What is Kickstarter?

What is Kickstarter and How do I use it?

Kickstarter says it "is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more." It is a place where creative people post information about a project that they need a little money to get off the ground... a kickstart, if you will. People can visit the site and find cool projects in the development phase-- everything from cutting edge electronic gadgets to fine art. A typical fund raising campaign lasts 30 days. And it is all or nothing. If the creator does not reach the goal amount-- they get nothing and the people who pledge, don't pay anything. When an entrepreneur-artist uses Kickstarter, they're using a funding model called crowdfunding. 

What is Crowdfunding?

Have you ever ordered pizza for a large group of people and asked everyone to pitch in a portion? Have you ever bought stock? Have you ever made a pledge to a non-profit in return for a tote-bag?  All of these methods are crowdfuning. The basic idea is that if many people give a small amount, the pooled resources can be used to achieve great things. Most small entrepreneurs do not have access to selling stock, nor are they engaged in projects that would make a good bank loan application. That's where Kickstarter comes in. It allows someone to raise the amount of money they need to get their project off the ground while retaining their independence.

Short video explaining Kickstarter:

How do I Find and Support a Cool Project?

Go to www.Kickstarter.com and look for projects by category. For example, you may like comic books (me, too!), so you click on that category. You'll see an image and short blurb on each project. You'll also see what city the creator is from, how many days are left in their campaign, and how much they've raised toward their goal. If you open the project, you'll learn about the creator, the project, the history behind it, and how they will spend the money. Each project usually has a video.

Here is an example Kickstarter video:

You can support the project at different funding levels. Similar to a fund-raising campaign you might see for public television, pledge levels come with rewards. For example, I'm currently doing a kickstarter for my graphic novel. At the lowest level you get a PDF copy, at a higher level you get a copy of the paperback, etc... You have the option to give without receive a reward, as well.

How do I Help My Friend with His/Her Kickstarter?

A friend sends you an email or posts on social media that they are doing a kickstarter campaign. You want to help, but you don't know how. Here are some tips:

  • "Like" their post on whatever social media platform you find it on.
  • "Share" their post.
  • Forward their email to friends you think would be interested.
  • If you blog, post a article about their cool project.
  • Always include a link to the Kickstarter. For example, my link is: http://kck.st/2jQFTTL (this is what is known as a "short link" and easily fits into a tweet)
  • Visit your friend's kickstarter. If you like what they're up to, support their effort to do something creative.
Remember, being a creative person is very difficult. The artist-entrepreneur has to stick his or her neck out. They run the very real risk of ridicule and failure. If you wish to live in a world where creative people are empowered to bring interesting new products into being, then vote with your dollars and support them.

Happy discovering and pledging!

You can also find me on:
Twitter @dsborden

#kickstarter #crowdfunding #entrepreneur #socialmedia #fundraising


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