Easily the most popular crowdfunding site in terms of traffic and money raised
Restrictive policies limit the people and campaigns that can be hosted
Typical 5% service fee plus transaction costs
Only allows a fixed funding model — meet your campaign target or receive nothing
Kickstarter is the reigning champion of all Crowdfunding platforms both in terms of dollars raised for constituent campaigns, and with respect to overall popularity. While this is at least partially due to it being one of the first crowdfunding sites on the scene back in 2009, it’s also due to the quality of the campaigns it hosts (there’s a strict vetting process) and it’s clean, easy to use interface.
The platform has raised over $2 billion in funds since its inception, spread out over more than 250,000 projects and supported by 10 million plus backers. Kickstarter is usually the name people think of first when the subject of crowdfunding is raised.
One of the limitations of Kickstarter is that it only allows “creative” projects — that is, only projects that actually produce an end-product and within one of its 13 categories: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film and Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology or theatre. You won’t for example find any examples of someone raising money for their sick dog or to make repairs to the local church as you might on many other crowdfunding sites. Instead you’re much more likely to find someone raising money to take a drone prototype into production, or someone producing a play or musical.
There are geographical limitations as well: Only those located in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden can launch a campaign. As mentioned above, there is a vetting process that Kickstarter undertakes before allowing a campaign to go live as well, making it one of the most restrictive crowdfunding platforms online. Those that do meet the requirements though enjoy the benefits associated with a huge volume of traffic to the site. A select few projects are always “featured” by Kickstarter, which places them in a prominent position on the platform’s home page. These campaigns get exposure that is unmatched by any other crowdfunding site.
Kickstarter campaigns use a rewards-based model, where backers get perks from the campaign owner depending on the level of their contribution. Many projects come up with dozens of reward tiers, ensuring that there is an option for any budget to back their campaign. Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of all pledges as their service fee, and there is also an additional 3% fee to cover transaction costs. All Kickstarter campaigns follow a fixed or “all or nothing” funding model, where a target is set at the campaigns inception and must be achieved in order for the campaign owner to receive even a single cent. In the event the target is not achieved in the set timeframe, all money is refunded to backers.
Now it’s Your Turn
Have you hosted a Kickstarter campaign? How did it go? Would you recommend Kickstarter to others? Please let me know in the comments below!