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How to kick-start something big
I’m sure everyone is enthralled with the Olympic Games so far – it looks like the medal-winning tide has started to turn our way at last! One of the most inspiring things about the Games for me has always been the way in which athletes put themselves through hell for years, sacrificing everything, to achieve their dreams. There are of course many similarities between sports and the creative arts, and this is what started me thinking about Kickstarter this week.
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that enables people to pledge money to different projects in all kinds of sectors, from dance to literature. The average single donation to Kickstarter isn’t much, but certain projects (like the Pebble E-Paper Watch, for example) have raised staggering eight-figure sums! This shows the true potential of enlisting the help of the many as opposed to the few, and that crowd-funding is rich with possibilities – just like athletes working towards the Olympics, people who have worked at a project for years are suddenly a step closer to realising lifetime ambitions.
Kickstarter was founded by Perry Chen, along with Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler, in 2008. Chen, who is still only 35, emphasises the social aspect of Kickstarter just as much as the financial side, saying in this interview: “We’re able to offer people the ability to overcome that one core roadblock – the funding – and then additionally allow people to build this community and nurture an audience around a project.” Kickstarter’s reward system is vital to this way of operating – invariably, successful projects will have rewards for donors built into their offering, so people pledging money can gain a slice of the finished product too.
Crowd-funding is a fantastic principle, and a proven way to raise unprecedented sums of money – just look at how JustGiving reinvented charity donations through giving people a slick online platform to base their fundraising efforts around. What else could be changed through crowd-funding? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and have an inspiring week-end.
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