{Website Wednesday} Kickstarter.com Pledges Topped $300 Million in 2012!

www.KickStarter.com

We help people (like you!) fund creative projects.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.”

GREAT news. KickStarter.com rocked with pledges last year! In 2012 they received over $320 million in pledges and actually collected around $274 million for 18,109 projects which were successfully funded.  Pretty impressive! In 2011 there were just fewer than 12,000 projects funded and about 4,000 in 2010. Again, the numbers are RED HOT and pretty impressive.  Projects can be funded in the categories of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film & Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and Theatre.  Personally, I love how the site allows creative people the opportunity to develop their dreams through funding.

Kickstarter is basically crowd funding platform for creative endeavors.  Founded in April 2009 it was welcomed with what many would consider a break-out year in 2010. The unique all-or-nothing approach to funding is allowing enterprising individuals to bypass traditional establishments to create films, music albums, events, and even products.

I will definitely be suggesting this site to my collegiate entrepreneurs!  Below is some key information according to their website.

We help people (like you!) fund creative projects.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

 

Kickstarter Basics: Kickstarter 101

    1. What’s Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. If you like stats, there’s lots more here.

    1. How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

    1. Why is funding all-or-nothing?

All-or-nothing funding is a core part of Kickstarter and it has a number of advantages:

It’s less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it’s tough having $1,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.

It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they’re going to spread the word.

It works. Of the projects that have reached 20% of their funding goal, 82% were successfully funded. Of the projects that have reached 60% of their funding goal, 98% were successfully funded. Projects either make their goal or find little support. There’s little in-between.

To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

    1. Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Kickstarter does not allow charity, cause, or “fund my life” projects. Check out our project guidelines for details.

    1. Does Kickstarter screen projects before they       launch?

Only a quick review to make sure they meet our project guidelines. Kickstarter does not investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project. Backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it. See the Accountability section for more.

    1. Why do people back projects?

A lot of backers are rallying around their friends’ projects. Some are supporting people they’ve long admired. Many are just inspired by a new idea. Others are inspired by a project’s rewards — a copy of what’s being made, a limited edition, or a custom experience related to the project.

Backing a project is more than just giving someone money, it’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world.

    1. Where do backers come from?

In most cases, the majority of funding initially comes from the fans and friends of each project. If they like it, they’ll spread the word to their friends, and so on. Press, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter itself are also big sources of traffic and pledges. Altogether,
millions of people visit Kickstarter every week.

    1. Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects       they fund?

No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

    1. What are the fees?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK; pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

    1. Who is Kickstarter?

We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

  1. Kickstarter Basics: Accountability
    1. Who is responsible for completing a project as       promised?

It’s the project creator’s responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

    1. How do backers know if a project will follow       through?

Launching a Kickstarter is a very public act, and creators put their reputations at risk when they do.

Backers should look for creators who share a clear plan for how their project will be completed and who have a history of doing so. Creators are encouraged to share links and as much background information as possible so backers can make informed decisions about the projects they support.

If a creator has no demonstrable experience in doing something like their project or doesn’t share key information, backers should take that into consideration. Does the creator include links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects? Does the creator appear in the video? Have they connected via Facebook?

Don’t hesitate to request information from a creator. You can always reach out before pledging via the “Contact me” button on the project page.

    1. How do I know a project creator is who they claim       they are?

Perhaps you know the project creator, or you heard about the project from a trusted source.

Maybe they have a first-person video. That would be hard to fake. “Is it really U2?!” Well, it is if Bono’s talking about the project.

Still not sure? Look for the creator bio section on the project page. Are they Facebook Connected? Do they provide links for further verification? The web is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person.

At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts.

    1. What should creators do if they’re having problems       completing their project?

If problems come up, creators are expected to post a project update (which is emailed to all backers) explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is crucial. Most backers support projects because they want to see something happen and they’d like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding.

It’s not uncommon for things to take longer than expected. Sometimes the execution of the project proves more difficult than the creator had anticipated. If a creator is making a good faith effort to complete their project and is transparent about it, backers should do their best to be patient and understanding while demanding continued accountability from the creator.

If the problems are severe enough that the creator can’t fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps could include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers.

    1. Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the       promises of their project?

Yes. Kickstarter’s Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don’t. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.

    1. Can Kickstarter refund the money if a project is       unable to fulfill?

No. Kickstarter doesn’t issue refunds as transactions are between backers and creators, and creators receive all funds (after fees) soon after their campaign ends. Creators have the ability to refund backers through Amazon Payments (for US projects) and Kickstarter (for UK projects).

    1. Why can’t Kickstarter guarantee projects?

We started Kickstarter as a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things. The traditional funding systems are risk-averse and profit-focused, and tons of great ideas never get a chance. We thought Kickstarter could open the door to a much wider variety of ideas and allow everyone to decide what they wanted to see exist in the world.

Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas. Many of the projects you see on Kickstarter are in earlier stages of development and are looking for a community to bring them to life. The fact that Kickstarter allows creators to take risks and attempt to create something new is a feature, not a bug.

    1. What is Kickstarter doing about fulfillment?

As Kickstarter has grown, we’ve made changes to improve accountability and fulfillment. In August 2011 we began requiring creators to list an “Estimated Delivery Date” for all rewards. This was done to make creators think hard about when they could deliver, and to underline that Kickstarter is not a traditional shopping experience.

