I‘ve written about crowdfunding quite a bit in the past, so I was pretty excited to see the announcement this week from Kickstarter that they are finally going to make their crowdsourcing engine available to Canada as of September 9.
Kickstarter is the granddaddy of all crowdsourcing engines. Basically, how it works is, you create a project that you want funded, and set a goal for how much you want to raise, and deadline for which you want to raise that amount of money. Then, you start to ask people to contribute. If you make your goal by the deadline, the credit cards of all the people who promised to contribute get charged. If you don’t, they don’t. Kickstarter gets 5%, plus credit card processing fees.
Kickstarter has been wildly successful, funding 47,000 projects since 2009, to the tune of $751 Million. Pretty impressive.
Still. Is it too late for Kickstarter to enter the Canadian market?
Here in Canada, Indiegogo has been the premiere crowdsourcing engine. Its ability to cross country barriers has made it very popular, and in the absence of Kickstarter, it’s gotten a very firm toe-hold in the market. In addition, Indiegogo has made themselves available to Canadians, working hard by hosting meetups and connecting IRL. The main difference between the two, however, is that with Indiegogo, you don’t have the all-or-nothing pressure.
But there’s a bigger question that needs to be answered here: is crowdfunding dead? Are we burnt out of seeing our friends constantly begging us for money? It’s not just our friends: it’s huge stars, too, who have come under attack for using crowdfunding to finance their projects while they live in million-dollar mansions.
I don’t know. Only time will tell.
I do know this: if you are planning on attempting to crowd-fund a project, be sure you have your social media ducks in a row before you start. Crowdfunding is much more successful if you have a solid social media presence backing you up: this means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, a website/blog and email at the very least, and solid numbers. This takes some time to do. It’s not for the impatient. But the end result will be much more successful.
What do you think? Have you tried Indiegogo, Kickstarter, or one of the other crowdfunding engines? What’s been your experience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.