Every Kickstarter project should have the following

Every Kickstarter project should have the following:
Creator Handbook
Telling your story
A project page with a video and
description that clearly explain the story
behind your project
Who are you?
Introduce yourself, your team, and any
similar work you’ve done (show some
examples!).
What are you planning to make?
The more details, the better. Sketches,
samples, prototypes — it all helps backers
get as excited as you are.
Where did this project come from?
Tell people how you got the idea, and
how much you’ve accomplished so far.
Sharing the project’s history helps others
understand the kind of work you do, and
how you go about it.
What’s your plan, and what’s your
schedule?
Lay out a clear, specific timeline for what
backers can expect.
What’s your budget?
A simple breakdown lets people know
you’ve thought things through and have a
workable plan, so they can trust you to use
funds wisely.
Why do you care?
Tell people why you’re passionate about
your project and committed to making it
happen.
Building rewards
Once you’ve decided on your rewards,
you’ll find plenty of tools and options
that let you organize them so they fit
your schedule and budget.
What should you offer?
You know better than anyone what your
community wants. Think of things that
would get you to back a project. Offer
copies of your work in different formats,
from digital downloads to limited editions.
Consider custom work and chances to be a
part of the process. Need inspiration? Try
this list we made of 96 reward ideas.
What should you not offer?
There are a few things we prohibit,
including offering financial returns and
reselling items from elsewhere.
How to price.
Be fair. When people think about
backing your project, they’re asking
themselves whether your rewards are a
good trade for what they’re contributing.
The most popular pledge on Kickstarter is
$25 — it’s handy to offer something
substantial around that level.
Offer a range of rewards.
Some backers can spare $100, some
$20, some $5. Every one of those backers
counts. Make sure there’s something
worthwhile at every level — even simple $1
rewards. You’ll need to produce and
deliver every reward, though, so think
through each tier and make sure your
budget works!
Updates that share the creative journey
as the project comes to life
Itemize or limit your rewards.
Our itemization tool allows you to
give titles to your reward tiers, clearly
list out what you're offering, and specify
exact quantities. You can also limit the
available quantity of any reward tier to
a certain number of backers —
because, well, if you were planning to
hand-knit twenty scarves, you might not
want pledges for 2,000 of them!
Quantity limits can also create
excitement around special-edition
rewards or signed copies. Limited
“early bird” rewards, where a certain
number of backers get something for a
slightly lower pledge, can also help
build momentum during the project’s
early days.
Estimated delivery dates.
These are your best guesses for
when you expect to deliver rewards to
backers. For each tier, choose a date
you’re confident about hitting, and
don’t be afraid to give yourself
breathing room — it’s definitely better
to underpromise and overdeliver. For
complex projects, it can be useful to
stagger the estimated delivery dates for
different reward tiers, sending out
rewards in batches over a period of
time. More on this in the “Funding”
section.
Shipping.
As you add each reward, you’ll be
able to specify whether the item
involves shipping, which locations you
can ship to, and the shipping costs.
(You can get very specific, if you need
to. See our FAQ for more.) Shipping
costs can sneak up on you, so make
sure you have them covered — the
costs you set will be added to backer's
pledges as they check out, and count
toward your goal. Here are some
suggestions from other creators on how
they handled shipping.
Don’t forget the survey tool!
You don’t need to build separate
reward tiers for different styles of the
same item. Once your project is
successfully funded, you’ll be able to
send backers a survey to collect
information like their shipping
addresses, sizes, color preferences, and
so on.
Remember: once your project is live,
you can add new rewards any time —
but once someone has pledged to a
reward tier, you can’t change it
anymore.
Funding
Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding
model. If your project doesn’t reach its
goal, then funds don’t get collected, and
no money changes hands. This minimizes
risk for creators — imagine ending up with
only $5,000 and a bunch of people
expecting a $50,000 film! All-or-nothing
funding makes it easier for backers to
pledge to your project with confidence
that you’ll be able to get the job done.
Your funding goal should be the minimum
amount you need to make what you
promised and fulfill all rewards. The first
step to setting that goal is figuring out a
budget.
Make a list.
Write down every possible expense —
even less obvious ones, like shipping tape
and bubble wrap. For larger expenses,
research the best price. Total everything
up. It’s okay if the number is bigger than
expected: even if your project feels simple,
it’s best to make sure every step is
accounted for.
Consider your reach.
Kickstarter is a great way to share your
ideas with new people. Still, most of your
support will come from your core networks,
and the people most familiar with your
work. Consider the audiences you can tap
into, from friends and fans to online
communities, and make a conservative
estimate of how many backers you can
realistically bring in.
