A couple of weeks back, while trying to inspire myself, I made a rather bold goal. My goal was to publish one KickStarter project a month until one was actually funded. I’m supposed to have published my first project by Febuary 17th. Well, that’s not going to happen. Not because of inaction, but because I now realize that this goal is totally ridiculous.
Not long after stating this goal, I submitted my first project proposal to KickStarter. The way it works is you write up a proposal for a project and submit it to KickStarter. The KickStarter folks review the proposal and decide if it falls within their guidelines or not. The following are KickStarter’s guidelines, meticulously copied off of their site:
- I am creating a project. Kickstarter is for the funding of projects – albums, films, specific works – that have clearly defined goals and expectations.
- My project fits within one of Kickstarter’s categories. Kickstarter can be used to fund projects from the creative fields of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater. We currently only support projects from these categories.
- My project does not incorporate charity or cause funding. Examples of prohibited use include raising money for the Red Cross, funding an awareness campaign, funding a scholarship, or donating a portion of funds raised on Kickstarter to a charity or cause.
- My project is not a “fund my life” project. Examples include projects to pay tuition or bills, go on vacation, or buy a new camera.
- My project offers rewards, not financial incentives. The Kickstarter economy is based on the offering of rewards – copies of the work, limited editions, fun experiences. Offering financial incentives, such as ownership, financial returns (for example, a share of profits), or repayment (loans) is prohibited.
The project I submitted was Supporting.us. Supporting.us is a non-profit that will facilitate making mobile donations to charities. This is a work in progress created by myself and the rest of the team here at Alagad (Chris Peterson, Liz Hughes, and Randy Miller). You can visit Supporting.us to learn more about it, but be warned that I’ve not yet completed the content on the site, I’m not happy with the design, and there are a few features left to implement. That said, I’d love to get any feedback you may have on the overall concept.
What I was asking KickStarter for was funds to complete the development, improve the design, and generally push this app over the finish line. Unfortunately, I was declined by KickStarter. For those who wonder how KickStarter rejects you, this is what I received from them:
Kickstarter Staff commented on your Kickstarter submission:
Thank you for taking the time to share your idea. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right fit for Kickstarter. We receive many project proposals daily and review them all with great care and appreciation. We see a wide variety of inspiring ideas, and while we value each one’s uniqueness and creativity, Kickstarter is not the right platform for all of them. We wish you the best of luck as you continue to pursue your endeavor.
It’s pretty straightforward. I can’t say I was terribly surprised either. Reviewing the guidelines, I think Supporting.us fell into a gray area. Specifically, Supporting.us does incorporate charity or cause funding. If Supporting.us itself wasn’t a non-profit (which was our original intent, but won’t work – that’s a whole other story) I think this would have been more likely to be approved. But, giving us funds would be, well, making a donation to a non-profit.
Another challenge with KickStarter is that they require projects to offer rewards to the people who make donations. With a physical project this is easier than with a web app, you can simply reward them with the product they’re supporting. But this isn’t as easy with something intangible like a web app. For Supporting.us I proposed having Chris Peterson, one of our developers, make a set of one of a kind turned pens to give out as rewards. While the pens are beautiful, they are unrelated to the project at hand. Overall, it was an awkward proposal and I understand why it was declined.
This rejection puy my goal into perspective. It’s going to be hard to get a project onto KickStarter unless it’s for a physical product. Perhaps open source projects would have better chances. Pretty much everything I know in this world is web (and now some mobile) development. Looking through KickStarter, there just aren’t many projects of this type. I’ll have to be creative.
I’ve decided to update my goal. Instead of trying to publish a new project every month, I just want to publish one project this year. I don’t care if it gets funded, though I’ll do my best to see that it is! I simply want to have the experience of publishing a project on KickStarter. Wish me luck and give me suggestions!