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Choosing the Best Crowdfunding Platform for Your Project: Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo

Are you ready to embark on a crowdfunding journey to bring your creative project to life? Crowdfunding offers a unique opportunity to turn your vision into reality with the support of a global community. However, with numerous crowdfunding platforms available, where should you start?


In this article, we'll dive into two of the most prominent players in the crowdfunding arena: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. By the end of this exploration, you'll have a clearer picture of which platform aligns best with your project's goals.


Metrics

Kickstarter, a crowdfunding powerhouse, has achieved remarkable success, raising a staggering $7 billion in funding for over 200,000 projects, accompanied by an impressive 88 million+ pledges. This platform commands attention with an average of 21.4 million monthly visitors, as reported by SimilarWeb. Kickstarter is renowned for hosting campaigns that reach astonishing funding milestones, with nearly 700 projects crossing the coveted $1 million threshold and over 9,000 campaigns surpassing $100,000. These extraordinary statistics underscore Kickstarter's prominent position in the crowdfunding arena.


Nonetheless, this success story comes with intricacies. While Kickstarter's numbers are undoubtedly impressive, they represent only 39.4% of all projects, highlighting a 60.6% project failure rate.


Turning our attention to Indiegogo, this platform has provided a platform for over 800,000 innovative ideas, attracting support from a diverse community of backers spanning 235 countries. In contrast to its counterpart, Indiegogo permits campaign launches from 33 different countries, extending its outreach (in contrast to Kickstarter, which is available in only 25 countries). Drawing an estimated 5.6 million unique visitors each month, as per SimilarWeb data, Indiegogo demonstrates its significant potential.


Regarding the number of active campaigns, estimates fluctuate, with some sources suggesting approximately 19,000 monthly launches on Indiegogo, while others indicate a range of 1,000 to 1,900 active campaigns per month.


Though Indiegogo's success rate and total funds collected are less transparent, industry estimates suggest a success rate of approximately 9% to 11%. The platform has reportedly amassed substantial funds, with a 2018 article from Fast Company revealing a total of $1.5 billion. While current figures remain elusive, informed estimates place their current funds at approximately $3-4 billion.


Funding Model

Indie filmmakers looking to explore crowdfunding options will find that both Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer unique funding models tailored to their specific needs. Let's delve into the crowdfunding nuances that can play a pivotal role in shaping your filmmaking venture.


Kickstarter follows a fixed funding model, often referred to as an all-or-nothing approach. This means that reaching 100% of your funding goal is essential to secure any funds. This structure prioritizes the peace of mind of backers and ensures that creators have the necessary resources to fulfill their commitments. The rationale behind this model is crystal clear: it helps prevent situations where creators fall short of funds after setting high expectations.


Imagine ending up with only $5,000 and a bunch of people expecting a $50,000 film! All-or-nothing funding makes it easier for backers to pledge to your project with confidence that you'll be able to get the job done.”- Kickstarter

In contrast, Indiegogo offers flexibility by providing both fixed and flexible funding schemes. Under their flexible funding model, campaigners receive pledged funds even if they don't reach the 100% goal. For indie filmmakers, this choice reduces risk and allows for more flexibility in managing resources. Conversely, Indiegogo's fixed funding option aligns with Kickstarter's all-or-nothing concept. According to Indiegogo, each model serves distinct needs:


Fixed Funding: "If you don't reach your goal, all contributions are refunded. This model works well for projects with strict funding requirements, such as manufacturing, providing an extra layer of assurance."

Flexible Funding: "Regardless of whether you meet your goal, you retain all contributions. Flexible funding is suitable for projects without stringent minimum funding requirements, offering greater adaptability." - Indiegogo

In the realm of indie filmmaking, the choice between Kickstarter's unwavering all-or-nothing model and Indiegogo's versatile fixed and flexible funding options has a substantial impact on your crowdfunding journey. It's crucial to consider your project's specific requirements and your backers' expectations when selecting the crowdfunding model that aligns most closely with your creative vision. This thoughtful choice will help set the stage for a successful crowdfunding campaign.


Registration Process and Rules

To maximize your success in crowdfunding, it's crucial to comprehend the registration and project acceptance guidelines of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Let's delve into the unique strategies employed by these platforms.


