Kickstarter has received a lot of attention over the past few days after backing Inocente, a short documentary that took home an Oscar. But Inocente isn’t the only successful creative project to arise from the crowdfunding platform. While there is no magic equation for how to be successful on Kickstarter, it doesn’t hurt the campaign to have a plan of attack, an engaging campaign, and tons of friends to do a huge PR blitz on the campaign.
Here are five others:
Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra
If you measure success in terms of how much impact Kickstarter pledges had on a creative project, the award would most likely go to Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra. Once Palmer decided to part ways with a major music label, she took to Kickstarter to get her record off the ground. Not only did she seek funding to produce the album but also create “song-inspired album art,” which involved thirty artists. The campaign offered pledgers nifty rewards like a signed art book, limited edition vinyl, and tickets to see the art at galleries around the globle. After receiving over $1.1 million in pledges, Palmer’s album debuted at number 10 on the Billboard top 200 list back in September.
Paola Prestina also has Kickstarter to thank. The composer launched a campaign for Oceanic Versus, an opera focused on Italian culture through four different story lines. While Carnegie Hall originally commissioned the work it was the $10,000 in Kickstarter pledges the campaign provided the opportunity for the opera to be shown at the Kennedy Center. Named one of the top 100 composers under 40 by NPR, Pristina enticed people to pledge by offering CDs and prints.
Cards Against Humanity
Then there is 2011’s Cards Against Humanity, a card game based on points, where one person asks an awkward question from a black pile of cards and the others provide their best response from the white cards they are holding. It has that Apples to Apples board game vibe but much more R-Rated. For example, a black card may have the question, “What do old people smell like?” and you must choose the best answer from the white cards you hold in your hand—“women in yogurt commercials,” “Dick Cheney,” or “oversized lollipops.” It didn’t take much to get people interested in the campaign, as Cards Against Humanity only offered three prizes, the best one being personalized black and white cards. But apparently this was all the company needed.
While it only received $15,000, which was almost 300 percent higher than its original goal of $4,000, the founders are still feeling the ramifications of its success. I have tried forever to get my hands on a pack of these cards, Amazon keeps telling me its number one game is sold out. I also give this founders props for the release of an extended version this past December, which nabbed the founders an additional $70,000 in profits, all of which they donated to the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.
The Order of the Stick Reprint
Since 2003, creator Rich Burlew had been sketching stick figures for his webcomic book series The Order of the Stick. As of 2005, Burlew made the decision to offer the series in a paper format. He soon ran into the problem of keeping the older versions on shelves and didn’t have the funds to print additional comics. Last February, with a goal of $57,750 Burlew took to Kickstarter to try to get one of his books reprinted, The Order of the Stick: War and XPs. By offering pledgers magnets, custom crayon drawings, and coloring books, the campaign ended up receiving $1.2 million from nearly 15,000 backers.
Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster
Not everyone is obsessed with iPhone game apps, as one Kickstarter project saw a ton of success from a board game. Remember those things? Game developer Mike McVey took to the crowdfunding site for his two player strategy game, one with actual figurines to paint, hoping to grab $20,000. After successfully employing additional add-ons for meeting pledges and unlocking special packages, upgrades, and videos for goals met, the Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster ended up raising more than $950,000.
And while these projects are the most talked about creative projects, there is a host of other people who would have never made it without Kickstarter.
As I wrote recently, the interactive puzzle fiction book The Maze of Games has attracted current pledges topping $110,000 with 16 days left. Web comic website Penny Arcade begged folks to support their site, instead of depending on ads, and people came out in droves pledging over $528,000. And even a local theater located in Barrington Illinois felt the love from the Kickstarter community after it scored $175,000 to save it from going under.
Image Courtesy of Flickr