I recently became aware of the crowd sourcing platform "Indiegogo" and, as the survivor of a successful Kickstarter campaign (Kenosha Festival of Cartooning), I thought I would share a little of my experience with that platform and why I might consider using Indiegogo for my next project.
Kickstarter - Pros:
1) Kickstarter currently has much higher name recognition than Indiegogo. Name recognition will not help you very much in terms of actual dollars pledged via the kickstarter site itself but it helps enormously when you are trying to spread the word that you are crowd sourcing a project. I personally did not get much funding from casual Kickstarter browsers. But tying the project to Kickstarter did help the project get coverage on other online news sites and blogs.
2) Kickstarter has rules for its projects and funding that gives backers the impression that the project has been vetted. This probably allows backers to support projects with confidence that they are not being scammed in some way.
3) Getting my Kickstarter project approved was a little nerve wracking but, once the process was underway, the site was very easy to understand and work with.
Kickstarter - Cons:
1) Kickstarter offers only "fixed funding" which means that, if you don't 100% make your goal, you get NOTHING. Nada. When I would tell people this, they were often surprised and thought it was stupid.
I can only feel that Kickstarter sticks with this model because they feel that it creates a sense of urgency among backers that makes them more active supporters. More active supporters are more likely to raise their pledge if they feel the project is in jeopardy and also twist the arms of their friends to become backers as well.
Believe me, if you don't have active backers who REALLY, REALLY want to see your project succeed, it won't.
2) Kickstarter ONLY accepts donations via Amazonpayments. This was a nightmare for me. First, there was no mechanism for me to set up the campaign as a non- profit - which mine was - and, secondly, it took over a WEEK to get the account set up properly. There was always some button I hadn't clicked properly or some other mysterious problem on their end. And the problems were not quickly or easily resolved.
Another problem with Amazon payments is that a lot of my potential backers did not have Amazon accounts and did not want to create them just to donate to my project. So they would offer me a check or some other way to pay instead, assuming I could just put that money into the project account myself.
Except that you can't do that. Amazon payments has a STRICT policy that no one can "pay themselves" to fund a project. Even if the money comes from a genuine backer via a personal check, you CANNOT pay it to the Kickstarter project. If you do attempt to "pay yourself" in this way, Kickstarter will cancel your project and blacklist you.
Indiegogo - Pros and Cons
I'll be honest, I haven't attempted a project on Indiegogo yet but I have poked around the site as well as made a donation to a project and here's what I found.
1) Payments you can use - this is a HUGE difference - credit card or paypal. I honestly don't know ANYONE who does not have a credit card or a paypal account. Being able to accept these methods of payment would have made a difference to my project of at least $600 - maybe more. I'll never really know how many potential donations I lost when backers got to the payment phase, got frustrated, and decided to skip donating.
2) Flexible Funding - again HUGE. For a project like mine, the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning, where I was just trying to raise as much money for the festival as I could, I would much rather have been able to keep what I raised, no matter how much it was. WARNING - on Indiegogo, the fees for a flexible campaign that does not reach its goal are much higher. 9% vs 4%
These two differences alone make me want to try Indiegogo next time I crowd fund a project.
OVRERALL CAUTIONS FOR CROWD SOURCED FUNDRAISING
Both these platforms take a significant fee for helping you fund your project. Between the Kickstarter fees and the Amazon Payments fees, I lost about $1300 of the total "$13,600" I raised. It does not look as though Indiegogo is any cheaper. Be sure to factor these fees in when you set your target goal.
DON"T attempt to crowd source a project without social networking and other types of publicity!!!! The three most important ingredients in my success with the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning were 1) Facebook 2) Twitter 3) News blogs like The Daily Cartoonist and 4) The Tall Tale Radio Podcast interview I did. My biggest donor, The National Cartoonist Society Foundation, would not have been aware of my project or that it was a good fit for their mission without that interview.