Kick-Starting Something New: Crowdfunding on Kickstarter.com
Lately, it seems like every time we turn around, someone on our Facebook or Twitter feed is posting a link to a crowdfunding site, whether it’s Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, or one of many niche-specific platforms. If you aren’t familiar with this relatively new phenomenon, we’ll take you through some of the basics—and we’re proud to introduce you to our exciting new crowdfunding project, too! Check out what’s going on in the world of online crowdfunding sites.
Crowdfunding is actually nothing new. Do you remember when you used to get a cardboard UNICEF box at school to take with you trick-or-treating to raise some money for disaster relief or another worthy cause (while amassing your yearly Snickers stash, of course)? Believe it or not, you were participating in crowdfunding yourself then. Or, in your college years, did you discover a passion for politics and throw your financial support behind a candidate whose values aligned with yours? You were part of a crowdfunding effort then, too. The difference nowadays is that it’s become easier and more convenient to solicit funding of your own from internet users near and far—and to support causes that aren’t as well known as a national charity or political figure.
Different Sites for Different Goals
Crowdfunding sites are not created equally. Many of them are great, but they can serve very different purposes (and, if you don’t adhere to a site’s specific guidelines, it might delete your project.) The immensely popular New York-based site Kickstarter, for example, is intended to help solicit support for creative projects—e.g. live performances, comics and animation, video games, and visual art (more on that later!) Kickstarter uses an “all or nothing” model, meaning users must meet their specific monetary goals to receive any funds. The site does not charge any supporters’ credit cards if the minimum is not met. Additionally, Kickstarter allows the fundraiser to reward supporters who pledge at certain levels—a copy of the artist’s CD for $25 or two tickets to the opening night performance for a pledge of $100, for example. This is a huge value-add, particularly for collectors who want the first of everything, or access to limited editions that they may not find elsewhere.
Then there’s San Francisco-based IndieGoGo, which is a little different. The site is more flexible on the creative aspects of projects and they’re worth looking at, particularly for tech projects. There’s also an option to keep whatever money is raised, regardless of whether the total funds fall short of the originally stated goal. Like Kickstarter, you can offer your supporters perks or rewards.
San Diego-based GoFundMe is geared toward fundraising for life events, like celebrations and special occasions, as well as accidents, illnesses, and emergencies – very different than the above. For example, when a 12-year-old student in Cary, North Carolina was robbed of $250 of the $1000 he was raising to organize a wheelchair basketball game at his school, generous donors supported him with over $25,000 in funds.
These three platforms are just some of the “big ones”—there are many more sites to help users raise money for a variety of projects and causes. If you’re thinking of starting your own project, be sure to read the tips on these funding websites. Also, use search engines to find articles with tips to get funded such as social media, reaching out to the press and cross-promoting your ideas with other projects.
Steampunk Goggles Playing Cards
At Consorte Marketing, we’re really excited about a Kickstarter project of our own, for SteampunkGoggles.com. We’re seeking backers for a deck of hand-illustrated playing cards featuring steampunk archetypes sporting artistic renditions of real goggles available for sale on the site. We’re collaborating with various artists to create a deck printed by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) with the official Bicycle® logo on the tuck case. We’re looking to raise $24,000 by January 10, 2014, and as of today, we’ve raised over $10K. In fact, we’ve also spurred some interest in the press, such as an article on NJ.com in their local section, and some authoritative websites such as World of Playing Cards (wopc.co.uk), halfway around the world in the UK. Here’s our video:
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We’re enthusiastic about this project because we think it’s going to do so much for the steampunk genre (which, for the uninitiated, is a branch of science fiction that combines elements of the Victorian era and the Wild West with time travel, steam-powered machinery, and some post-apocalyptic elements.) We’re immortalizing the work of numerous artists and artisans, and seeking lots of input from steampunk fans who support the project. Because the decks haven’t been printed yet, you have the opportunity leave comments to provide us feedback on the initial sketches, adding your own ideas and inspiration to the process, so that it becomes more of a community project than just another product available for purchase.
And if you, too, would like to be an immortal part of this amazing deck, you can make a pledge that rewards you with your likeness on one of our cards. Enthusiasts have already purchased some of the prime real estate (like the King and Queen of Hearts), but other enviable spots are still available as of today. The result will be a gorgeous, unique deck that features a diverse cast of characters wearing skillfully designed, beautifully made steampunk goggles.
Want to be involved?