Not Sure What Kickstarter Is All About? Here's What You Need to Know (2024)

Kickstarter is a funding platform directed toward helping creative projects get off the ground. It's entirely driven by crowdfunding, so donations from the general public fuel these dynamic new ideas. Here's a look at what's involved with creating and backing a Kickstarter project.

While nonprofits can start a Kickstarter project, projects can't raise funds for charity or promise to donate to a cause.

Not Sure What Kickstarter Is All About? Here's What You Need to Know (1)

How Kickstarter Works

Kickstarter is driven by creators and backers. Creators present creative project ideas, and backers fund those projects.

Creators set up a page to display their project's details and prototypes using text, video, and photos. Project creators set a funding goal and a deadline. The creators also create reward levels for backers who pledge specific amounts. The more a backer pledges, the bigger the reward.

When enough backers have funded the project, the creator can develop and produce their vision. Depending on the project's complexity, backers may have to wait months to see the finished product.

Starting a Kickstarter Project

Although Kickstarter is a great platform for exposure, not everyone gets their projects approved. Every creator must first review the Kickstarter Project Guidelines before submitting a project. Kickstarter accepts about 75 percent of submitted projects. The remaining 25 percent are turned away, usually due to non-compliance with the guidelines.

Some of Kickstarter's key general rules for creators say the creator must:

  • Create something that can be shared with others.
  • Be honest and clearly present their project.
  • Not fundraise for charity.
  • Not offer equity.
  • Not involve prohibited items, including contests, political fundraising, drugs, weapons, and more.

While many projects fall into the tech category, Kickstarter is a place for creators of all kinds, including filmmakers, artists, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and other creative individuals.

Kickstarter's All or Nothing Rule

A creator can collect their funds only if they reach their funding goal by the deadline. If they don't reach the goal in time, no money changes hands.

Kickstarter put this rule in place to minimize risk. If a project can't generate enough funds and can't deliver to current backers when creators didn't raise enough money, it can be tough on everyone. Creators can always try again at a later time.

All Backers Have the Opportunity to Receive Rewards

Kickstarter requires creators to offer some kind of reward to their backers, no matter how simple or elaborate. When people fund a project, they choose one of the predetermined awards the creators present. Usually, there's also a way to contribute a small amount without an award, an option that's labeled "Back it because you believe in it."

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Awards may include:

  • Shout-outs on the project's website.
  • Putting the backer's name somewhere in the finished project.
  • Invitations to a party or performance.
  • A copy or a signed version of the final product.
  • T-shirts.
  • A meeting with a celebrity backer.
  • Anything else the creator can dream up.

Once a project has successfully reached its goal funding amount, creators may reach out for more information before sending out rewards to their backers.

All Kickstarter pages have an Estimated Delivery Date section to specify when backers will receive their rewards.It may take several months before anything is delivered, especially if the reward is the product itself.

Backing a Project

Pledging money to a project is easy. Select the green Back this Project button on any project page you choose. Select a donation amount and a reward. Amazon's checkout system processes your information.

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Credit cards aren't charged until after the project deadline passes. If the project doesn't reach its funding goal, your credit card is never charged. Whatever the outcome, Kickstarter sends all backers an informational email after the project end date.

Browsing Projects

Browsing through projects is easy. Scroll through the Kickstarter home page to see featured projects, what's recommended, fresh favorites, and more. Use the search button at the top to search for something specific by name or keyword.

If there's a particular type of project you're looking for, browse categories including Arts, Comics & Illustration, Design & Tech, Film, Food & Craft, Games, Music, and Publishing.

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Patreon is a similar site geared specifically for people who create art, music, writing, or other types of creative services. If Kickstarter doesn't offer you the creative category you need, check out Patreon.

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Not Sure What Kickstarter Is All About? Here's What You Need to Know (2024)


What is the meaning of Kickstarter? ›

Kickstarter is one of a number of crowdfunding platforms for gathering money from the public, which circumvents traditional avenues of investment. Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no funds are collected (a kind of assurance contract).