In May 2012 we added additional guidelines and requirements for Product Design and Technology projects. These include requiring creators to provide information about their background and experience, a manufacturing plan (for hardware projects), and a functional prototype. We made this change to ensure that creators have done their research before launching and backers have sufficient information when deciding whether to back these projects.

We’ve also allocated more staff to trust and safety. We look into projects reported by our community for guidelines violations and suspicious activity, and we take action when necessary. These efforts are focused on fraud and acceptable uses of Kickstarter, not a creator’s ability to complete a project and fulfill. On Kickstarter, backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

  1. Kickstarter Basics: Getting involved
    1. How do I start a project?

Click the green “Start Your Project” button on the start page. That will take you through the process of building your project. All projects must meet Kickstarter’s project guidelines and all creators must meet eligibility requirements.

Before jumping in, do some research. Read through Kickstarter School for tips on how to structure your project. Talk to your friends about your ideas to see what they think. Look at other projects on Kickstarter that are similar to yours. All of this work will pay off.

    1. How can I find interesting projects to back?

There are bunches of ways to find cool projects:

The Kickstarter Newsletter: Once a week we send a hand-picked email of three projects worth checking out.

Your friends: Connect your Facebook account to Kickstarter to follow your friends and check out the projects they’re backing.

Staff Picks: The Staff Picks section collects standout projects selected by the Kickstarter team.

Popular: The Kickstarter algorithm displays the projects making the most waves. The main popular page is the best view: three of the most popular projects in all 13 categories.

The Internet: Kickstarter projects are often big news on social media and in the press. This is how many projects are discovered.

  1. Creator Questions: Getting started
    1. How do I start a project?

Click the green “Start Your Project” button on the Start Page. That will take you through the process of building your project. All projects must meet Kickstarter’s project guidelines and all creators must meet eligibility requirements.

    1. Who is eligible to start a Kickstarter project?

To be eligible to start a Kickstarter project as a US creator, you need to meet the following requirements:

—You are 18 years of age or older.*
—You are a permanent US resident with a Social Security Number (or EIN).
—You have a US address, US bank account, and US state-issued ID (driver’s license).
—You have a major US credit or debit card.

To start a project as a UK creator, you need to meet these requirements:

—You are 18 years of age or older.*
—You are a permanent UK resident either creating a project in your own name or on behalf of a legal entity with a Companies House Number.
—You have a UK address, UK bank account, and government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport).
—You have a major UK credit or debit card.

*Parents and teachers can launch projects in collaboration with children under 18 only if the adult registers for the Kickstarter and payments accounts and is in charge of running the project itself.

    1. Is an Amazon Payments account required to launch a       project?

It is required for US creators. If you’re a US creator, we’ll send you to Amazon to set up your account when you start your first project. For Amazon Payments questions, please visit this section of the FAQ.

If you’re a UK creator, you don’t need an Amazon account. You’ll set up your bank account through Kickstarter.

    1. How does the project review process work?

When someone has finished building their project, they submit it to Kickstarter and we check to make sure it doesn’t violate our project guidelines. A project is either approved or declined, and in some cases we’ll reach out with a question asking for clarification. The creator has the ability to appeal a decline if they wish. Approximately 75% of submitted projects are accepted. The rest don’t meet the guidelines.

    1. Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must also be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Kickstarter does not allow charity, cause, or “fund my life” projects. Check out our project guidelines for details.

Our staff does a quick review of projects before they launch to ensure they fit this criteria.

    1. What are some things I should do before launching       my project?

You should:

— Make a detailed budget of your costs. Use this to set your funding goal.
— Look closely at other Kickstarter projects, especially Staff Picks.
— Brainstorm with friends about what rewards to offer and other project ideas.
— Consult Kickstarter School for tips and tricks from our staff, as well as the tips posts on our blog.
— Have a plan for spreading the word about the project.

Running a project is a lot of fun and a lot of work. Make sure you’re ready before you launch!

    1. How long does it take for a project to launch?

The amount of time it takes to build a project depends on how much work has been done ahead of time. If your reward tiers are already sketched out and your video is ready to go, you can get started pretty quickly. If you want to take longer to sculpt your project page, that’s cool too. There’s no deadline to launch.
If you are trying to launch in a hurry, there a few things to keep in mind. Before you can submit your project to us you must register your project to receive funds. The setup process, which includes bank account and identity verification, can take just a couple days for some and up to a week for others. If there are complications or discrepancies with your account (this is rare), it could take longer. Budget your time and plan ahead.

Once your project is submitted to us for a guidelines review, it will take us a day or two to get back to you (longer over the weekends). Submitting a project the day you hope to launch is not a good idea.

    1. What information should I share on my project page?

After visiting your project page backers should have a clear sense of:

— What it is you are trying to do
— How you will do it
— How the funds will be used
— Your qualifications to complete this project
— The identities of the people on your team (if you have one)
— How far along your project is

The more information you share, the more you will earn your backers’ trust.

    1. Is a video required to launch? How do I make a good       one?

Videos are not required to launch, but projects with a video succeed at a much higher rate (50% vs. 30%), and they also raise more money. So we highly recommend that you include one! Visit Kickstarter School for tips on making a great video.