Kickstarter places a strong emphasis on project quality and innovation through its meticulous registration process. Your project undergoes a thorough evaluation to ensure it aligns with their stringent criteria. They prioritize originality and viability, necessitating a compelling presentation video, comprehensive project information, and a rigorous review for legal compliance. To gain project acceptance, you must adhere to specific rules, including:

  1. No personal projects

  2. No charity campaigns

  3. Presence of a functional prototype

  4. No exchange of funds for equity

  5. Prohibition of certain items

Kickstarter's stringent approach is designed to instill confidence in backers, particularly for complex projects, by requiring a functional prototype. Meeting these criteria significantly enhances your approval chances. Additionally, certain eligibility prerequisites must be met:

  1. Age requirement of 18 or older

  2. Creation of the project in your name or on behalf of a registered entity you're associated with

  3. Possession of an address, bank account, and government-issued ID in the campaign's country

  4. Holding a valid credit or debit card

  5. Compatibility with their payment processor, Stripe

In contrast, Indiegogo offers a more streamlined registration process, allowing you to initiate fundraising without a formal approval phase. While a prototype is not mandatory, having one can boost your project's credibility and appeal to potential backers. Indiegogo's registration criteria align with those of Kickstarter:

  1. Age requirement of 18 or older

  2. Legal residency or registration as a business entity in eligible countries

  3. Campaign creation in your name or on behalf of a registered legal entity

  4. Possession of an address and bank account in the campaign's country

  5. For individual campaigns, the linked bank account must belong to the verified identity holder

In the crowdfunding landscape, Kickstarter's rigorous selection process stands in contrast to Indiegogo's more flexible approach. Gaining a clear understanding of these guidelines empowers independent filmmakers to make informed decisions that align with their project's specific needs and aspirations.

Categories

Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide unique category landscapes, offering diverse opportunities for independent filmmakers to explore.


Kickstarter has established itself as a prominent hub for innovation across a range of fields, most notably in gaming, design, and technology. Notably, tabletop gaming has thrived on this platform, contributing nearly half of the total funds raised. As of March 2023, funding rankings in key categories stand as follows:

  1. Games: $2.1 billion

  2. Design: $1.5 billion

  3. Technology: $1.36 billion

Kickstarter encompasses a wide array of categories, including art, comics, crafts, dance, fashion, film & video, food, games, journalism, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater. Filmmakers, in particular, should explore the Film category for valuable insights into campaign success. Kickstarter recommends film projects to target approximately $12,000 in funding, while short films often aim for $5,600, reflecting a conservative approach designed to maintain a high success rate. For more tips and guidance, consult this informative article from Kickstarter.


Indiegogo, on the other hand, prides itself on being a dynamic crowdfunding platform known for its tech products and comprehensive support for art projects, social impact campaigns, and environmental innovations. The platform's standout categories include Tech & Innovation, Creative Works, and Community Projects, which encompass 28 subcategories tailored to focused campaigns.


While Indiegogo originally focused on funding indie films (hence its name), it has since expanded to include a diverse range of categories. While specific film funding statistics may be elusive, there exists a valuable handbook dedicated to crowdfunding film projects, which offers assistance to filmmakers regardless of their chosen platform.


In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo present distinct category opportunities for independent filmmakers. Aspiring filmmakers can leverage the resources offered by both platforms to enhance their crowdfunding journey and achieve their project's objectives. Explore these platforms' unique strengths to find the perfect fit for your indie film project.


Running Time

Campaign duration and extension strategies play a pivotal role in crowdfunding success on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. As an indie filmmaker, understanding the nuances of campaign timelines can significantly impact your fundraising journey. Let's delve into the details of campaign lengths, extensions, and unique features on these platforms.


Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow campaigns to span a maximum of 60 days, although they recommend keeping campaigns between 30 to 40 days for optimal results. While extensions are permissible, Kickstarter imposes a limitation of 60 days in total from the initial launch. Furthermore, Kickstarter grants extension options only during the final week of the campaign.


Kickstarter's cancellation policy is designed to accommodate project creators. If circumstances change, creators have the flexibility to cancel and relaunch their project at a later date. Although backers need to be rallied again, Kickstarter supports relaunched projects without any penalties. This approach acknowledges the need for a reset when required.


Indiegogo, on the other hand, offers a single extension option, allowing campaigns to extend their duration by up to 15 days. This extension demands careful planning, ensuring your campaign continues to attract attention and support. Indiegogo introduces a unique feature called "InDemand" for campaigns that achieve their funding goal. With InDemand, successful projects can keep their campaigns active indefinitely, accumulating additional funds beyond the initial campaign period.


In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo present distinctive approaches to campaign duration and extensions. Kickstarter allows for a single extension up to a total of 60 days, and project cancellations are followed by the possibility of relaunching. Indiegogo permits a single extension of up to 15 days, and its "InDemand" feature offers a continuous fundraising avenue for successful campaigns. By strategically planning your campaign duration and extension, indie filmmakers can optimize their crowdfunding experience on either platform.


