Writing a Great Kickstarter Project

One key to getting the Kickstarter people to shine a light on your project, and getting a strong response from their community, is the value proposition. That is to say, donors want to know what they are getting, and judge projects according to the actual takeaway.

Another key element is your project’s backstory. Projects that succeed in finding backers have a compelling story beyond the obvious need for funding. There is a problem to be solved, a need to be fulfilled, or an opportunity to be seized. In many cases, much of the project’s work has been done, and part of the backstory is that outside funding is neede to reach a specific and crucial goal.

A study of art and/or writing project descriptions that are getting supporters reveals that there are three crucial parts:

1) the project — what are you going to do with this money? Usually this translates as “create new work”. Sometimes it’s more specific, like “buy a special piece of equipment” or “go to a unique place to work”. Your ability to talk in terms of a plan and a concept for a body of work will help you attract supporters. A “project” that only says, “hi I am an artist and I would like some support” is not really adequate for Kickstarter.

2) the premium — what’s in it for your patrons? Yes, some of the new work that would be underwritten through Kickstarter would go directly to those people who sign on to your cause. The premium seems to be the easiest of the three to think up, right? “Give me $$ to paint, and I’ll send you a painting”. Many of the successful entries take it a step further, along the familiar web-friendly lines of access, inclusion, and interaction. Good Kickstarter campaigns have variable levels of commitment with different premiums for each level.

3) the person — what makes this project special? The specifics of well-received Kickstarter campaigns always tie back to the story the artist tells about themselves. Sometimes it can seem a little gimmicky (or a lot), but a cool project says a lot about its creator, too.

The Kickstarter universe is filled with good projects posted by good people. But Kickstarter is not for charitable giving. It’s for project funding, so defining a clear, specific, and compelling project is the best way to attract the backers you want to find.

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