Are There Any Differences Between IndieGoGo & Kickstarter?

Published On March 6, 2012 | By admin | Blog Post, film finance, film production, Independent Film

For many independent filmmakers trying to raise funds in order to turn their production dreams into a reality crowdfunding is becoming a way of life and IndieGoGo and Kickstarter friends of the family.  There has been discussion amongst people I know as to which of the two programs is the better choice and I would have to say that I believe it depends on the individual project and the specific goals of the filmmakers involved.  First for a few facts:  IndieGoGo was launched January 2008 at Sundance with Kickstarter debuting a year later.  Although both have many similarities there are a few key differences.  Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition – if you fail to meet the goal then you don’t get to keep any of the money and it is refunded to the donors.  If the project is fully funded then a 5% fee is charged.  There is also an additional fee which can be up to 5% from Amazon payments for processing the credit cards.  On the other hand, IndieGoGo allows users to keep the funds even if the goal isn’t met.  If it is they charge 4% for their services and if it isn’t that number moves up to 9%.

Aside from the financial considerations, there are also a few other fundamental differences.  Kickstarter is a curated platform and any projects posted on the site must be approved beforehand.  The campaign must be for an actual project with a start and finishing point and not be for a cause.  Projects also have to fit into a specified category such as arts, film or some form of writing and offer rewards to the backers that are part of the incentive for providing funding.  Because of the accountability requirements, Kickstarter has developed an excellent reputation and has become very well known.  It has been estimated that approximately 50% of their campaigns result in success.  With IndieGoGo there is no approval process or waiting period, so you can post a project at any time and begin raising funds.  They also allow business funding, so you can start a campaign for causes and entrepreneurial pursuits as well as creative endeavors.  Also, although you only pay IndieGoGo a 4% fee if you are fully funded, you also pay third-party payment processor fees of up to 3% for check and credit card donations and the 15 cent plus 2.9% fee for those using PayPal.  One more thing to keep in mind is that although IndieGoGo does allow you to collect on donations whether or not the funding goal is met, there is the 9% fee charged, so you want to make sure you have enough capital left over to fulfill your perks and move ahead with your project. 

Before deciding which of these platforms will work best for your project, I recommend going to their websites and checking them out for yourself and then contacting friends who have used them.  If you don’t know anyone personally who has raised cash this way, turn to your social networking contacts on Twitter and Facebook.  I would reach out to people who have been both successful and who have not met their goals so that you can tailor your campaign to give you the best possible chance at success.

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