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How, When (and Why) to Support a Kickstarter Project

Well, let’s start with “what.” As in “what is Kickstarter?”

Per Wikipedia, Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in Brooklyn, New York, that maintains a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity. The company's stated mission is to "help bring creative projects to life."

According to the Kickstarter website, each Kickstarter project is “… an opportunity to create the universe and culture you want to see. The games you wish you could play, the films you wish you could watch, the technology you wish someone was building — on Kickstarter, people work together to make those things a reality.”

The world according to Kickstarter is: • Creator – the person or team behind the project idea, working to bring it to life. • Backers – the folks who pledge money to join creators in bringing projects to life. • Rewards – the creator's chance to share a piece of their project with their backer community. Typically, these are one-of-a-kind experiences, limited editions, or copies of the creative work being produced.

Typically, a creator will reach out to his or her immediate circle of friends and family as they get their Kickstarter project started (or “launched” in Kickstarter-speak). This brings us to “how” you can support a Kickstarter (creative) project: spreading the word and backing the project.

Spreading the word means sharing the link to the Kickstarter project with all of your followers on social media and via email with all of your correspondents. Importantly, you should ask those you reach to also back and promote the idea. Each project hopes for viral spread of the backing so that each person may pledge a little bit and everybody taken together will provide the wherewithal to fund the project.

Backing the project is pledging to help fund the project. Kickstarter, unlike some other crowdfunding platforms, is “all-or-nothing.” So, unless the project reaches at least 100% of its goal within its set timeframe then the backers will not pay anything and the creator will receive no funding. This protects backers from a partially-funded project that doesn’t have enough lift to get off the ground. It is the responsibility of the creator to anticipate their funding needs accurately.

And this brings us to “when.” A Kickstarter project is usually 30 days in duration. That means that it must be funded 100% of its goal within those 30 days. So, if you are interested in supporting a creative project on Kickstarter then it is best for the project for you to pledge as early as possible. It is never too late (until the time has run out, of course), but rapid growth of funding gets the attention of other potential backers who are not friends/family of the creator … and then the bandwagon effect can help carry the project to its goal.

In many cases, the Kickstarter project will give its supporters an opportunity not only to watch the creative process unfold, but also to participate in that process. MemWars, for example, will have its supporters help propose and choose the MemDecks and board designs.

Support for creative projects rests with each individual. Scan through the list of projects on Kickstarter and see if there is something you are interested in supporting. And then support it.

You can be a part of a creative process that makes the world a bit better.