Give yourself a cushion.
If your project is successfully funded,
Kickstarter applies a 5% fee; there are also
additional fees for our payment processors.
Every project’s tax situation is different, but
that may affect your needs as well — learn
more here. More than anything, you’ll want
a little padding in case of unexpected
costs or emergencies.
United Kingdom
If your project is successfully funded, the
following fees will be collected from your
funding total: Kickstarter’s 5% fee and
payment processing fees (between 3% and
5%). Please note we do not withhold VAT. If
funding isn’t successful, there are no fees.
Kickstarter fee
5% of total funds raised
Payment processing fees
3% + £0.20 per pledge
Pledges under £10 have a discounted
micropledge fee of 5% + £0.05 per pledge
Kickstarter and Taxes
A guide for your accountant.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a funding platform for
creative projects. Everything from film,
games, and music to art, design, and
technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious,
innovative, and imaginative projects that
are brought to life through the direct
support of others.
How does it work?
Every project creator sets their project's
funding goal and deadline. If people like
the project, they can pledge money to
make it happen. If the project succeeds in
reaching its funding goal, all backers'
credit cards are charged when time
expires. Funding on Kickstarter is
all-or-nothing. If the project falls short of its
funding goal, no one is charged.
If a project is successfully funded,
Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds
collected.
Why do people support projects on
Kickstarter, and what do they get in return?
Backers pledge money for different
reasons. Some backers are rallying around
their friends' projects. Some are supporting
people they've long admired. Many are
just inspired by a new idea. Others are
inspired by a project's rewards — a copy of
what's being made, a limited edition, or a
custom experience related to the project.
Project creators keep 100% ownership of
their work. And Kickstarter cannot be used
to offer financial returns or equity, or to
solicit loans. Some projects that are funded
on Kickstarter may go on to make money,
but backers are supporting projects to help
them come to life, not financially profit.
You can learn more about Kickstarter and
how it works in our FAQ.
How do taxes work on Kickstarter?
We can’t give tax advice, but we have
compiled this guide for US-based financial
professionals who may not be familiar with
Kickstarter. This information is not intended
to be used, and cannot be used, by any
taxpayer for the purpose of (1) avoiding
tax-related penalties under the US Internal
Revenue Code or (2) promoting,
marketing, or recommending to another
party any tax-related matters. This
information is just a start.
In general, in the US, funds raised on
Kickstarter are considered income.
In general, a creator can offset the income
from their Kickstarter project with
deductible expenses that are related to the
project and accounted for in the same tax
year. For example, if a creator receives
$1,000 in funding and spends $1,000 on
their project in the same tax year, then
their expenses could fully offset their
Kickstarter funding for federal income tax
purposes. If a creator receives funding in
one year and spends money on their
project in a later year, consider whether
their expenses can still offset their
Kickstarter funding using the accrual
method of accounting.
Creators who have passed over the
thresholds established by the IRS (currently
$20,000 in gross volume per year and 200
or more transactions) will receive a form
1099-K from our payment processor,
Stripe, in January following the year in
which their project was successfully
funded.
Beyond deductions, a creator may be able
to classify certain funds raised on
Kickstarter as a nontaxable gift, and not
income. A gift is something given out of
“detached and disinterested generosity”
for personal reasons and without the
expectation of getting something in return.
Sales tax may also be applicable in certain
cases depending on the local rules. In
general, sales tax applies only if the creator
has sufficient connection to the location of
the backer.
For project creators outside the US, please
refer to your local tax authorities:
United Kingdom:
https://www.hmrc.gov.uk
Set a deadline.
Your funding period can last anywhere
from one to 60 days. Statistically, though,
projects lasting 30 days or fewer have our
highest success rates. Shorter periods set a
tone of confidence, help motivate people
to back, and let you make a planned,
concerted push to spread the word.
Stretch goals.
You can’t change your funding goal once
you’ve launched. But once that goal has
been reached, some projects add
incentives — like new features, colors, or
gifts to backers — to hit even higher
funding milestones. These stretch goals
can work for some — but they can also be
challenging. They’re a better idea when
they improve the work (like adding more
levels to a video game), instead of creating
something entirely new. Here are some
things to think about before adding stretch
goals.
Think Before You Stretch
Yancey Strickler
Tips
Aug 13 2013
Share this post
Over time we’ve seen a growing number of
creators adding “stretch goals” —
unofficial targets beyond a project's
funding goal, with promises of new
rewards or other incentives if they are
reached. Stretch goals are seen as a way to
keep pledges coming in after a project’s
funding goal has been reached. But are
stretch goals a good idea?
