      Thank you! I would definitely set my goal on the lower side if I were the project manager! I did notice that a lot of the project received more funding than there goal. If I was the project manager this would give me so much confidence that my project was worthwhile or that I had a talent worth investing in!

  4. I like the all or nothing concept both as someone who would fund and someone who may seek funds. If you were a singer and you posted your album concept and a video of you singing and NO ONE donated, well there could be a problem. If you did the same a few times, then you would know that perhaps you should change careers. I liked learning about Kickstarter this week and enjoyed reading your post.

  5. Pingback: Congratulations to Our Friends At KickStarter | Velocity Growth

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