Friday, March 14, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Crowd-Funding Your Photography Project

Crowd-funding has become a huge development in the art industry. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow creatives to tell people all over the world about the projects they are working on, but just can't seem to complete without proper funding. By reaching fellow creatives and enthusiasts far and wide, many of these artists are able to raise the money, and actually realize their vision. But, there are some serious risks involved with crowd-funding, and I'm here to talk about some of the pros and cons of funding your project on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. (I am leaving out other sites, like GoFundMe, because these two site are geared more toward artistic endeavors, while others are used to fun personal goals.)

I LOVE Kickstarter. I've actually funded a ton of projects on this site, and the variety and diversity of projects on Kickstarter amazes me. I am also a big fan of Kickstarter, because the only projects allowed to be funded on Kickstarter are creative projects, including photography, film, dance, music, and much, MUCH more. 

  • Kickstarter has become hugely popular over the years, so the exposure alone is great. 
  • You fund projects through Amazon, which is super nice, because almost everyone already has an Amazon account.
  • Right on the Kickstarter homepage, you can find featured projects, or "Staff Picks", which is incredibly helpful in getting your project the support it needs to get fully funded.
  • If your project is not funded, you don't get to keep any of the money you raised (it all gets refunded to the backers), but there are no fees. 
  • As mentioned above, if your project is not funded, you don't get anything. Nothing. Nada. Better luck next time!
  • If your project is successfully funded, Kickstarter gets to keep 5% of your earnings, as well as an additional 3-5% in processing fees from Amazon
  • Fraud is no stranger to Kickstarter. There have been cases in the past of projects that were successful, but the project was also fake. Backers lost money, and that sometimes deters people from funding projects in the future.

Indiegogo, though not as popular as Kickstarter, is still a great place to fund your project. You don't necessarily need a creative project to use Indiegogo, though most of the site is filled with art projects. The biggest difference between the two sites is the fee attached to using the site.

Pros & Cons:
  • You can choose a flexible or fixed funded project. For the flexible project, if you're project is not successfully funded, you still get to keep what you earn! Fixed projects do not allow you to keep your earnings if the project is not funded.
  • For both categories, if your project is successfully funded, Indiegogo keeps 4% of earnings.
  • For flexible projects, if you do not reach your goal, Indiegogo will keep 9% of your earnings, and there is an additional 3% processing fee as well as $25 for non-US campaigns. 
So, you can see why there is a real choice you have to make when deciding which site to use, because the fees are a big deal for some project creators.  So, choose wisely and good luck!