All-or-nothing funding is simple and clear:
a project has a single goal, and backers
support the project in its pursuit of that
goal. Stretch goals muddy the waters.
What if someone got in early and helped a
project reach its funding goal, but now the
creator is focused on stretch goals? What if
someone backs a project for a stretch
goal-related reward, and that goal isn’t
met? Both are bad experiences for
backers.
And if your project suddenly explodes?
Unexpected popularity can be a nice
problem to have. But when you designed a
budget to make 100 of something, it’s
tricky to suddenly have 10,000 pledges! If
you feel like you’ve hit your limit, you can
always cap your rewards. You can also
stagger release dates — cap the original
reward at a number you can handle, then
add more with a later delivery date, so you
don’t have to do everything at once. Let
backers know in advance that the demand
might affect your schedule.
Your Tools
The creator dashboard.
Your project’s dashboard gives you an
at-a-glance view of everything that’s
happening: your funding progress, where
visitors to your project page are coming
from, a breakdown of which rewards
backers are choosing — even a complete
feed of all project activity.
Introducing Google Analytics — and an
inside look at the creator dashboard
The backer report.
Your backer report is where all
information about your project’s backers
will be neatly organized. Everything from
the reward that they chose to any
messages that you’ve exchanged will be
documented here. And once you send out
reward surveys, backers’ responses will
ALSO be documented here. The report can
easily be downloaded as a CSV file.
Analytics.
Google Analytics opens up a whole new
world of trusted, powerful tools, from
custom reports and dashboards to the
ability to track how many visits to the
project page are converting into pledges.
Kickstarter for iPhone, iPad, and
Android.
The Kickstarter mobile app can help you
manage communicating with backers
whenever you want, wherever you are! Use
it to send messages, post updates, and get
at-a-glance looks at how your project is
doing.
Promotion
How will you tell the world about your
project? Promotion should be part of your
Kickstarter campaign planning from the
very beginning. Read on for tips on
spreading the word about your idea and
getting people as excited about your
project as you are.
Make a list
While an exceptional project can find
outpourings of support from all over the
web, much of your support may still come
from people who already know your work.
Begin by making a list of everyone you
plan to reach out to about your project.
For example, think of the last 50 people
you've emailed or texted—these are likely
the people who'll support your project on
day one. Collect email addresses, social
media handles, and phone numbers in a
single place.
Next, segment your contacts into a few
groups—think friends, family, fans,
coworkers, and industry contacts—and
draft specific messaging for each group.
For example, frame your message to
friends around specific reward tiers that
you think might appeal to them and why.
Create a calendar
Think through your campaign holistically:
How will you promote your project
pre-launch, on day one, on week two, and
beyond? Put together a week-by-week
calendar to schedule emails, social media
announcements, project updates, and
more.
For example:
At least one week before: Draft social
media posts, newsletters, and other
content to announce your project. Share
your Pre-Launch and/or Preview Page with
10 friends.
Week 1: Announce to your mailing list,
social media followers, and friends and
family.
Week 2-3: Plan two strategies that you'll
use to push through the very common
mid-campaign “plateau.”
Anytime: Draft a project update,
including never-before-seen photos or
video of your project.
Before you launch, prep an outreach plan
Early on in your planning process, think
through how you’ll promote your project
once it’s live. Lining up pre-launch support
gives you a great head start; securing
first-day backings can help boost your
project’s long-term chance of success.
Make a list
While an exceptional project can find
outpourings of support from all over the
web, much of your support may still come
from people who already know your work.
Begin by making a list of everyone you
plan to reach out to about your project.
For example, think of the last 50 people
you've emailed or texted—these are likely
the people who'll support your project on
day one. Collect email addresses, social
media handles, and phone numbers in a
single place.
Next, segment your contacts into a few
groups—think friends, family, fans,
coworkers, and industry contacts—and
draft specific messaging for each group.
For example, frame your message to
friends around specific reward tiers that
you think might appeal to them and why.
Create a calendar
Think through your campaign holistically:
How will you promote your project
pre-launch, on day one, on week two, and
beyond? Put together a week-by-week
calendar to schedule emails, social media
announcements, project updates, and
more.
For example:
At least one week before: Draft social
media posts, newsletters, and other
content to announce your project. Share
your Pre-Launch and/or Preview Page with
10 friends.
Week 1: Announce to your mailing list,
social media followers, and friends and
family.
Week 2-3: Plan two strategies that you'll
use to push through the very common
mid-campaign “plateau.”
