If 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.
After 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.
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.