Five Headaches to Avoid When Raising Money on Kickstarter

Five Headaches to Avoid When Raising Money on Kickstarter

Is it easy to get money out of thin air to develop your projects on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo? Not if you don’t know how to work the crowd. Kickstarter has been known as the essential crowdfunding platform for startup developers, artists and entrepreneurs since the very beginning in 2009 when it raised $10 million from angel investors to jumpstart the project.  It was praised as one of the “Best Inventions of 2010” by Time magazine. Now Kickstarter claims that it receives over $1 billion in pledges from 5.7 million donors and has helped 135,000 projects get “kickstarted” through crowdfunding. kickstarter funding

Can you Reign with Successful Kickstarter Campaigns?

Projects are numerous and span all types of genres. Web and application development projects are some of the most popular, and because you need money for equipment, buying servers and some food would be nice, occasionally. Movies, bands, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, food-related projects, books and all types of gaming apps have been crowdfunded through Kickstarter. Those who do donate to these campaigns get a reward as well. The rewards are often off-the-wall and unique to the campaign but can also be prestigious like getting a walk-on role in a film. Some rewards also bring on the feels like when Ze Frank’s Kickstarter campaign offered a reward to walk a mile in the donor’s shoes and send a video of the experience for a $999 donation. The donor had been through a spinal cord surgery that had less-than-positive results. However, that reward made his Kickstarter campaign famous. So what can you do to make your Kickstarter campaign go off without a hitch? Many projects never get a single donation or are left to the wind. It’s not assured that if you create a project on Kickstarter that you’ll receive even a penny. If you want people to donate to you, it’s best if you avoid these headache mistakes and consequences involved with starting and managing a campaign on the crowdfunding website.

1. When Kickstarter Rejects your Project

While Kickstarter makes it easier to get funding unlike the government’s archaic system, there are still rules. Some Kickstarter projects never even get a chance because there’s no information on how many projects are outright rejected upon submission. Kickstarter only accepts projects that are likely to succeed because Kickstarter gets five percent of your total funding and only earns that if you reach your funding goals. If you don’t reach your goal, Kickstarter doesn’t get anything, and it still has to host your project.

Learn what Kickstarter likes to see in prospective projects.

There are a number of Kickstarter guidelines that will give you a place to start, but some of the rules are a little bit misleading or just confusing. However, the main rule to note is that funding is for “projects only.” You can’t build a physical product with Kickstarter. You also can’t use it as the sole basis for a startup, though it has led to that in certain cases where projects have turned into companies from Kickstarter funding. The thing to remember is that you have to do your research.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” Albert Einstein

If you are rejecting for not describing a “project,” then you should revise and resubmit. If you are rejected, you can appeal, but the form is only 500 characters. That’s difficult to navigate for anyone who wants to explain why their project is exactly what Kickstarter is looking for. If there isn’t any hope for your project on Kickstarter, there’s still another choice — IndieGoGo.

  • Look for other campaigns like yours
  • Check out the most successful Kickstarter campaigns
  • Do your research on audience by looking at forums, trends on Twitter, keywords, other campaigns on sites like IndieGoGo and YouTube
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of what donors want
  • Follow the Kickstarter guidelines as closely as possible
In some cases, projects don’t even receive a reason for rejection, just a canned response. This is when Kickstarter doesn’t believe that you could change anything to make your project viable on the site.

2. When You Didn’t Reach Your Goal

Once Kickstarter accepts your project, there’s still a long road ahead. Some projects don’t get up and running because they are unable to meet their funding goals. Remember–if your campaign doesn’t reach the goal, you don’t get any of the money. This is a problem for many of the current projects on Kickstarter. Your rewards may be out of line with expectations. A stick of bubblegum with your name on it for $50, for example, is a far cry of what some other campaigns have done in the past and what donors now expect on Kickstarter.

kickstarter campaigns

There’s a catch-22 when you ask for money. You want to be reasonable and ask for a small goal. However, if you don’t ask for enough, you may not be able to finish your project. Think of your audience, plan to get the project off the ground. If it’s a great project, you can still raise money after you reach your goal through other funding sources and explain the situation to your backers.

More successful campaigns also have lots of supporting information such as photos, regular updates, videos and prototypes. This is because donors want to know that the founders aren’t going to flake out and just run off on the project with cash in hand. There have been a number of scams on Kickstarter that donors are wary of. All in all, videos are the best way to boost credibility. Studies show that campaigns with video pitches are able to raise 114 percent more cash. Even if you try your best and don’t meet your goal, there are options. You can try again but with a smaller goal. You have to consider the audience for your project and what they are looking for. While you may be thinking big, think about what’s reasonable.

3. When the Donor Cheats You

There have been instances where projects have done everything right. They got accepted, reached their funding goals and still were unable to collect. Why? In this case, there are issues with the donation. Some pledges may not be able to come through with their donation, and it’s an even bigger issue if it’s a large donation. Jack Houston and the Necronauts developer Stacy Davidson found out the hard way when several pledges including a $10,000 one failed to go through. This means that every Kickstarter campaign should continue to be promoted and shared until the time is up. You never know what can happen if you just barely reach your goal. Ideally you want to raise thousands more than the goal limit in order to avoid issues with credit card fraud.

4. When You Didn’t Ask for Enough Money 

The other issue is that while you wanted people to donate, you kept the number small, but now you don’t have enough to really go through with the project. If you meet your goal and collected the money and then burned through it too quickly, how will you get more funds to complete the project so you’re not a scam? Well, you can’t ask for more money on Kickstarter. At this point, you’d have to find private funding sources to add to the bankroll. In some cases, Kickstarter donors understand the issues. For example, a Greg Louganis documentary raised over $55,000, and while the documentary got off the ground, it couldn’t be finished with just this amount. The Kickstarter page now points to another way that people can donate to get it finished and lets people know why there is an addition cost.

5. When You’re Running Out of Time

If your project isn’t on schedule but you know it will be finished soon, it’s best to let people know what’s happening on Kickstarter. People will follow your campaigns and will make note of the ones that are finishing or who haven’t posted a peep since the crowdfunding campaign finished. Ideally, you make a video thanking your donors after the goal was reached and state your plan of action with a tentative completion date. However, there are a number of reasons why a project may not finish on time. For one, something may happen to a developer on your original team, or you may fall ill. These things can’t really be prevented and can lead to delays.

kickstarter sucks

Your Kickstarter may not suck, but if you don’t update your backers, they will hate you and probably flame you every which way.

An “Estimated Delivery Date” is now required on all Kickstarter campaigns, so you definitely will have to keep your page updated and let your backers know if something goes awry. In addition, hate mail is a major project killer. You never know how backers will react if you don’t come through on your promises. In fact, there’s even a now-famous Tumblr blog called Your Kickstarter Sucks. In conclusion, read the rules, do your research on audience, don’t high ball your goals, give away great rewards that people actually want and do your best to finish projects on time. If all goes well, you’ll be famous and get to finish that film/app/costume party/weird web show you always wanted.

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