At least every couple of months, or more, an email request lands in my inbox from an artist to help fund a new project, a gallery to support their programming budget, or a filmmaker to make a new movie.
All have one thing in common: they're asking donors to contribute through a crowd-funding website called Kickstarter.
In an interview on the public radio show Marketplace, Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler told Kai Ryssdal that "folks go on Kickstarter not just to fund their projects, but to also fund their dreams."
Here's how it works: An artist, filmmaker, musician, designer, curator, etc. creates a project (no charities or causes) with a target dollar amount and a deadline. Donors are offered rewards as incentives, such as thank you notes or a copy of an album or DVD. The average pledge is $70 and the most popular is $25. If the monetary goal is not reached by the deadline, donors are not charged. If the project is successful (fully funded), Kickstarter takes 5%, Amazon applies a 3 - 5% credit card processing fee, and the project creator gets the rest.
As Kickstarter puts it on its website, the premise is "all-or-nothing funding." And, according to a post on Deceptive Cadence, NPR's classical music blog, "more than 50 percent of Kickstarter projects fail to attract enough funding." I checked in with Justin Kazmark with Kickstarter who put it this way in an email: "The success rate for projects overall is 44%." He added that "the interesting stat is that the majority of dollars pledged (about 88%) go to successfully funded projects, not the ones that fail to reach their goal."
Kickstarter provides a stats page with daily updates. It includes information ranging from the amount that's been pledged to Kickstarter projects (more than $250 million to date) and projects that have never received a single pledge (more than 7,000).
Kansas and Missouri by the Numbers
- More than 200 projects funded
- More than $500,000 pledged to these projects
- Top three funded projects:
- KICK ME, a narrative film project in Kansas City, KS by Gary Huggins - $70,302 (goal: $70,000)
- Far West: Western/Wuxia Mashup adventure game, a games project in Lawrence, KS by Gareth-Michael Skarka - $49, 324 (goal: $5,000)
- Roll20 -- Virtual tabletop gaming that tells a story, a games project in Wichita, KS by Riley Dutton - $39,651 (goal: $5,000)
- More than 700 projects funded
- More than $1,600,000 pledged to these projects
- Top three funded projects:
- Sentinels of the Multiverse: Infernal Relics & Enhanced Ed, a board & card games project in St. Louis, MO by Paul - $111,258 (goal: $20,000)
- Global Village Construction Set, an open hardware project in Maysville, MO - $63,573 (goal: $40,000)
- Wilderness Brewing Co., a food project in Kansas City, MO by Mike and Nate - $41,099 (goal: $40,000)