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Kickstarter

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Kickstarter

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Founded in 2009, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site devoted to gathering funds for creative projects. They support projects in many areas including films, games, music, art, design, and technology. Since their launch six years ago, 9.3 million people have pledged over $1.9 billion to fund 91,000 creative projects. Backing a project through Kickstarter is more than just giving money—it’s about supporting that person’s dream to create something they want to see exist in the world.

 

The Good

  • Model type
  • Fees
  • Fund type
  • Maximum allowed raise
  • Deadlines

Model Type

Kickstarter has a donation/reward model type. Backers (donators) that support a project get an inside look at the creative process, and also get to choose from a variety of unique rewards offered by the project creator. Rewards vary from project to project, but often include a copy of what is being produced (CD, DVD, book, etc.) or an experience unique to the project, like meeting the creator or getting producer credits. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work, and being a rewards model, Kickstarter cannot be used to offer equity, financial returns, or to solicit loans. A Rewards type means artists or creatives can retain full ownership of their project (or business).

Fees

If your project is successfully funded, KickStarter will apply a 5% fee to the total amount of funds raised and Stripe, their new payments processor, will apply credit card processing fees of 3% + $0.20 per pledge. Pledges under $10 have a discounted 'micropledge' fee of 5% + $0.05 per pledge.

Since KickStarter offers an All or Nothing funding model, there is a 0% non-completion fee. This is due to Kickstarter not charging donators anything if you do not complete your campaign. Some crowdfunding companies may charge you a fee for All or Nothing for whatever reason, but Kickstarter's 5% fee is standard in the crowdfunding industry, although it's on the higher end (typical fees are 3-5%). Not having non-complete fees lessens the financial burden for many "starving artists" trying to raise funds. (More of a burden is Stripe's deductions per transaction.)

Fund Type

Kickstarter offers an All-or-Nothing fund type. While that may be discouraging for some potential users, this fund type can actually be beneficial in this sort of situation. For example, say a project reaches $1,000 of its $5,000 goal. An All-or-Nothing fund type ensures that backers won't be expecting you to use $1,000 to provide rewards on a project intended to earn $5,000. It's helpful for backers, too, in that they can be sure their money is helping the creator to make actual progress on their project.

Maximum Allowed Raise

Kickstarter allows project creators to determine what their project's funding goal is. This is beneficial for those who have a large goal that would exceed the maximum funding limit of other crowdfunding sites.

Deadlines

At KickStarter, every project creator sets their project's deadline. This makes raising campaign funds very flexible and conducive to the best interests of the person raising money. Many crowdfunding sites have a 30, 45 or 60- day deadline, which may not be a good fit for the type of campaign that person is raising.

The Bad

  • Receiving funds
  • Administrative work options

Receiving Funds

If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, there is a 14-day window for collecting and processing pledges. Once the 14-day window has passed, funds are automatically transferred directly to your bank account. 14 Days is a long time to wait for a direct transfer-especially compared to the 7 Day window typical to most crowdfunding sites. For some, the money transfers in real time.

To receive funds through Kickstarter, you sign up for an account on their website. As of January 2015, project creators won't need to set up an Amazon Payments business account anymore to get their funds. Kickstarter is now transferring their system over to Stripe, a third party processor similar to Paypal, which just requires you to enter your bank account details on the Account tab during the project creation phase. For backers, this means a simpler, faster and easier checkout process without being redirected or having to log in to a separate service to donate. For project creators, however, it means more fees and less money received.