Anytime: Draft a project update,
including never-before-seen photos or
video of your project.
Build some buzz
A week or two before launch, share your
project with your community to give them
an early heads up. Here are two tools that
can help:
Preview Page
Just click “Preview” at the top of your
project overview
Your shareable Preview Page shows your
full project as it will appear once it’s live,
including your title, video, description, and
rewards. Share this page with close
collaborators for feedback on everything
from copy to images to reward tiers.
Viewers of your Preview Page can also
choose to be notified once your project
has launched.
Pre-Launch Page
Once your project has been approved by
our Trust & Safety team, you’ll have access
to your Pre-Launch Page. This page allows
you to tease your project by sharing your
project image, title, and description. From
here, potential backers can choose to be
notified once your project has launched.
This is a useful way to build momentum
around your project before launch without
giving away all of the juicy details.
Announce with a bang
Once your project is live, let people know!
Send personal emails to your friends and
family, and follow up with folks who
received your Preview or Pre-Launch Page.
Alert your wider mailing list that your
project is live, making sure to share a few
key details about why you’re excited about
it.
Share your project on social media with
eye-catching visuals and custom referral
tags to help you track where your pledges
are coming from.
How do I track referral stats?
Here are some additional tips for spreading
the word:
Recruit some help. If your goal is
ambitious, you might need more than just
yourself to get the word out. Tap your
collaborators, peers, or pals to help. Draft
some simple messaging that your
community can easily repurpose when
sharing your project with their networks.
Don’t spam. When you’re in promotional
mode, it’s easy to unintentionally come
across as a spambot. Try not to overwhelm
people with e-blasts and group texts.
(Sticking to your outreach calendar can
help space out your messaging.) Visit our
Community Guidelines for more
information on spamming.
Community Guidelines
How to pitch your project to press
A well-placed piece of press can place your
project in the cultural conversation, and
help you reach a wider network of people
interested in your idea.
If you plan to reach out to the press, make
sure to include the essentials: who, what,
where, when, and why. Journalists
appreciate concise messages that respect
their time and give them exactly the
information they need. Put yourself in their
shoes, and tell them why your idea is worth
covering. Some tips to remember:
Twitter is your friend.
Many reporters list direct contact info
there.
Keep your contact lists targeted.
Reach out to people and sources you
know are interested in topics like yours.
Mention who’s available for interviews.
That goes double if prominent folks are
involved in your project.
Offer any content you can.
Put together a folder of hi-res images to
promote your project, including portraits of
yourself and your team. Bonus: Show off a
sample, a trailer, or a preview.
Be thoughtful about timing.
When will it be most relevant to cover
your project? Consider how long do you
think each media outlet will need to
prepare a piece.
Use Kickstarter resources.
You can provide press contacts with a
link to our Pressroom for information on
Kickstarter itself.
Be considerate.
Avoid being pushy—bothering people
can have negative consequences for your
project.
Keep working.
Getting press for your project isn’t a
guarantee. While you wait to hear back,
continue to put in the work to let people
know what you’re doing—your own efforts
will pay off regardless.
For more tips on PR strategy, read “How
to Get Press for Your Creative Work” by
Communications Strategist Kate Bernyk on
The Creative Independent.
How to get press for your creative work
Prelude
Hey there, I’m Kate Bernyk and I’ve been
working in communications and media
relations for a little over 15 years now.
Throughout my experience, I’ve seen that
while most people would absolutely
benefit from the media paying attention to
the Very Cool Thing they are doing, those
same people often feel super awkward,
confused, or unequipped to do anything
about it. The good news is, it’s really not
that complicated to learn the basics of how
to pitch your work to the press. The bad
news is, much like creative work, it’s not
always a sure thing that those pitches will
result in positive stories about your work
being published. You could invest a lot of
time reaching out to journalists who you
think might like to write about you, and
still, it just might not happen. That sucks.
But when it DOES work, press coverage
can be a super helpful way to expand your
reach and audience.
Sections
First things first: Who are you talking to,
and what do you want them to do?
The first question I ask when putting
together a communications and media
plan is: Who am I trying to talk to, and
what do I want them to do?
Hone your story
Find the right place(s) to pitch
Craft your pitch
Follow-up etiquette
When all else fails...
In summary...
Additional resources for promotion:
A project promotion pep-talk
Before you launch, build a list
Ready, set, share your project
How to get featured on Kickstarter
How to get press for your creative work
How to get through your project’s
“plateau”
A creative person’s guide to thoughtful
promotion
How to use custom referral tags to track
your progress
Before you work with a marketing
service, consider this
How to get press and spread the word
about your Kickstarter project
Communicating with backers
Throughout your project, you’ll be
communicating with backers and keeping
them informed of your progress. Project
updates, your spotlight page, Kickstarter
Live, and our messaging system will help
you keep backers in the loop.
