Kickstarter provides fundraising for projects

In a creative generation, many young people strive to see their ideas come to life. When these ideas need money, creative minds all over the world turn to Kickstarter.

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

Many of the students at UNA have used Kickstarter’s website to fund their own projects or to support the creation of projects they are interested in.

Some of the university’s faculty are quite familiar with the website as well.

“One of the interesting things about Kickstarter is the fundraising,” said Michael Blair, UNA’s videographer on staff. “You set a goal and raise money. If you hit your goal, you get the money. It’s an all-or-nothing type of system.”

Blair said fundraising is based on incentives, where supporters choose the amount they wish to donate and receive prizes from the project creator. The amount donated to a project directly corresponds to the type of incentive the supporter will receive — this can be problematic.

“It’s hard when people raising money don’t anticipate the demand for certain products and don’t have the infrastructure to provide,” Blair said. “Imagine you were to offer a free DVD for every $10 donation and you receive over a hundred $10 donations. If you don’t have the resources to reward those donors, you could be in trouble as a creator.”

Blair said it is important for students using Kickstarter to understand that their project needs to have a good pitch, if it is going to raise the money they need. UNA student Mack Cornwell said people donate to connect with the creators.

“They feel like they are a part of something,” Cornwell said “Normally they wouldn’t have that ability, but now they can.”

UNA graduate Dillon Hodges used Kickstarter to fund the production of his debut album after establishing a fan base while in college.

“It was perfect for what I was trying to do, for the most part,” Hodges said. “We raised $11,000 from the website, but they did take around 8 or 10 percent of the donations as a service fee.”

In order to fund his debut album “Rumspringa,” which is to be released February 2013, Hodges said he had to raise money offline as well.

“I have some fans that prefer their money to be handled physically, instead of through the Internet,” Hodges said. “I think the biggest drawback of Kickstarter may also be what makes it awesome: in that it’s all online. Because of that, I also wish they had done more to advertise my project on their website instead of focusing on big names that are established.”

Hodges said he was excited about the record he was able to make through Kickstarter, but encourages students to consider other websites for fundraising as well.

“I ran a Kickstarter booth for Dillon at one of his shows; it’s pretty clever,” said Sarah Schiavone, a junior at UNA. “The all-or-nothing funding helps to crush the dreams of the projects without potential. It can be a real heartbreaker, but such is life.”

Schiavone said that many donors had trouble remembering their email address or Amazon account information. This problem, while humorous, does not change the fact that donating to Kickstarter is relatively simple, Schiavone said.

“It was very user-friendly,” said John Frederick, a UNA student who has supported several projects on Kickstarter. “Make an account, put in how much you want to give, give info and boom, done. It is a very successful business tool.”

Frederick said that he is aware of multiple projects being produced because of Kickstarter and believes that it will only become more popular.