I ♥ Kickstarter!
Kickstarter is a way for creatives to find funding for projects by asking for money from everyone they know (and everyone they don’t as well) and by giving their backers something cool in return.
I launched a Kickstarter a week ago Monday, and, eighty hours later, I had reached my goal. That means that I get the money raised so far along with whatever is donated between now and the end of my Kickstarter, and the people who pledged get something in return.
That in itself is good, but there’s more to the Kickstarter experience—something I hadn’t considered before I started.
I’ve received a handful of grants in the past few years, and they’re really nice things to get, but they do have a problem. With grants, my gratitude doesn’t get to be personal. There’s no real exchange when the money is disbursed.
When I send thank-you cards to the granting body’s staff or to the awards committee members, it’s a little stilted. Though I assume that the staff and committee members are proud to work at or with an organization that helps artists, the money they give out doesn’t actually belong to those individuals. My gratitude is earned by them and heartily felt by me, but it isn’t quite what it might be.
With Kickstarter, it’s a different story. Because the money for my project comes directly from individuals, it becomes more than money. It becomes a connection.
Recently, someone asked me how it is that I support myself as an artist: had I found a wealthy patron to back me? No, I explained, I have someone better than that. I have many someones! And by that I mean my Kickstarter backers along with everyone else who has bought my books, commissioned me, helped me, and inspired me in the last eight years.
None of this is to say that philanthropists aren’t lovely. Many contribute to arts organizations like the ones that give out the grants I’ve received, so I have certainly benefited from their good deeds. Wealthy benefactors are definitely okay by me: it’s just that I like community a lot too.