Crowdfunding 101: Backing on Kickstarter

Shadows-of-the-Past-boxI finally did it; I jumped down the rabbit hole (or in my case, the manhole) and supported my first crowdfunded project: IDW Game’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past Board Game. It was my fiance, Jake, who suggested backing the project, and as I know his lifelong affection (obsession) with the Turtles and board games, I happily agreed and we started a Kickstarter account so we can be part of bringing the game to fruition.

Kickstarter was founded in April 2009. Since its start, 11 million people have contributed, funding over 103,000 projects. Projects range from board games to comics to restaurants to computers to stage plays and more, so there’s likely at least one project on the site that can appeal to someone.

TMNT: Shadows of the Past isn’t the first project I’ve wanted to support, however the uncertainty of the process kept me from participating. Giving my credit card number out to a project I’m not sure to have a return on made me nervous, plus I didn’t understand the process of how it works. What if it doesn’t reach the goal? What if the product is never delivered? Why would I support something I could eventually just buy in the store?

When we backed Shadows of the Past, it had not yet reached its goal of $250,000. A few hours after donating, I received an email announcing it hit the goal, so all backers at our level received Kickstarter exclusive figures and game expansions. This meant I wouldn’t have been able to purchase this in the store. My interest was piqued.

Later that day I received another update from a stretch goal. Then another. And another. Over the 30 days of the campaign, email after email announced new game components, bonus lithographs, expansions, and more with some of them being enhancements for all games and some being exclusive to backers. I found myself checking the website throughout the day to see just how close we were to the next stretch goal and what the new bonuses would be.

tmnt-kickstarter-page

While I don’t always support trying things out by jumping in with both feet, it worked out in this situation. As the campaign progressed for Shadows of the Past, all of my questions that had previously prevented me from supporting projects were answered.

If you haven’t supported a project on Kickstarter before, the process is simple:

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Choose what level to back a project (you get different rewards based on the amount you contribute).
  3. Enter your credit card number.
  4. Watch as the project meets its goal and your rewards come in!

Since backers only pay if the project is funded, Kickstarter waits to collect the money. This gives backers peace of mind because they know even if a project is fully funded early, cards will not be charged until the funding deadline.

For this particular project, IDW is expecting to ship the game and all the bonus content in July of 2016. Other projects vary depending on the amount of work left to go into them. Video games, for example, typically take much longer because of the amount of programming required. There is a slight risk involved that a project creator may not deliver on a finished product, however this is not the norm for Kickstarter projects. You can reduce this risk by investigating the creator and the project to make sure it is something you’re confident in.

I underestimated how exciting it would be to contribute to a crowdfunded project. Since IDW spent time on the forums with backers, they found out what backers were interested in and adapted the goals and game expansions to fit their interests. Had this not been a crowdfunded project, it would have been very different from the resulting product.

Have you participated in crowdfunding any projects?

 

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