Sometimes I mention that I’m doing a Kickstarter and I get a fixed smile and glazed expression in response.
What seems so simple and obvious to me, it turns out, is still a bit of a mystery to many.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform.
Okay, so what is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is when fans, collectors, family and friends pledge an amount of money to a creator to allow them to make something and, in return, they get a copy of that thing and maybe some other stuff too, depending on the reward level they choose.
Kickstarter is a website that allows creators to organise a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds so they can create their project, with enough money to buy time, materials and postage.
Why would someone back a Kickstarter campaign?
It’s tough being a creative person. Creative types are talented people, mostly working alone, but essentially they are entrepreneurs creating things out of their heads. Like you, they need to eat and have a roof over their heads and have space time and materials to make stuff.
Like any other business they need capital funding to get their projects off the ground. By supporting a Kickstarter campaign you can help creators become successful people who fill the world with wonderful things and new ideas and, in return, have something cool, interesting or collectable to show for it, as well as the great feeling that you are doing something positive and helpful and being part of the process.
What do you get out of a Kickstarter campaign?
As well a stuff, you get a direct connection with an artist, an author, a creator, a brand and become a part of their creative process – a collaborator in a sense. Great kickstarter projects will involve their backers all along the way, to make them feel appreciated and part of something creative. That is fun in and of itself.
Is it risky?
Kickstarter is not an investment scheme (though your reward might turn out to be very collectible). It’s not a charity either. Accidents and illnesses happen, but otherwise Kickstarter people are highly driven and motivated to make amazing stuff and really want to create their vision and deliver it.
Kickstarter themselves do a lot of due diligence confirming that creators are who they say they are and deliver a secure payment system. Kickstarter take a small and equitable cut.
You can look to see the creator’s track record. Have they done this before and delivered? That’s always a good sign. Look at their previous campaigns and see how they went. Do your own due diligence.
So how do I back a kickstarter project?
First, choose a Kickstarter project and look at what is being offered, There will be different reward levels down the right hand side. Choose one and pledge to pay the amount for that reward level. (It’s not a shop – you aren’t buying a product – you are pledging to support the creator as they make something in return for a reward).
You will not be charged immediately, so you can change your mind later and withdraw. A few days after the campaign is over, you will be notified, your card will be charged and the creator will be in touch to get mail addresses and any other details.
If it is an all or nothing campaign, the target amount must be met or the creator gets nothing and the campaign fails. In that case you will not be charged. That’s sad 🙁
Is it fun?
Yes! And that is what it should be. Creators are out to surprise, entertain, enthuse and delight you with their ideas. Go with it and join in with the spirit of creativity and be part of something fun, personal and individual. Kickstarter projects are not on the high street, they are straight out of the creator’s head and eventually delivered to you door. Perfect, personal and unusual gifts perhaps?
So, do you have a campaign going?
I thought you’d never ask! Yes, I’m making a signed, numbered limited edition picture book with extras called Pandora. Check it out – I’d love to have you back me and share the whole creative process with you through video, blog posts and possibly live chats!
If you still have questions – then feel free to ask!