Community Leadership Summit Wiki

Session name: Kickstarter For Communities

Session room & timeslot: Sat 7/14: 11:00am Session 2

Organizer and Notetaker's name and email: Kevin Shockey,


Kickstarter recently introduced a statistics page that has been very useful in understanding the crowd funding platform (CFP).

Here's a few of those statistics:

  • 44% of projects succeed.
  • Different categories have both much higher (dance, theater) and much lower (fashion, technology, publishing)
  • Success rate significantly increases as a project gains more donations. If a project reaches 20%, then, they are most likely going to reach goal. If a project reaches 40% of their goal, then only 5% of those project fail.

Admist the popularity of Kickstarter, the crowd funding platform industry is exploding, it is estimated that there will be 530 platforms. This is both good and bad. It's good, because more projects will get more funded. However, because the attention is spread across too many different systems. So that is likely to produce more project failures

In early academic analysis of crowd-funding, the only factor that had a positive affect was whether the organizing completing the project was a 501(3)(c). This factor is becoming even more important as many of the new CFPs are strictly for non-profits. To be be clear however, Kickstarter does not allow fund causes. Non-profits must have a project, a tangible output.

After a few statistics, each member of the session, shared some their own experiences and interests. Here are some of the discussions (please help fill in the concepts, that I wasn't able to get notes while leading the session, sorry if missed something important):

  • audience focusing
  • a best practice is having a brand or significant influence before launching a project. Kickstarter is not a pltform to generate new engagement.
  • nothing to risk
  • board games are being successful but video games are much lower success rates
  • can’t fund a cause
  • fantasy to just do something really cool
  • looking to finance projects that don’t have time to do, by perhaps using Kickstarter can find the money to fund other people to finish the project that the community deisres
  • Kickstarter is the perhaps, one of the first business successful business model to connect creators with customers
  • does kickstarter have a community?
    • you should have your own
    • however, you need the ability to integrate Kickstarter into that community
    • Have to bring your own adueince
  • Kickstarter is not for all types of projects, so there is a nichification of CFP
  • Kickstarter has started to curate projects
    • Curation is like staff favorites, hot projects
  • Kickstarter has final decision authority of whether a project gets listed or not, so they a gatekeeper
    • However, no reason not to try project on different CFP
  • It would beneficial if there was a Kickstarter API
    • Seamless integration
    • Use iframe to embed your project into community
  • Key parts of the Kickstarter projects are:
    • Clear and concise description, if donor doesn't get your project immediately they never will
    • High quality video that amplifies the project description and supports it
    • Don;t be greedy on your rewards. Deliver more vlaue than you receive.

Takeaways and Action Items:

Interview session participants which have first hand experience using Kickstarter. Two of the participants had exprience with Kickstarter. One successful, and the other was rejected and used an alternative CFP.

Run my own project on Kickstarter to gain first hand-experience with Kickstarter to determine if the statistics and best practices are valid.