Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kickstarter: Giving to Creativity

This is a guest post contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of top online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

In recent years, the internet has given us the wonderful ability to connect with other philanthropy initiatives. The internet allows us to communicate instantly, to spread word of new projects and areas of need, and to respond to those needs almost immediately. It seems like every second another web-based initiative rises up requesting our help. This, honestly, is a wonderful thing to see, as I'm sure many readers of Digital Philanthropy will agree.

And so we now have Kickstarter to add to the fun. Kickstarter is another example of the latest trend in social networking philanthropy. Like other online philanthropy communities of its kind, Kickstarter uses the power of the internet to gather funding and donations for important causes, but it focuses only on projects and causes within the creative community.
In this respect, it is slightly different than some other fundraising sites, such as The Tipping Bucket. Kickstarter community members and donors can decide to fund creative projects from a large listing of current projects in all sorts of categories: art, publishing, film, cooking, and so on. Some of these projects are very personal, experimental, or unique, while others seek to expand philanthropy and art for a good cause. For example, The Understanding Campaign, which was recently funded successfully, is one such example of using the power of creativity to create social change, while Moveable Type seems to be more about sharing creativity with others, especially others who might not initially be familiar with such a unique form of creativity.

The way Kicktarter works is it lets creative types, like artists and poets, sign up their creative projects for the community to check out and evaluate. Project creators have a window of time to gather pledges from prospective donors, but if they don't reach their fundraising goal, the project won't get funded. Prospective donors get their money back, and the project's creators are responsible for figuring it out on their own. This is now a common, low-risk way of setting up these funding initiatives, and Kickstarter has used it well.

However, if the fundraising goal is reached, then Kickstarter disburses the money, and the project gets its much-needed financial start. But, the great thing about Kickstarter, is that it doesn't end there. The Kickstarter community then gets updates on the project's progress. The website can serve as a solid home base for everything related to that project, which means there are more fundraising opportunities built in should the project's creators need to turn again to the Kickstarter community in the future.

Because Kickstarter only helps out creative projects, it's a relatively focused community. However, for those who wish to support the arts or look for a different sort of philanthropic opportunity, then it could provide a fresh take on an old, but honorable act: giving to others.