Why I'll pledge to your Kickstarter project

Yeah, I'm a fan of Kickstarter. As of this post, I've backed over a hundred projects, each of those for more than a $1 (a reference which is a rant for another time). It's a bit addictive, being able to help people on their way to achieving change, realizing their dreams, or making a difference.

This recent Kickstarer addiction seriously kicked in after I talked to Nick Disabato at SxSW this past March. I asked him how he chose which projects to back. Fundamentally, he said, he backed the ones that interested him, related to his hobbies, or just entertained him.

Works for me, and I started backing projects in earnest.

I now watch the Recently Launched page frequently, daily when possible, but semiweekly at the least. I do that so that I don't miss any cool upcoming projects, but it also means that I receive a frequent number of "How did you hear about my project?" messages. While I'm usually hesitant to be the first backer, I've made exceptions, but they are very much the exception.

So, how would you make a project a successfully fundable Kickstarter project, from a backer's perspective? What projects catch my attention? There are other "how to create a successful Kickstarter campaign" posts, and Kickstarter has a good starter guide on making a good project video (though, honestly, I rarely watch the videos, preferring the text description), but why would I back a project?

From my perspective, I'm more likely to back your project if you can:

1. Be one of my interests

Not much you can do about this one other than be in my interests.

I tend to back projects related to farming, recycling/consumerism, bees, books, design, technology, environment and distilleries. There are exceptions to this, humourous or whimsical in particular, but I (and everyone else I can think of) am far more likely to back a project that sounds like something I'd do or like to do, than one that is completely unrelated to my interests.

For the most part, I stay away from movie, album, food truck and Burning Man projects. There are exceptions (always exceptions), but I find these less tangible unless they relate to something that amuses me.

I also stay away from projects that seem to be duplicates of others: there are a lot of Open Source CNC projects.

If you're not passionate about what I'm passionate, that's okay. Find someone who is.

2. Have a catchy title and opener

Since I watch the Recently Launched page, the project title and one sentence description are what catch my attention. It's all about the elevator pitch these days, in the short-attention-span economy, and this isn't much different.

If I'm unsure from the small blurb, I'll star/follow the project without backing it. I review that list every day or so and decide to back or remove from my list when I'm inclined to do so, usually when the campaign is within two days of ending.

3. Explain where the funds are going

A good description helps, but a general explanation of where the funds are going is going to convince me more easily to back your project. The description doesn't have to be detailed down to the last penny, but having a general idea what you're going to do with the funds will make me more likely to back.

4. Kickstart the project, don't reimburse

I'm less likely to back reimbursement projects. If the work is already done, you've already achieved your dreams, so I'm not really helping you at that point.

5. Market beyond Kickstarter

Relying on Kickstarter to do all your marketing, and hoping that you'll make the front page or the projects we like, well, isn't going to cut it if that's your only plan. Use Twitter and *groan* Facebook and your local D&D club. Go outside of your family and friends: try a meet up, post a flier or two at your local Starbucks, ping other online groups that you participate in and see if there's any interest. Going outside Kickstarter means that you're expanding the pool of Kickstarter backers when they pledge to your project, and that's great for not only your project, but every other Kickstarter project.

6. Post a lot of updates

You're trying to encourage people you don't know to send you money. You need to show that you are going keep all of us backers up to date, that you're going to communicate with us.

Of course, the updates should be relevant. And, of course, the updates mean you're making progress on your projects, and that's what we want to know about!

7. Have open updates

Until you've funded, don't have closed updates, for backers only. This makes me me sad, I don't know what's going on with this project:

The secrecy makes me less interested in the project.

8. Have an attainable funding goal

This also means, have a reasonable funding goal.

People tend to compare projects with other projects. If your funding goal is $50,000 and your project is similar to another project with a funding goal of $20,000, but you don't explain why you need two and a half times the funding, I'm going to be confused why your project needs more funding. Of course, if you explained where the funding is going, the amount matters less.

Some goals are crazy. Some goals are too low. If the project interests me, I'm not going to skip your project because I think the goal is unreasonable, but I will be sad if I back your project and it doesn't fund because you were shooting for the stars when you only needed to land on the moon.

9. Have non-physical rewards

I have too much stuff. I don't need more stuff. I'm trying to get rid of much of my unused stuff. I'm likely to pledge to support your project and select no reward if the rewards offered are all things that are just going to be more stuff. Not receiving a reward is fine, but the rewards are often WAY FUN!

Offer a digital download. Put my name and link on your website (without a nofollow in the link). Send me a postcard (which I will most likely photograph, post here, and recycle). Give me access to a frequently updated blog detailing progress of your project. Take a picture of you and your project in the setting of my choice, and let me post it on my site.

There are non-tangible rewards that are just as much fun without a physical reward needing to be sent.

10. Try again

I've backed a couple projects that are a second funding attempt for a project. If a project doesn't fund the first time, try again. Chances are awareness of a project wasn't broad enough to find an audience the first time through. The first project could create exposure, and the second attemped could fund.