Administrative Work Options

In place of providing administrative work options, Kickstarter offers a more "DIY" approach-something they call a "Creator's Handbook" to new project starters. It walks them through the administrative work tasks-everything from planning their shipping to communicating with project backers. The handbook is free and easily available on their website. Other administrative topics the handbook covers:

  • Getting Started
  • Building Rewards
  • Funding
  • Promotion
  • Fulfilling rewards promises

Kickstarter's Creative Handbook also offers a list of what they call "fulfillment partners"-a list of third party businesses that specialize in things like mass mailing, warehousing, packaging and other 'back end' tasks. If managing all the logistics of your project starts to feel a little overwhelming, or you wind up with more backers than you were prepared for, this list of possible resources may solve your problem and alleviate a lot of stress. Plus it may make for a more successful campaign and avoid any legal issues, such as a project backer not receiving their reward as promised. The only issue with this is that it creates more work for the project creator. Some crowdfunding sites have administrative options "in-house" which makes it easier to manage than dealing with several parties.

The Bottom Line

Kickstarter is a great platform for creative individuals who are anxious to bring their dreams to life without giving up any equity in their product without outrageous fees. Still, as an All-or-Nothing fund type, slow fund disbursement, no in-house administrative options and mediocre success rate cause potential users any uncertainty, then they should consider using a different site to have their crowdfunding needs met.

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User Reviews

3.7

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12 Reviews

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Kathie Bowman
November 19th, 2018 Lakeside, CA DETAILS
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Great for looking at the cool ideas out there. Much more focused toward artsy/tech, not as much for general business funding. Indiegogo is another great option. but all in all its a great site

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Amber C Frey
November 16th, 2018 San Diego, CA DETAILS
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I've backed a number of things through Kickstarter. I love that people are able to have their ideas come to life if enough people are willing to support it. There's been a lot of cool ideas, inventions, events that have happened through Kickstarter and I hope they keep it going.

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Jo Lars
September 4th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

People are so creative! It is fun to find unique products on the Kickstarter page and be able to help the creator launch the business and have early access to the product! I have a friend that got his start this way. If it was not for Kickstarter, his idea would have never come to fruition!

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Douglas Larson
August 28th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

They helped launch a product I worked on to the tune of $100,000!

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Kris
August 23rd, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

We used Kickstarter to help raise funds for my daughter’s club volleyball fees. It was a simple easy way to get help from family and friends.

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Jodie Larson
August 17th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I have a friend who used Kickstarter to launch a new product line. It was amazing to watch people across the world support his idea and provide the funds to put those ideas into production! It would not have been possible without Kickstarter! It is fun to browse Kickstarter to see what unique ideas are out there and to be able to support projects that interest me!

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Anne Kimball
July 27th, 2018 Salt Lake City, UT

Me and a good friend of mine launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise $15,000 to create a product and we raised the amount in one week! They make it so easy to publicize and to donate to, and now we are off and running! We are so grateful for this service.

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Erin Rhoton
April 24th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I ordered a product on Kickstarter and it funded but never came.

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Chase Huntzinger
April 16th, 2018 Provo, UT

Great for looking at the cool ideas out there. Much more focused toward artsy/tech, not as much for general business funding. Indiegogo is another great option.

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Pete
October 31st, 2017 Centerville, UT DETAILS
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One of my favorite things to do is browse Kickstarter to see some of the cool products that they have. I've backed 2 or 3 different projects here and everything has always gone smoothly. It's awesome to know you're helping someone with the business dreams and getting a cool product that I enjoy.

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Sonja
September 11th, 2017

They don't vet or follow the projects on there. So you could make something up and get funding for it. They also have no email or phone number. You cannot reach a real person. This is always a giant red flag!

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SR
July 5th, 2017

I, like many others that have posted here, have never received a product I backed. I paid in September 2016, and was told repeatedly that the shipping was backlogged, and to keep watching for updates as to when I could expect my product to be shipped. First, I was told I would receive it in January, then it was delayed until March. I even received confirmation that it was shipped to me in March! I have reached out multiple times to check the status, with no luck. There is no phone number to call, and no one responds to emails. This company is ridiculous, and even more disgusting is to see that they proudly post how much money us backers have given them. For what? NEVER, NEVER, EVER HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH KICKSTARTER, unless you have money you want to donate to nothing.

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