What's the point of Kickstarter? ›

Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Kickstarter campaigns make ideas into reality. It's where creators share new visions for creative work with the communities that will come together to fund them.

What Kickstarter means by its all or nothing funding model? ›

Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. No one will be charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal. This way, creators always have the budget they scoped out before moving forward. A creator is the person or team behind the project idea, working to bring it to life.

What happens if you don't raise enough money on Kickstarter? ›

Creators will still receive the balance of collected funds, less fees, even if the final amount falls below your project's funding goal due to dropped pledges. Kickstarter will only collect fees on the funds that we are able to successfully collect.

Do you have to pay back Kickstarter money? ›

When a project fails to reach its goal, Kickstarter refunds all of the pledges in full without taking any fees. However, creators are responsible for processing refunds back to their original payment method or following up with any members who did not complete their pledge payments.

What are the cons of Kickstarter? ›

A major downside of Kickstarter is the lack of control over all stages of the project. Creators are responsible for the project idea, design, manufacturing, shipping, and customer service. When campaigns go wrong, backers are usually unable to get their money back directly from Kickstarter.

What are the core values of Kickstarter? ›

Our community is founded on a few core values—transparency, trust, respect, and honesty. It's up to all of us to bring new ideas into the world, and to make sure that Kickstarter maintains these values.

What is Kickstarter best for? ›

Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas that are brought to life through the direct support of others. Everything on Kickstarter must be a project with a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art.

Why would anyone give money to Kickstarter? ›

They might be inspired by a new idea, or simply motivated by a project's reward. Whatever the reason, people back projects because they want to have a part in helping to bring it to life. Backing a project is more than just pledging funds to a creator, it's pledging support for a creative idea.

Is Kickstarter still all or nothing? ›

Kickstarter runs on an all-or-nothing funding model, meaning that unless a campaign reaches its funding goal, backers are not charged, and creators receive no funds. Therefore, setting the right funding goal is crucial for a successful campaign and project completion.

What happens if you cant pay Kickstarter? ›

When a backer's payment can't be collected, we'll send them instructions on how to fix their pledge and will continue to do so every 48 hours for 7 days. They can also fix their pledge by logging into their Kickstarter account and clicking on the "Fix Payment" banner at the top of the page.

Do you get a refund if Kickstarter is not funded? ›

Kickstarter has an All or Nothing Funding Model. This means that if a campaign doesn't hit its funding goal, all the pledges are canceled and the project creator doesn't receive any of the pledged funds. All the money pledged by backers is returned to them and no money exchanges hands.

What happens after Kickstarter ends? ›

After the campaign ends, Kickstarter initiates the payout process, transferring the funds to the creator's designated bank account. The time it takes for the funds to reach the creator varies, depending on the country and the creator's bank.

What happens if you go over your goal on Kickstarter? ›

Any funds raised beyond the goal will help the creator to cover any manufacturing or shipping costs related to their add-ons. In other cases, overfunding leads to better margins and the creator may even profit from the project.

How safe is Kickstarter? ›

We have a dedicated Trust & Safety team that monitors the system for suspicious activity. They screen reports sent to us by our community and take action if they find something that does not align with Our Rules. It's important to remember that Kickstarter is built on an all-or-nothing funding system.

What does kickstart mean? ›

kick-start verb [T] (HELP)

to make something start to happen or start to develop more quickly: Taxes were drastically cut in an attempt to kick-start the economy. Many young writers can thank the magazine for helping to kickstart their careers.

What does kick-start mean in slang? ›

1. to start (a motorcycle engine) by means of a pedal that is kicked downwards. 2. informal. to make (something) active, functional, or productive again.

What is another word for kickstart? ›

Definition of kick-start. as in to jump-start. jump-start. resurrect. rekindle.

How does a kickstart work? ›

As the lever begins to descend under the rider's foot, the rachet engages a gear linked to the crankshaft causing it to spin past top dead center so that an ignition spark can ignite the compressed fuel mixture. Upon starting, the rachet disengages and the rider folds the lever back.

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