How will you fund your next arts project?
An Xiao’s super cool project on Kickstarter got me interested in learning more about this crowd-funding service.
Essentially, you or your organization has a project with a price tag, and you use Kickstarter to raise the money. Your fans can pledge any dollar amount to support your thing. If you raise only 99% of your goal by your declared deadline, no one is billed at all. But if you meet your goal before your deadline, you can continue to accrue pledges up to that date.
Kickstarter is still in beta, having launched in spring of 2009, so projects are accepted by invitation only. Eventually anyone with any kind of idea will be able to pitch their dream using the service.
In order to use Kickstarter, you must have a U.S. address and a bank account. Kickstarter uses Amazon to process pledges and payments, and though it’s free to use Kickstarter, Amazon will deduct credit card processing fees from your total.
Donors can adjust or cancel their pledges at any time, and there is no donor anonymity at this time. Kickstarter allows you to create tiers of rewards for pledges. For instance, for An’s project, if you pledge $5 or more, she’ll give you top secret information about the project; for $25 or more, you get the secret plus a signed 8 x 10-inch print of the artist with the installation, or the installation with the New York City skyline; for $100 or more, you get the secret, the print, and a tour of the installation with An.
Like other services, such as Network for Good's Charity Badge or Chipin, Kickstarter gives you marketing tools, like a widget for you and your friends to post online, like I did with my post about An. You can post a short video on the site, making your pitch even more powerful. There’s also a blogging component you can use if you want, to keep donors up to date with your project.
The projects hosted on Kickstarter are varied. Artloop takes art made by students at two New York City schools and transforms it into limited edition art for donors. The money raised (their goal is $1,000) will go directly back to the schools that furnished the art.
“Masters” is a project of the Vanderbilt Republic Foundation and Cambodian Living Arts, raising $50,000 to document with large-scale photography the performing arts masters in Cambodia who survived the Khmer Rouge to later pass their art on to the next generation.
Creators of the film La Porte, Indiana have already reached their goal of $7,500 and are continuing to take pledges. This documentary film was inspired by a trove of photo portraits stored at a Midwestern diner.
Musicians seeking to produce albums abound.
Take a look at Kickstarter. It may make sense for an opportunity that has come up quickly, with no time for the foundation application process. It certainly makes sense for projects by individual artists and ad-hoc arts groups.
Would you use a crowd-sourced funding service like Kickstarter for your cultural organization?