By Rachel Bass
Somewhere in your Inbox between the unopened e-mails about unicorns and angels that your mom forwarded, and the Facebook friend request from that neighbor down the hall that you've intentionally ignored, is likely an e-mail from a friend or relative about a website called Kickstarter. Maybe you've heard about it in passing. Maybe you’ve come across it on the Internet. But what exactly is Kickstarter?
Founded in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler, Kickstarter is the largest online fundraising platform. Using a model called “crowd-funding,” Kickstarter encourages filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers and other creative artists to bring their ideas to life by posting projects on the site.
Users then set “rewards” that family, friends and visitors to the site will get for donating any amount of money to a specific project. The artists have the freedom to set the fundraising goal and the length of time they think they’ll need to raise the money. If a project reaches its goal in the set timeframe, the artists receive the funding. If a project doesn’t reach its goal, backers keep their money. Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the funds raised, while Amazon, which authorizes all payments, takes 3 to 5 percent.
Kickstarter says nearly half of the projects posted on their website have been fully funded. A million people have donated more than $100 million to support the diverse array of ideas, which range from tech gadgets to art, dance, food and music.
Every seven seconds someone is tweeting about Kickstarter – so if they haven't asked you yet, there's a very good chance you'll be the next potential donor asked to give.
Watch Kate Snow's full report about Kickstarter: