Crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter yield a mixed record of success
A.D. Amorosi, Philly.com
A quick trip to fame and fortune seems to be a prevailing story these days: Post a video on YouTube and win a recording contract. Appear on a reality show and become a cookbook author.
Fund-raising is no different. With dozens of "crowd-funding" sites out there, three-year-old Kickstarter.com being the largest, anyone with an artistic endeavor can raise millions in capital in a minute. Right?
Artists wish. Certainly, there are some amazing success stories, like in February, when designer Casey Hopkins asked for $75,000 to make a luxury iPhone dock out of aluminum and got $1.4 million (the first Kickstarter project to break $1 million pledged) or when this year Philadelphia artist Rich Burlew asked for $57,750 to put his comic books back in print, and ended up with $1.3 million.
But for most people, it's a panic-inducing slog as they make a case for their cause while a clock winds down. Even as they collect seemingly tons of pledges, if the goal isn't reached by the deadline - which fund-raisers choose themselves - no money changes hands and the project is canceled. Donors can cancel their pledges up until the end, as well.
"That's nerve-wracking," said Lynette Shelley, whose Philly-based band Red Masque raised $2,222 in 2012 to make an album. But if the goal is reached - or better, surpassed - "donor credit cards are charged at deadline . . . and given to our Amazon payments site."
So, is there a secret to Kickstarter success? Philadelphians, with 488 funded projects and more than $4 million in pledges, have had their share of success. But there are many locals with tales of woe, too. All reveal lessons learned.
To read the full article: http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-13/news/33790936_1_first-kickstarter-project-pledges-casey-hopkins