Yeah, so those are my pointers, what I'm looking for in a Kickstarter project, how I choose to fund or not. I find backing projects on Kickstarter satisfying in a "give a hand up, not a hand out" way.

It makes me happy, in a selfish sort of way, to help others help themselves.

* I hesitate to be the first backer because when there is only one backer, you can see how much money the person backed with. The post will read "1 backer $X.00 pledged of $Y goal" and that makes me uncomfortable. I'm okay with the project knowing the amount I've backed with, but that's not anyone else's business. I prefer the anonymous side of backing, or close enough to it to be hidden in a crowd.

Comments

Informative Post

I just discovered kickstarter this year. I can see how one can become addicted to the projects. A lot of the rewards fall into the impulse purchase category. Takes online shopping to another level. :)

my project

Have you checked out my project? http://t.co/xmseOyb7 I guess if you like zombies then you might like this. Bottom line is i am trying to get silkscreening equipment to make these and other shirts. hope you like it.

Starring minimizes the impulse purchases!

I've found by starring and coming back to projects minimizes the impulse purchases, but yes, I have had my share of those, too. :)

Trying to gain funders

Just read your post. Very interesting. No it's making me wonder if I set my goal to low. I need $6000 to record my EP but set my goal to only $1000 in the hope that I get funded over %100 Not sure if I can change that now.

Although I have some great connections in the music bizz and have performed worked and written with some pretty well known names. I Can't seem to get anyone to even look at my kickstarter page. People tend to ignore anything that has to do with raising money. If you wanna check mine out here is the URL http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/byrongore/byron-gore-making-sweet-music-with-you

Thanks for your informative post :)

Byron

reading up on promoting my stuff

this is a bit shameless, but i'm posting my link to the kickstarter project i recently launched on your page. www.tinyurl.com/sketcheurope it seems a bit desperate, and maybe you won't approve it? but i was here to learn and hopefully people who read your post on kickstarter and happen to click my project feel compelled to donate.

thanks for all the tips!

Looking for backers

I learned about Kickstarter back in August of this year, and just launched my 1st campaign yesterday. I found your site by browsing Google for ways to find backers. I've announced my campaign on my social networks, but I don't want to over do it and become the group spammer (lol) and outside of that I'm not sure what else I should be doing. I've reached out to people who've successfully funded a project on kickstarter, with many backers, to find out what their marketing strategy was...I'm still waiting for them to get back to me some time soon, but overall is there anything else that I'm missing? Since you're a kickstarter addict, perhaps you can look at my project and see if it is fitting for your next "fix" :).

Thanks.

Oh! One more thing. I think a bonus step to your top 10 would be:

11. Have faith! When you demonstrate confidence in your campaign's ability to succeed, backers feel confident it will, and they pledge.

What do you think about that one?

Newbie on kickstarter

Nice post. I'm doing mad tons of research trying to figure out how to get my $1250 in funding. I just launched this week and quickly realized that unless your project gets featured, the only real push to your page will be from your facebook and twitter audience. I wish I knew how to find more backers like you!

Well, I'm off to scour the interwebs for more good tips.
Check my project out at:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kbarrett/the-end-is-totally-nigh-issue-1-0

Thanks!
:)

Newbie on kickstarter

Nice post. I'm doing mad tons of research trying to figure out how to get my $1250 in funding. I just launched this week and quickly realized that unless your project gets featured, the only real push to your page will be from your facebook and twitter audience. I wish I knew how to find more backers like you!

Well, I'm off to scour the interwebs for more good tips.
Check my project out at:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kbarrett/the-end-is-totally-nigh-issue-1-0

Thanks!
:)

awesome

This is an impressive sharing and may be the great the sharing for the fan of Kickstarter as it has mentioned the detairs of Kickstarter project .

SO TRUE

Check out our almost funded project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dustintropp/recording-album-for-a-new-upcoming-rap-rock-group?ref=category

its so true though, unfortunately we couldn't get the best video so we tried to get the best text and photos.

GREAT ARTICLE! What do you

GREAT ARTICLE!
What do you think about this one?
I saw it on the launch page and decided to fund...
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/954167979/alive-by-night?ref=live

Kickstarter Campaigns for Indie Project

Thanks for the tips! It's great to peak into how a backer (that's not a friend or family member) decides to back your project. Wish us luck!

Information I needed 2 weeks ago...

I sort of wish I'd found this before I launched my Kickstarter project. It's a great article. I'm still hoping to reach my funding goal though!

Feel free to check out my project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/megg33k/a-fairy-tale-one-day-my-prince-will-come

Love & Compassion along the Camino de Santiago

Thank you so much for the informative article. I've launched my project on Kickstarter as well. Basically, I am asking for much less than the costs of publication, but am covering a great deal of it myself. Check it out. The Camino de Santiago changed my life forever and for the better. I'm writing a book on Love and Compassion, as experienced, along this centuries old Medieval pilgrimage route.

