Kickstarter: Giving Your Projects a Kick in the Pants
We’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform used by creatives to raise money for their projects. All this talk is getting hard to ignore, as Kickstarter becomes a stronger and stronger force in helping folks meet their funding goals. So, today we thought we’d talk about it with you and maybe even give you a few tips for success if you decide to go the crowdfunding route.
Crowdfunding is a pretty neat concept. It’s a collective effort by a group of folks who network to pool their money in support of a particular project or organization. Crowdfunding can be used to raise money for anything from political campaigns, scientific research or inventions to art exhibits and theater productions. Basically, if it needs funding, you can probably find a way to do it through crowdfunding.
Kickstarter is one of many crowdfunding platforms. Others include Indiegogo, RocketHub, GoFundMe and many more. Some of them are for funding just about anything and others specialize in a particular area. Kickstarter, for example, focuses on creative projects ranging anywhere from films, dance projects, music, art, design, games, and technology. And it really works! Since their launch in April of 2009, over $500 million has been pledged by more than 3 million people.
How Kickstarter Works
Let’s say you’re a wonderful dancer and you’ve created a show you think people will love. You got a fantastic composer to write music, your best friends from Julliard are going to play and record it for you, and you’ve hired some other amazing dancers to dance in your show. Problem is that you don’t have the money to pay these people, let alone get them dancing shoes, costumes and other stuff they need. So, you need some help raising money. Here’s where Kickstarter comes in.
As the project creator, you set your goals for funding and deadlines. Make sure you’ve done the math here and that you’re asking for enough money and giving it enough time to meet your funding goal. Also, make sure you do some solid marketing to help inspire folks to help you. Here are a few things you need to do.
Create an engaging video
The projects that get the most funding on Kickstarter are the ones with great quality videos that tell a story really well. Now is not the time to give your elevator speech to your webcam. You need to have a well thought out script that tells a story of passion and drive that will help people see your vision and want to take part in it. Make sure the production value on the video is good and that you invest in hiring a professional to help you. If your video is boring or it’s hard to understand, people won’t watch it and won’t care about your project.
Reward your backers well
Kickstarter wants you to give out rewards to your backers for different levels of funding. So, for example, if a backer donates $20 to your dancing production, you’ll send them a tee shirt with your logo on it. If they donate $500 they get to have dinner with the cast, etc. Make sure your reward system is clear and easy to understand so that people have clear expectations of what they’re getting from you in return. You don’t want angry backers with unrealistic expectations!
Write an incredible email pitch
In order to drive traffic to your Kickstarter page, you’ll need to reach out to people like friends and family, bloggers, journalists—anyone you think would care. One way to do that is by writing a killer email that will motivate them to at least consider helping you out. Make sure you describe your project very succinctly at first and include a link to Kickstarter early on in the email for all those skimmers out there. You can go into more detail after that and explain your vision in more depth. Don’t forget to include a call to action and another link toward the end. If you tell people what you want them to do and then make it easy, they just might do it!
Watching the dollars roll in…hopefully
If people like your project, they will pledge money to make it happen. If your project inspires enough people to help you fund it and you meet your funding goal, then you get the money and all the backer’s credit cards will be charged for the amount they pledged. If your project fails to reach it’s funding goal by the deadline, the backers don’t get charged and you don’t get the money. It’s that simple.
This all-or-nothing approach seems harsh but it helps project creators stay motivated to keep pushing the fundraising effort. It’s also less risky for creators and investors alike. It’s hard to see money you donated go to fund something that ends up being under funded and never gets off the ground. It’s also hard to only have some of the money you need and have backers expecting you to produce something with inadequate resources.
If you’ve got a super-duper creative idea or project in the works, but lack the funds to make it happen, we think Kickstarter is a great way to make your dream come true. If you need any help making your video, writing your email, or coming up with a marketing strategy, make sure you hire someone like us to help you out. A little investment here can make the difference between making it happen or being disappointed.