Your project video’s file size must be 1GB or less and one of the following file types: MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, FLV

For video encoding, use WMV format in Windows. On Mac, use H.264. In both cases, the key variable is the “bit rate,” so look for that box. If it’s measured in kilobits per second (kbps), try 1500 to start. If it’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps), try 1.5. If the file is too big: Make that number smaller. If the quality seems bad: Make it bigger.

    1. What can be offered as a reward?

Rewards are typically items produced by the project itself — a copy of the CD, a print from the show, a limited edition of the comic. Most projects also offer creative experiences: a visit to the set, naming a character after a backer, a personal phone call. Anything that brings backers into the creative process is a great approach. For tips on creating rewards, visit Kickstarter School.

Rewards can be priced between $1 and $10,000 (£1-5,000 for UK projects), and they must fall within the project guidelines, which includes a list of prohibited items and subject matter.

    1. Is there a way to limit the quantity of a reward?

Yes! When building your project, there’s a place to select “Limit # available.”

This makes it so that if, for example, you want to offer 20 VIP seats at your film’s premiere, you can limit the reward to 20. As soon as 20 people back the VIP premiere reward tier, it will be marked as “Sold out” and backers won’t be able to select it.

You can also mark a reward tier as “Sold Out” at any point during your project’s duration, and increase or decrease reward limits (or remove them altogether) at any time.

    1. What does estimated delivery date mean?

The estimated delivery date for a reward is the date you expect to deliver that reward to backers. If you’re offering more than one thing in a single reward tier, set your estimated delivery date to when you expect everything in the reward tier to be delivered.

If you’re not sure what the estimated delivery date is for a reward, take some time out to create a timeline for your project so that you have a good sense of when you’ll complete it. Choose a delivery date that you feel confident about and will be working towards. Don’t be afraid to give yourself some breathing room. It’s always good practice to under-promise and over-deliver.

    1. How do I charge shipping on my reward?

In general, the cost to mail your backers their rewards (postage, envelopes, etc.) should be taken into account when you set your goal and price your rewards.

Keep in mind that unless you specify otherwise, backers can pledge to your project from anywhere in the world. It’s always fun to have a backer from across the globe, but it can also mean paying for international postage to send rewards overseas.

If that’s something you’ve worked into your project’s budget, great. As you build your rewards, though, you’ll see that you have the option to charge an additional shipping fee to international backers. To do that, simply select “Shipping anywhere in the world,” when you add a reward, then, “Add fee.” The additional price will be included in the reward description, and international backers will be prompted to enter the additional amount to their pledge.

    1. I don’t want to ship internationally. How do I       limit reward shipping?

You can select “Shipping within the US/UK only” (depending on where your project is based), and this restriction will be included in the reward description and repeated throughout the checkout process.

    1. Can projects raise more money than their goal?

Yes. If a project reaches its funding goal before time expires, projects continue to accept pledges until the funding deadline. There is no option to end a project early.

On average, successfully funded projects raise around 130% of their goal.

    1. Can funding be canceled?

Yes. A project creator has the option to cancel funding. When funding is canceled, all pledges are immediately voided. Project creators and backers can continue to post on the project, however.

    1. If I choose a subcategory, will my project also       show up in the main category?

Yes. For example, if your project is a documentary and you put it in the Documentary subcategory, your project will appear in the Popular section of Documentary as well as the Popular section of Film & Video.

    1. Can I run more than one project at once?

We rarely permit running multiple projects at the same time, or launching a second project before fulfilling your first one. Having multiple live projects can confuse backers and split support. Running a project is a lot of work, and more than one live project will likely dilute your attention and energy. There may be exceptions out there, but that’s generally how it works. If you’re a first-time creator and have multiple project ideas, we recommend selecting the one that’s most developed and trying that first.

    1. How do I know someone won’t steal my idea?

Being open and sharing ideas is an essential part of Kickstarter. The platform is collaborative by nature, and is a powerful community-building tool for project creators. If you are unwilling to share information about your project with potential backers then Kickstarter probably isn’t for you.

    1. Can I share my project with friends before I       launch?

Yes! Having friends and collaborators look at what you’ve put together can be really helpful and reassuring. Just click “Get preview link” at the top of your project preview while you’re creating your project and send the link to anyone you’d like. The link isn’t password protected, so it’s very easy to share with friends.

If you shared your preview link and don’t want people to see it anymore, you can always click “Disable preview link” at the top of your project preview. Toggle on and off at will!

    1. I’m collaborating on my project with others. Can we       all be listed as the project creator?

Each project is linked to a single Kickstarter account, but you can list the members of your team (bandmates, etc.) in your bio, which will show on your project page. You can edit that from your account page.

    1. Is Kickstarter going to be available in other       countries at some point?

We’re working hard to open up to more countries! If you’ve been waiting, we really appreciate your patience.

    1. Can I run a project as a nonprofit?

Nonprofit organizations can and do run projects on Kickstarter, provided that the project meets our project guidelines.

US creators: All the names on all accounts (including the Kickstarter account, Amazon Payments account, and bank and credit card accounts) must be in this organization’s name.

If you’re not running the project as a nonprofit but working with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, be sure that the Amazon Payments account (used to receive Kickstarter funds) is set up by the 501(c)(3). You must also include details about the organization on the project.

If your Amazon Payments account is registered by a confirmed 501(c)(3) organization, you may have the ability to offer full or partial tax deductions to backers.

