Kickstarter is a website that helps crowd-source funding for creative projects. So they invite finite enterprises with specific goals that need concrete financial backing. It’s not primarily geared to companies, and it’s also not for charity, it really comes down to supporting the arts, where the performance, the product or the outcome is not expected to generate revenue.
The site forces creatives to articulate their story (first and foremost in a video) and to define their specific funding targets. The public is invited to pledge money to back these projects, and in exchange they are promised some sort of reward connected to the level of funding. For instance, a woman who sailed around the world alone provided those who were contributing money a polaroid from every harbor she stayed in. Or in the case of GoldieBlox (which first got me started on this topic), backers received a combination of magnets, stickers, a copy of the game etc.
So overall, the model falls someplace in between commerce and patronage.
If the financial target is met within the specified time, all of the funds are released; if not, the project is dropped. It’s all or nothing. In the interview with Rocketboom moderator Ella Morton, Kickstarter co-founders Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen explain that people procrastinate unless they have a specific goal to work toward (and don’t I know it!), so forcing people to focus their energies this way helps projects succeed. The tipping point for a project to succeed, they say, is in fact raising about 25% of the funding goal, and once that is reached, 90% of the projects work out.
The successful projects share certain traits: They have a real and passionate story to them, and (on the technical side) they have a good video and interesting rewards going for them. So, for daily good news on the scope of creativity on our planet, check out the Project of the Day.