Crowd-sourced fundraising sites have been getting a lot of attention recently: we hear success stories about organizations putting up projects on these online tools, and spreading the call for funding through their networks, friends, and their friends’ networks. There are two main tools out there, which are nominally similar, except for a single, important detail.First up is Kickstarter, which we’ve previously talked about, a website to find funding for arts, music, video, and other creative projects. You post your project, along with your goal, and a timeframe, and the community pledges money. Typically the projects will offer little rewards or thank-you gifts to donors, depending on how much is pledged ($1, $10, $50, and so on). Projects link quickly to Facebook and Twitter, making it easy to bring your network of friends and supporters to the existing and very active Kickstarter community. It’s good that they’re active, because all Kickstarter projects are all-or-nothing.That’s right, if your project doesn’t meet its goal by the deadline, you get zip. While being generally annoying, this policy does light a fire under your supporters to actually pledge, spread it to their friends, and maybe be a little more generous than they would otherwise be. The important trick to Kickstarter is to figure out what the bare minimum you need to fund your project, and post that as your goal, so you increase your chances of at least getting enough. If you aim too high, and your project doesn’t succeed, you’ll end up with no funding. Because the community is very active, and organizations like YouTube and Vimeo promote projects that meet certain criteria, it’s quite possible to exceed your goal. While free to use, Kickstarter will take 5% of what you raise if your project is successful.Similar to Kickstarter is IndieGoGo; the main difference is that with IndieGoGo, you get to keep the money pledged if your project fails to meet its goal. While the all-or-nothing policy leads to motivation on Kickstarter, there’s something nice about getting any money as opposed to none. While both are arts-oriented, IndieGoGo seems more lax on what sort of people and projects are allowed. IndieGoGo charges a 4% fee if your project succeeds (if you don’t meet your goal, it rises to 9%).How do you feel about this? Would you put in all the effort to set up a project, promote it, stress over it, and end up with nothing because you’re a few dollars short of your goal? Or are you a gambler?Anyone have any success/horror stories?
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