UK creators: In general, CICs and other UK nonprofits will not be able to offer tax deductions to backers.

    1. How do I include images or other media in my       project description?

There are two ways to include photos and images in your description, either uploading them directly from your computer or embedding them.

If you upload images, they must be 10MB or less and one of the following file types: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP.

If you choose to embed, the images need to first be hosted on another website — like Flickr, Photobucket, or your personal blog or website. Just click on the Image button in the text editor, paste in a link to the photo, and click “Add Image.” Make sure the URL you pasted in ends with an image file extension, like .jpg or .png. If you have trouble finding the correct URL, just right click on the image (or control + click on a Mac) and select “Copy Image Location.”

You can also embed videos and audio in your project description and updates (e.g., from YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Flickr, etc.). However, you cannot embed your main project video; you must upload the original video file.

    1. How long does a project remain on Kickstarter?

Forever! Projects are not closed or taken down; they remain on site for reference and transparency.

For the same reasons, projects cannot be deleted, even if they were canceled or unsuccessful. Please note that deleting your Kickstarter account will not delete your project.

    1. Can I use copyrighted material as part of my       project?

Don’t use music, images, video, or other content that you don’t have the rights to. Using copyrighted material is almost always against the law and can lead to expensive lawsuits down the road.

When copyright disputes do arise on Kickstarter (they’re rare, but they happen), we handle them in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. To avoid unnecessary disruption, projects in question are typically removed from public view but are not immediately canceled. This keeps pledge authorizations and lines of communication intact, and leaves room for project recovery where appropriate. The procedure is outlined in detail on our Copyright and DMCA Policy page.

The easiest way to avoid copyright troubles altogether, though, is to create all the content yourself or use content that is free for public use. For example, you may be able to use some Creative Commons-licensed music — per the terms of their licenses — that’s available on SoundCloud. Other resources worth exploring: Vimeo Music Store, Free Music Archive, and ccMixter.

  1. Creator Questions: While your project is live
    1. What are project updates?

“Project updates” refer to what is essentially each project’s blog. Project creators use updates to keep their backers informed on the development of the project, and every update is emailed directly to backers. Some creators may post every day, others may do it rarely, but it’s the best way to keep backers informed of a project’s progress.

Creators are encouraged to include media in their updates, whether by embedding them or uploading directly (video files up to 250MB; images up to 10MB).

Each post can be made publicly viewable or backers-only. Backers-only updates allow you to communicate privately with backers as a group.

    1. Can a project be edited after launching?

Yes, you can edit the following content after launching:

— Project description
— Video and image
— Rewards (add new ones or edit those not yet backed)
— Your profile
— Project FAQs

The only things that cannot be edited after launch are:

— The funding goal
— The project deadline
— Your Kickstarter name
— Rewards that have already been selected by a backer

    1. What is my responsibility for answering questions       from backers and non-backers?

People will reach out during the course of the project with questions about your project. These may range from queries on delivery dates to specific technical questions. These inquiries should be answered promptly and, in cases where other backers are asking the same information, publicly with a project update and through your Project FAQ (under your project description). Transparency is vital on Kickstarter.

    1. Can projects be edited after funding is completed?

No. Every project is preserved as it ended. Creators are encouraged to use project updates to add new information to the project’s development.

    1. Can I change the estimated delivery date for my       reward?

If no backers have selected the reward tier, you can change the estimated delivery date on your Edit Project page. If the reward has already been selected the date cannot be changed, so you should notify those backers of the new delivery date via the “Message All” button in that reward tier’s Backer Report.

    1. How does the Popular page work?

The Popular page in Discover is divided into categories, and each category rotates when it’s refreshed. The page is populated by an algorithm that takes many factors into account that measure, well, popularity!

    1. Where can I find my project on Kickstarter?

Every project that launches on Kickstarter can be found on the Recently Launched page in Discover. Your project will also pop up in the Popular section of its corresponding category and subcategory as well as the Currently Funding section of your city.

Lots of people who come to Kickstarter browse around and look for projects, but keep in mind that when it comes to getting new backers, getting the word out through your own networks is the most effective. Most of the people who back your project will be friends, friends of friends, or fans of the work you do.

    1. How does a project become a Staff Pick?

At Kickstarter HQ, we spend a big part of our day keeping up with projects. Every morning our editorial team opens hundreds of tabs in their browsers and watches all of the project videos that launched in the last 24 hours. When something sticks out as particularly compelling, whether it’s a really fun video, creative and well-priced rewards, a great story, or an exciting idea (ideally all of the above!), we make the project a Staff Pick.

We add to Staff Picks throughout the day and throughout the life of a project. We want this page to be ever-evolving and just one way of many for people to find great projects.

The best way to get on our editorial radar is to keep running an awesome project. We’re always on the lookout, reading about projects through interesting project updates, social media, and articles that pop up in our trusty Kickstarter Google alert. We look forward to reading about yours!

    1. How does a project make it onto the homepage or       become the Project of the Day?

Our editorial team selects projects from Staff Picks to include in the homepage rotation. From that homepage rotation, we choose a single project to feature as our Project of the Day. We put a lot of care into selecting projects, focusing on the same qualities we do for Staff Picks. Because the homepage is the first thing people see when they visit kickstarter.com, we aim to have it populated with projects that are excellent examples of what a Kickstarter project can be.

