By Sheryl Smolkin
Read article and comments on moneyville.ca
Kickstarter is a unique website that can help you raise money for creative projects. But it also helps if you have a large network of Facebook friends and Twitter followers who are willing to back you.
You post a profile on the site along with a video explaining your goal. You select the amount you want to raise and the number of days to do it. The maximum is 60 days, but 30 days or less is recommended.
The catch is that unless you raise all of the money you need, you don’t get any of it. If the project is successfully funded, the credit cards of all contributors are charged on the same day and Kickstarter deducts a 5 per cent fee.
Author and educator S.Bear Bergman recently raised $18,555 or 185 per cent of the $10,000 he wanted to publish two books for transgendered children and their friends and family. Mainstream children’s book publishers said the books were charming, but didn’t think there was enough of a market to publish them.
His plan was to print 1,000 copies of each using the money collected, but he will use the additional money raised to produce a video book with the story told both in audio voice over and American sign language.
Contributors receive copies of one or more of the books in audio or print depending on how much they contribute. For example, the 174 backers who contributed $40 or more will get colouring book pages, audio books and autographed print copies of both “The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy” and “Backwards Day.” “It’s not really a donation, since you get something in return. It’s essentially a way of pre-selling the books’” Bergman says.
Bergman’s fund raising efforts have been so successful because he has spent eight years speaking, lecturing at universities and consulting in the area of trans culture. He was able to promote his project with a base of over 3,000 Facebook friends and thousands of Twitter followers.
About 46 per cent of the projects featured on Kickstarter get fully funded. One project that has generated close to $3 million in support is an adventure game created by an indie games developer.
Cory Silverberg’s children’s book “What Makes a Baby” is another Canadian Kickstarter success story. As of the second week of March, Silverberg’s modern picture book about where babies in traditional and non-traditional families come from was 609 per cent funded with $57,896 pledged.
Kickstarter bills itself as “the intersection of commerce and patronage” and was launched three years ago. It can be used to raise money for projects in the fields of art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology or theatre.
Participants must satisfy the requirements of Amazon Payments to be eligible to start a Kickstarter project, including having a U.S. bank account and a major U.S.credit or debit card.