Love & Light,
Matthew

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1966745470/love-and-compassion-along-the-camino-de-santiago

This is my Kickstarter Project!

Hey every one my name is Oliver graham and this is my kickstarter project about my new comic book! Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/640520835/planet-melecto-the-beginning to check it out !

This my kickstarter project

Hey every one my name is Oliver graham and this is my kickstarter project about my new comic book! Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/640520835/planet-melecto-the-beginning to check it out !

thank you kickstarter

Hi, thank you for your great info and post. I just launched and got the angst going. Take a look? I think its a tough sell because its so different. It is a miser on materials, only use what you need. Thank you.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1706196869/enter-the-dra-gun-a-3d-copier-art-precision-tool

Will

Kickstarter

Hello,

My name is Jeffrey Johnson, I own KO Music Promotion & Management.

I would appreciate it if you would take a look at my Kickstarter and back it or please share this with people who may back it.

Thank You very much.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1284142085/kenyan-music-group-to-shoot-music-video-and-break

I AM FREE

Hey thanks for all the information! I know you said it should be something that interest you but that there is always exceptions...I hope this is an exception :) . We don't really fit in any category freedom is well...freedom :) Please take a look at our Kickstarter page

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iamfree/i-am-free-film?ref=email

Kickstarter vs IndieGoGo

You are great!

Unfortunately I don`t have Kickstarter project I have IndieGoGo project. Anyway please check my project http://igg.me/at/TakoDobro/x/2410331.

In my country a lot of people lives hard. So I’ve decided that, if I succeed in my project, for every $1 that I would get here I`ll give, in next five years, $2 to local Red Cross public kitchen which helps the poorest residents in my city.

Gifts of Paradise

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/122623530/gifts-of-paradise

Give me a look.

Hi, thank you for your great

Hi, thank you for your great info and post. My friend launched his project Take a look? I think its a tough on them because its so different most people support comics more than manga or so i've heard. Thank you.

http://kck.st/ZZQhYG

New, fancy application - iCheevs!

This is a new, fresh interesting idea!
We need help to create it!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/723154430/icheevs-challenge-the-world

I need backers!

checl out mutant mayhem on kickstarter... just launched this boardgame. only 66 so far... need 6000

Kickstarter

Great article, I think you'd like my project http://kck.st/181kFI8

We're 80% funded but in a lull and got some good rewards

Really useful insight, please check out: Ultimate Sports Bottle

This is really good content, it has helped my a lot- keep up the great articles.
I would appreciate it if you could check out my project at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1373477185/the-ultimate-sports-bottle
If you like sports and the outdoors, then I think you will like it!

Are you really an addict?

In life, everything is a matter of perspective. You can either struggle with the same issues for years or have courage and get down to making the required change...
Are you conscious of what is the perspective from which you are looking at things? Are you aware of WHO you are? WHAT you are?
We are creating this unique multimedia course that takes the most valuable knowledge from Ancient Indian Wisdom with the aim of getting you closer to who you TRULY are, make you realize that your current perspective of life might not be the correct one, and help you develop the one that will help you realize the Ultimate Truth about you.

Check out this and see how Vedanta will give you answers to the deepest questions... http://kck.st/1gdUXmG

So you think you know Who

So you think you know Who You Are? Find out the truth here http://kck.st/1gdUXmG

So, Will you back my

So, Will you back my kickstarter? : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/214306041/learn-to-develop-ios-applications-for-the-iphone-i

I find people like you inspirational

I love the concept of kickstarter. It can seriously make my dreams come true.

When I first launched two days ago, I realized I Was pretty much a drop in the ocean of projects.
I received messages trying to get me to pay to be exposed to frequent backers.
Instead I'm doing the research myself and trying to find people I think would be interested in my topic.
I am trying to create a an interactive online classroom for music lessons.

I hope you will be one of those people. I feel like succeeding will make this a Cinderella story.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1826558297/virtulessons

Great blog post

This was an enjoyable read with lots of good points.

If you like children's books or if you have a child who loves dinosaurs and puddles this might be the book for them! Anna has written and illustrated this fun and entertaining book that children will love to read or have read to them.

View it on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/887541542/puddles-or-lunch

Great Article

Really good article! It helps to know what makes people more inclined to back a project. Especially if that person is already an avid supporter of the Kickstarter community. It is also reassuring that it might go better the second time around if you are not funded on your first attempt.

Check out my project Green Beetle Shop at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/35718066/the-green-beetle-shop-fun-insect-inspired-art

Informative

Thank you for this! I have been working hard on getting my Kickstarter public for all to see and want to back, so this helps me with seeing how to attract backers. The biggest thing that really stuck out was not to fret if I do not get funded the first time (although I'm hoping I do :) ).
Thank you again!
If you have an interest in checking out my Kickstarter its: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/daniellehorowitz/underground-playing-cards-diamond-edition-printed
Thanks!

Great read.

Just launched my kickstarter, looking to gain all the support I can.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1923960708/strangers-across-america

Check it out, donate and spread the word! Every little bit helps.

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