The homepage also features projects in your city, popular projects, and projects your friends have backed and launched. These projects aren’t selected by staff.

    1. If I am unable to complete my project as promised,       what should I do?

If you realize that you will be unable to follow through on your project before funding has ended, you are expected to cancel it. If your project is successfully funded, you are required to fulfill all rewards or refund any backer whose reward you do not or cannot fulfill. A failure to do so could result in damage to your reputation or even legal action by your backers.

To avoid problems, don’t over-promise when creating your project. If issues arise, communicate immediately, openly, and honestly with your backers.

  1. Creator Questions: After your project ends
    1. If my project is successfully funded how do I       receive my money?

US projects: If funding succeeds, funds go directly from backers’ credit cards to the project creator’s Amazon Payments account. There is a 14-day window for collecting and processing pledges. After that, you can transfer funds from your Amazon account to your bank account.

(Note: Amazon Payments users with a six-month history of receiving credit card payments can apply to Amazon for immediate withdrawals.)

UK projects: If funding succeeds, funds are debited directly from backers’ cards. There is a 14-day window for collecting and processing pledges. After that, funds will be transferred directly to your bank account.

    1. Can I retry my project if funding is unsuccessful?

Yes. You can always try again with a new goal, whenever you’re ready. You’ll need to set your project up from scratch, but it can be essentially identical if you choose.

    1. How can I get my backers’ information (mailing       address, T-shirt size, etc.) to fulfill rewards?

Once your project is successfully funded, you can create surveys (from your Backer Report) to request any info you need to deliver backers’ rewards, such as their mailing address or other details.

Responses will be listed next to each backer’s name on your Backer Report pages, and you’ll also be able to download Excel-compatible (csv) spreadsheets.

Don’t worry about gathering your backers’ info before then! If backers are curious, please let them know that you’ll follow up when you’re ready to deliver their rewards.

    1. How many surveys can I send my backers?

Surveys can only be sent once per reward tier, so ask for everything you need.

If you do miss something or need information from backers before your project ends, you can always message all backers in specific reward tiers through the Backer Report.

    1. What happens if a backer’s card is declined?

If a card is declined, an email is sent to the backer every 48 hours with a link to fix the issue. The backer has fourteen days in the US or 7 days in the UK to correct the problem. If they do not correct the payment during that period, they are dropped as backers from the project and are no longer eligible to receive rewards. You can view the status of all your backers on your Backer Report.

    1. What do I do if I miss my Estimated Delivery Date?

The Estimated Delivery Date is intended to set expectations for backers on when they will receive rewards. Setbacks are common to any project and creative ones especially. When the unforeseen occurs, creators are expected to post a project update explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is part of the Kickstarter experience.

Creators who are honest and transparent will find backers to be far more forgiving. We’ve all felt the urge to avoid things when we feel bad about them, but leaving backers in the dark makes them assume the worst. It not only reflects badly on the project, it’s disrespectful to the support that community has given and to other Kickstarter creators. Regular communication is a must.

    1. Are projects that were not successfully funded       browsable on Kickstarter?

Kickstarter doesn’t have a browse area for projects whose funding was unsuccessful, however unsuccessfully funded projects are accessible through Kickstarter’s search and the profile pages of the project’s creator and backers. When users click on a creator’s profile they can see all of the creator’s past projects — successfully and unsuccessfully funded.

In terms of external search (Google, Bing, etc.), Kickstarter de-indexes projects whose funding was unsuccessful. This means that unsuccessfully funded projects don’t show up in those search results. This was implemented after receiving many requests from former project creators who were finding their unsuccessfully funded projects ranking extremely high — in some cases as the #1 result — in Google searches for their name.

  1. Creator Questions: Payments — US
    1. How do I register to receive funds?

During the project creation process we’ll send you to Amazon Payments to set up your account. You can register to receive funds using an existing Amazon Payments account, or you can sign up for a new one.

Note that you must fully complete this registration to launch your project.

    1. How do I verify my bank account?

You’ll need to verify your email address with Amazon before you can add a bank account. Once the email’s squared away, you can add a bank account here. There are two ways of verifying your bank account, instant verification and via deposits. Not every bank offers instant verification; if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to request that two small deposits be made into your account. It usually takes 3-5 days for the deposits to show up. Once you see them in your account, you can input the amounts into Amazon to verify.

To see the status of your bank verification, visit your Amazon Payments profile.

    1. How do I verify my email address?

When you created your Amazon Payments account, Amazon sent an email with instructions for verifying your email address. Please find the email from Amazon with subject line “Verify Your E-mail Address” in your inbox, and complete your verification. If you can’t find the email, you can request that a new one be sent by visiting your Amazon Payments profile.

    1. I’m having problems verifying my account with       Amazon. What do I need to do?

Please visit your Amazon Payments profile to see what steps remain to complete your account setup. Note that you must log in to Amazon Payments with the exact same email address and password you used when you registered to receive funds in Step 1 (important!). This may be different from your Kickstarter login, and that’s fine.

If you need assistance verifying your account, please contact Amazon Payments.