Updates.
Think of these as your project’s blog.
Keep backers engaged through interesting
and shareable updates, and encourage
them to spread the word about your
progress, like this project did. Backers
aren’t just looking for updates on when
their rewards will show up — most of them
love a look at the details of how work like
yours is actually made. Show them!
Update options.
You can post text-only updates, or you
can include images, video, and even sound
clips. (Check these out!) You can mark
updates as public or for backers only.
Updates can be emailed to all your
backers, or just to specific reward tiers.
And after an update is posted, you even
have 30 minutes to edit it.
Messages.
You can use messages to communicate
with backers one-on-one. Remember to
check your messages and comments
regularly, and respond to any questions. If
you find that you’re frequently getting
questions about the same topic, consider
making it the subject of your next update.
Spotlight.
Once your project is successfully funded,
use the Spotlight feature to customize your
page, highlight images that show your
plans coming together, and direct your
audience to where they can see your
current work. Looking for inspiration? Visit
this page.
Backers appreciate regular, insightful, and
honest updates. Don’t be hesitant to
communicate delays or changes to your
original plans — or to just check in. (If
backers don’t hear from you for a while,
they worry that you may be having trouble
doing the work you promised.) Curious
how other creators have approached
updating their backers? Here are some of
our favorites.
Fulfillment
Fulfillment: that means completing your
project, getting rewards to backers, and
communicating with them to make sure the
process goes smoothly. Like every other
step, this one requires planning and
budgeting. But fulfillment can be fun, too,
and we’ve got quite a few tools and
suggestions to help.
The Backer Report & Surveys
Surveys let you collect information from
backers — their shipping addresses, sizes,
choices of colors or flavors, or anything
else. You can start drafting backer surveys
any time after you’ve launched a project,
but they can only be sent out once your
project is successfully funded. They can
also only be sent once — so think through
all the questions you’ll need to ask in order
to provide rewards, and prepare
accordingly.
If you designated that a reward requires
physical shipping, the survey will
automatically ask backers for their mailing
addresses.
Although you can only send surveys
once, you can allow backers to make
changes to their shipping addresses until
you’re ready to actually ship rewards. Once
you indicate that you’re ready to ship,
backers will be notified that they have 48
hours to finalize their addresses.
We run the addresses that backers
provide through a validation check to make
sure they exist and are properly formatted.
If a backer hasn’t answered your survey,
we’ll show them a reminder on Kickstarter
next time they visit.
You can mark a survey question as
optional if it doesn't pertain to everyone.
All survey responses end up neatly
organized in your Backer Report, which you
can export as CSV files and open in pretty
much any spreadsheet program.
Remember: you’re responsible for using
backers’ information responsibly.
Fulfillment Partners
If managing all the logistics of your project
starts to feel a little overwhelming, or you
wind up with more backers than you were
prepared for, don’t worry: you don’t need
to do everything yourself. There are
businesses that specialize in things like
mass mailing, warehousing, packaging —
you name it. If there’s a part of the process
you feel comfortable outsourcing, and you
can find a partner you trust, it can help
lighten the load and create a better, more
efficient experience for you and your
backers. With the help of many Kickstarter
creators, we’ve compiled this list of services
that help with everything from packaging
and shipping to manufacturing, games
distribution, and vinyl pressing. Check them
out and research which partners will work
best for your project and your backers.
Fulfillment from A to Z
Further reading
Resources and links from Kickstarter and
beyond!
While Your Project Is Live
Tips on running a music project from
singer and songwriter Olga Nunes
A creator shares how they brought their
project from idea to market in five months
Hardware startup Senic YC S13 shares
how to plan a campaign from start to finish
Spreading the Word and Building
Community
Download our guide on getting press
and spreading the word about your idea
Thoughtful promotion advice from
graphic novel creator Jason Brubaker
Ideas for engaging the tabletop games
community
Tips on promotion — and some
revealing stats — from two successful
game campaigns
Beyond the Campaign
The awesomeness of not making it
Ten creators reflect on what they learned
from running a project
Prepare for tax season year-round with
this Q&A
And more from Kickstarter...
Tips from the Kickstarter blog
Kickstarter Creator Basics
The Kickstarter Tumblr
Our list of fulfillment resources for
creators
The Kickstarter Resources Compendium
Our free course on strategic storytelling
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