    1. What are the steps required to set up an Amazon       Payments account?

There are two steps to setting up your Amazon Payments account (the second is multi-part). Step 1 is registering your project to receive funds, where you enter your name, contact information, and other identification details. Step 2 has a few parts:

Verify your email address with Amazon

Amazon Payments sent you an email with instructions for verifying your email address. If you can’t find it, you can request a new verification email by visiting your Amazon Payments account.

Add and verify a US bank account

Bank accounts can be verified instantly (if supported by your bank) or through a process that can take up to seven business days to complete.

Complete the tax interview

Amazon Payments collects taxpayer information for all account holders.

Add a valid US credit card

If the card you entered upon account registration in Step 1 is valid, no further action is needed.

Amazon’s account review

Additionally, Amazon Payments will review your account information to ensure that you meet eligibility requirements. This process usually takes around 48 hours, so please be patient. We’ll send you an email when we receive an update on your account status.

Once you’ve completed Step 1, you’ll be able to see the status of all these other components by visiting your Amazon Payments profile.

    1. How do I contact Amazon Payments with a question?

If you need assistance verifying your account or confirming eligibility, please contact Amazon Payments here: https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/contactussend.

    1. It has been 14 days since my project ended and I       can’t see my funds. Where are they?

If you’re not seeing your funds by now, you’re likely logging in to the wrong Amazon Payments account. Make sure that you are logging in to Amazon Payments with the exact same email address and password you used when you registered to receive funds. This may be different from your Kickstarter login, and that’s fine. Once you log in to that account, you should be able to request a withdrawal of the funds to your personal bank account.

    1. Amazon is asking me for my business details, but I       don’t have a business. How do I set up my account?

Amazon Payments’ account setup process (Step 1 – registering to receive funds) will ask you for both your personal contact details and your business name and address. If you’re running your project on your own and not as a business, that’s fine. Simply use your own name and address. Select your business type as “Individual,” and feel free to put Kickstarter down as the website.

    1. Why do I need to enter my tax information?

Amazon Payments collects taxpayer information for all account holders. Completing the tax interview is mandatory to complete the account setup process.

    1. What do the different Amazon verification statuses       mean?

The Amazon verification statuses are:

Action required

This means that there are one or more steps you still need to complete in the verification process. Visit your payments profile to complete them.

Pending Amazon review

Amazon Payments is reviewing your account information to ensure that you meet eligibility requirements. This process usually takes around 48 hours, so please be patient. We’ll send you an email when we receive an update on your account status.

Note that it is possible to be in the “Pending Amazon review” state and then return to the “Action required” state. That’s not a problem, just visit your payments profile to see what new information Amazon is asking of you.

Complete

Your Amazon account is fully verified.

Closed

Amazon has determined that your account is not eligible to receive funds, and your account is closed.

    1. I’m using a corporate bank account and Amazon has       informed me that I must fax them a bank statement to be verified. Is this       true?

Yes, this is a requirement by Amazon Payments.

    1. How come my Amazon Payments account shows up as       verified but on Kickstarter it says I am not verified?

It’s quite possible that you have verified a different Amazon account, not that one that is linked to your Kickstarter project. Make sure that you are logging in to Amazon Payments with the exact same email address and password you used when you registered to receive funds in Step 1. This may be different from your Kickstarter login, and that’s fine.

If you need assistance verifying your account, please contact Amazon Payments.

    1. Will Amazon send me a 1099-K tax form?

Amazon Payments handles transactions conducted through Kickstarter for US projects. Amazon Payments will file Form 1099-K to report unadjusted annual gross sales information for people who meet both of the following thresholds in a calendar year:

• More than $20,000 in gross sales, and

• More than 200 transactions.

You can read more about this on Amazon Payments’ tax reporting information page. We also recommend that you speak to an accountant or a financial advisor for more information.

  1. Creator Questions: Payments — UK
    1. What are the steps required to set up my account       for receiving funds?

There are four steps to setting up the Account section of your project:

1. Set your funds recipient

2. Verify your identity

3. Register your bank account

4. Verify your contact details

    1. I want my business to be the funds recipient for my       project, but I don’t have a Companies House Number. What should I do?

To run a project as a legal entity, your business or organization must be registered as such in the United Kingdom. If you don’t have a Companies House Number, it won’t be possible to register as a legal entity.

    1. Where can I find my IBAN?

You can find your IBAN (International Bank Account Number) on your bank statement or in your account details online. If you can’t find it, ask your bank — they’ll definitely know!

  1. Creator Questions: Troubleshooting
    1. Why doesn’t the number of backers to my project       match the number who have selected rewards?

Backers have the option to not receive a reward at all. Some of your backers likely have chosen this option. They also have the option to choose a reward at a lower tier than the amount pledged.

    1. I’m having trouble verifying my phone number. What       do I do?

If you’re having trouble verifying your phone number, please try again following the steps below. If you’re using a non-US phone number, remember to include a plus (+) and the country code in front of your number.

To verify via text message:

1. Go to the Account panel on your project.

2. Select “Receive a text message” in the Phone Verification section and make sure your phone is next to you.

3. Click “Start Verification” in the phone section.

4. Wait for your phone to receive the text, then type in the code you see into the box on screen.

If you don’t receive the text (please give it a few minutes to arrive), please try to verify via phone call.

To verify via phone call:

1. Go to the Account panel on your project.

2. Select “Receive an automated phone call” in the Phone Verification section and make sure your phone is next to you.

3. Click “Start Verification” and you’ll see a code appear on screen. (This is the opposite of the text message method.)

4. Wait for your phone to ring. When it does, type in the code that you see on screen when prompted.

If you don’t receive the phone call (please give it a few minutes to arrive), please try to verify via text message or try a different phone number.

    1. My project was declined but it meets the project       guidelines. What do I do?

If you feel that your project does meet the project guidelines, you can submit an appeal for reconsideration.

In an appeal, you have 500 characters to let us know why you think your project meets the project guidelines and should be reconsidered for launch. A Kickstarter staff member will review your project again and take your appeal into consideration. If your appeal is declined, the process ends there. The project submission in question will be closed, but you can always submit a different project.

    1. Why would a project be suspended?

A project may be suspended if it:

• Violates or acts inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the Kickstarter Guidelines or Terms of Use.
• Materially changes the stated use of funds
• Makes unverifiable claims
• Exhibits actions that are more closely associated with fraudulent or high-risk activity

    1. What happens when a project is suspended?

Funding for the project stops and all pledges are canceled. Both the project’s creator and backers are notified via email.

    1. Is a suspension reversible?

No. Once a project has been suspended it cannot be undone.

    1. Can I find out why a project was suspended?

No. For legal and privacy reasons, Kickstarter does not comment on moderator actions.

    1. Can I pledge to my own project?

No. Credit card rules forbid project creators from paying themselves.

  1. Backer Questions: Backing a project
    1. How do I pledge?

To pledge to a project, just click the green “Back This Project” button on any project page. You will be asked to enter your pledge amount and select a reward. For US projects, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. For UK projects, you will check out through Kickstarter.

    1. When is my card charged?

If the project you’re backing is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged. That’s why we call them pledges.

    1. Is my pledge amount publicly displayed?

No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see your pledge amount.

    1. If I make a pledge, what info does the project       creator receive?

Project creators see your Kickstarter name, your pledge amount, and the reward you’ve selected. If funding succeeds we’ll also give the project creator your email address.

    1. What if I want to pledge anonymously?

We don’t currently have an anonymous pledge feature. You are free to choose any name you wish, though, so you could anonymize that way if you would like. Otherwise, we hope you’re okay with showing your full name and support.

    1. Do I get notified if a project I’m backing       succeeds?

We’ll send you an email when funding ends, no matter the outcome.

    1. What do I do if I have questions about a project?

Ask the creator! At the bottom of each project page there’s an “Ask a Question” button. This will send your question directly to the creator.

If you are already a backer and you would like to make your question public, you can post a comment on the project. The creator will be notified by email when you do.

    1. How can I change my credit card details before       funding ends?

Visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.” At the very bottom of the next page, click “Change Payment Method.”

    1. How can I change my pledge amount?

Visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.” Enter a new amount in the pledge amount box. Note that you are not adding to your existing pledge; the amount you enter will be the total amount collected if the project is successfully funded.

    1. How can I change my reward selection?

Visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.” To change your reward, make a new selection. Note that changing your reward selection does not automatically change your pledge amount.

    1. Can I cancel a pledge?

By pledging, you are committing to supporting that person’s project; canceling that commitment is discouraged. If you must cancel, visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.” At the bottom of the next page you’ll see the “Cancel Pledge” button.

    1. Who is responsible for fulfilling the promises of a       project?

It is the responsibility of the project creator to fulfill the promises of their project. Kickstarter reviews projects to ensure they do not violate the project guidelines, however Kickstarter does not investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project.

Creators are encouraged to share links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects. It’s up to them to make the case for their project and their ability to complete it. Because projects are usually funded by the friends, fans, and communities around its creator, there are powerful social forces that keep creators accountable.

The web is an excellent resource for learning about someone’s prior experience. If someone has no demonstrable prior history of doing something like their project, or is unwilling to share information, backers should consider that when weighing a pledge. If something sounds too good to be true, it very well may be.

    1. How do I know a project creator is who they claim       they are?

Perhaps you know the project creator, or you heard about the project from a trusted source.

Maybe they have a first-person video. That would be hard to fake. “Is it really U2?!” Well, it is if Bono’s talking about the project.

Still not sure? Look for the creator bio section on the project page. Are they Facebook Connected? Do they provide links for further verification? The web is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person.

At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts.

    1. Can people from outside the US or UK pledge to       projects?

Yes! Anyone, anywhere (with a major card) can pledge to Kickstarter projects.

    1. Is my pledge tax deductible?

In general, no. However, some US projects started by or with a 501(c)(3) organization may offer tax deductions. If so, this will be touted on the project page. If you have questions about tax deductions, please contact the project creator directly via the “send message” button next to the creator’s name at the top of the project page.

    1. Can I pay with a check? Send cash by mail?

Sorry, Kickstarter only supports credit card payments.

    1. Can I pledge with PayPal?

We support most major credit cards, but we do not support payment with PayPal at this time.

    1. Why isn’t the Backers tab updated with every       backer?

While the total amount pledged and number of backers are updated on a project page in real time, the actual names of backers are added in groups of ten. When names are posted, they’re listed in a random order.

Kickstarter never discloses the amount that backers pledge, just that they’re proud backers. The Backers tab ensures that no one but the creator can figure out who pledged what. We love seeing our names up top on the Backers tab, but privacy is a top priority for us.

    1. Do projects have RSS feeds?

Each project has an RSS feed of its project updates. You can find it in the project’s share section. (Note that backer-only updates are not included.)

There’s also an overall RSS feed of recommended projects, which you can subscribe to here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feed.atom

    1. What does the Remind Me button do?

The Remind Me button lets you keep tabs on projects you’re interested in but maybe aren’t ready to back yet. When you start a project, you can reference it at any time in your starred projects. 48 hours before the project ends, you’ll get a reminder email giving you a chance to become a backer before the deadline.

  1. Backer Questions: Getting rewards
    1. How will project creators get my info to deliver       rewards?

Project creators will send you an email survey to request any info they need to deliver you and your fellow backers’ rewards, such as your mailing address or other details.

Surveys are sent only after a project has been successfully funded. Some creators send surveys immediately, others wait until they’re ready to deliver rewards. If you think you might have missed a survey email, please log in to your Kickstarter account to check — you’ll see a notification at the top of the site for any missed surveys.

    1. I haven’t gotten my reward yet. What do I do?

The first step is checking the Estimated Delivery Date on the project page. Backing a project is a lot different than simply ordering a product online, and sometimes projects are in very early stages when they are funded.

If the Estimated Delivery Date has passed, check for project updates that may explain what happened. Sometimes creators hit unexpected roadblocks, or simply underestimate how much work it takes to complete a project. Creators are expected to communicate these setbacks should they happen.

If the creator hasn’t posted an update, send a direct message to request more information about their progress, or post a public comment on their project asking for a status update.

    1. How do I know when rewards for a project will be       delivered?

Projects have an Estimated Delivery Date under each reward. This date (month and year) is entered by project creators as their best guess for delivery to backers.

Older projects may not contain this information. Check the project’s updates or comments to see if the creator has indicated when they plan to deliver rewards. If a creator is communicative about delivery taking longer than expected, we ask that you take that transparency into account. If a creator is not communicating and you want to know what’s going on, contact the creator by posting a public comment or sending a private message.

  1. Backer Questions: Profile settings
    1. How can I change my profile name?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your profile page.

    1. I forgot my password, how do I log in?

You can request a password reset at the bottom of the login page.

    1. How can I change the email address associated with       my account?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your account page.

    1. How do I unsubscribe from or adjust which emails I       receive?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your notifications page.

    1. How do I delete my account?

Your account can be deleted from your account page. Warning: this is not reversible!

    1. What is a vanity URL?

A vanity URL is like a personalized URL. You can set a special URL for your Kickstarter profile so that instead of being recognized by a series of numbers (e.g., http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1234567890); it can be recognized with a name or a word of your choosing (e.g., http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/yourname). If you’d like to create one, you can do so on your profile page.

    1. How can I log in using my Facebook account?

You can sign in with Facebook using the Facebook login button on the login page.

    1. What is Facebook Connect?

Facebook Connect is a way for you to link your Facebook account to Kickstarter so you don’t need to create a new account. It’s the same as logging in through Facebook. Kickstarter uses the email you use for Facebook, and you don’t have to remember a new password. It’s easy!

If you’re a creator and you’ve turned on Facebook Connect, your Facebook username and friend count will be displayed in your Kickstarter bio (at the bottom-right corner of your project page). This helps backers learn more about the people behind the projects they support, and builds trust between the backer and creator.

If having your Facebook profile a click away makes you uncomfortable, you can either adjust your privacy settings on your Facebook profile or disconnect from Facebook through the “About You” section of your Edit Project page or on your account page.

    1. How come my Facebook account is showing up as       somebody else?

If you are using a computer that is logged in to someone else’s Facebook, connecting your Kickstarter account to Facebook will create a link to that other person’s account. Make sure that whichever computer you’re working on is either logged out of Facebook or already logged in as yourself.

    1. What are Curated Pages?

Curated Pages are open to cultural organizations and institutions in creative fields: museums, film societies, record labels, publishers, creative trade organizations, educational institutions, and more. Featured projects can be directly associated with an organization or simply align with its mission. As long as the project is on Kickstarter, it can be featured on a Curated Page.

If you’re an organization looking to start a Curated Page, please know that they are extended by invitation, with an editorial focus in mind. We typically work with cultural organizations, arts groups, and educational institutions.

  1. Backer Questions: Troubleshooting
    1. A project I’m backing just succeeded and my card       was declined. What do I do?

If your pledge was declined just log in to Kickstarter and click the “Fix payment” button in the banner at the top of your screen. This will guide you through the process of changing your payment method. Alternately, we’ll send you an email every 48 hours with a direct link to correct the issue. Don’t delay, however: backers have fourteen days for US projects, and 7 days for UK projects to correct payment issues before they are dropped from the project (and therefore no longer eligible to receive rewards).

    1. Amazon keeps asking me to verify my email when I       pledge. Why?

You likely have an Amazon Business account. Email verification isn’t required for pledging; however Amazon Business account holders must verify their email addresses before using Amazon Payments. There are simple step-by-step email verification instructions here.

Keystrokes By Kimberly is a synergy lifestyle blog which focuses on how to live a positive lifestyle. We cover every aspect of living a positive life from health, events, wealth, happiness, entertainment, travel and then some. www.KeystrokesByKimberly.com.

11 Comments

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