Customer Support

Campaign duration and extension strategies are crucial factors influencing crowdfunding success on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. As an independent filmmaker, gaining insights into the intricacies of campaign timelines can significantly impact the outcome of your fundraising journey. Let's delve into the specifics of campaign lengths, extensions, and distinctive features on these platforms.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow campaigns to run for a maximum of 60 days, but they recommend keeping campaigns within the range of 30 to 40 days for optimal outcomes. While extensions are permitted, Kickstarter has a total duration limit of 60 days from the initial launch. Additionally, Kickstarter offers extension options exclusively during the final week of the campaign.

Kickstarter's cancellation policy is designed to accommodate project creators. If circumstances change, creators have the flexibility to cancel and relaunch their projects at a later date. Although it requires rallying backers once again, Kickstarter supports relaunched projects without imposing any penalties. This approach recognizes the need for a reset when necessary.

In contrast, Indiegogo provides a single extension option, allowing campaigns to extend their duration by up to 15 days. This extension requires careful planning to ensure that your campaign continues to attract attention and support. Indiegogo introduces a unique feature called "InDemand" for campaigns that successfully achieve their funding goals. With InDemand, these projects can keep their campaigns active indefinitely, accumulating additional funds beyond the initial campaign period.

In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer distinct approaches to campaign duration and extensions. Kickstarter allows for a single extension of up to 60 days in total, with the option to cancel and relaunch projects. Indiegogo permits a single extension of up to 15 days and introduces the "InDemand" feature, providing an ongoing fundraising avenue for successful campaigns. By strategically planning your campaign duration and extension, independent filmmakers can optimize their crowdfunding experience on either platform.


Page Design

When it comes to crafting compelling campaign pages and tailoring perks for indie filmmakers, Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer distinct options worth exploring. Understanding these disparities is pivotal for optimizing your crowdfunding campaign for search engines and your creative aspirations. Let's delve into the campaign page design and perk customization aspects on both platforms.


Indiegogo boasts a significant advantage in campaign page design, offering a more extensive array of formatting options compared to Kickstarter. While Kickstarter's design choices are often perceived as limited and uninspiring, Indiegogo provides a broader range of customization features, allowing for a more captivating campaign presentation. Notably, Indiegogo grants the flexibility of HTML/CSS customization, catering to individuals with coding expertise.


When it comes to formatting text on campaign pages, Indiegogo excels by offering various text styles, transcending traditional headers and paragraphs. Unlike Kickstarter's rigid left-aligned layout, Indiegogo empowers creators with greater creative freedom. Additionally, Indiegogo accommodates videos from popular platforms like Vimeo and YouTube, delivering added convenience for both creators and supporters.


In the realm of perk design, both platforms support the inclusion of GIFs and images. However, Indiegogo sets itself apart with its user-friendly editing interface, streamlining the perk customization process for faster and more efficient results. It's worth noting that Indiegogo requires manual HTML code integration for GIFs, providing advanced customization possibilities.


In summary, Indiegogo takes the lead in campaign page design and perk customization due to its wider range of formatting options, allowance for HTML/CSS customization, and flexibility in hosting videos. Armed with this knowledge, indie filmmakers can craft captivating campaign pages on Indiegogo that align seamlessly with their creative vision, enhancing their visibility in search engine results and captivating potential backers.


Perks

The intricacies of perk options and specialized features on Kickstarter and Indiegogo can significantly shape the success of your crowdfunding campaign. Discover the unique advantages these platforms offer and how they can enhance your crowdfunding experience.


Indiegogo places a cap of 20 perks per campaign, whereas Kickstarter, to our knowledge, has no established limit. Both platforms introduce an Add-On feature, enabling backers to enhance their contribution with supplementary rewards. Indiegogo's Add-Ons allow for seamless upselling, offering secondary perks alongside standard ones, showcasing its versatility.


"Indiegogo's add-on perks feature enables seamless upselling by offering a secondary perk to be chosen with the standard one. For example, if your campaign offers an eBike as a standard perk, you can provide an extra battery as an add-on perk."

Kickstarter's Add-Ons encompass a wide range of supplementary items, ensuring backers can personalize their support without straying from the project's core mission.


"Add-ons are optional rewards backers can choose to add to their pledges: accessories, game expansion packs, movie posters, copies of and earlier publication—any extra item that complements the primary reward without distracting from the core mission of the project"

Kickstarter features a hekpfuk pledge manager that efficiently tracks pledges and their associated details, streamlining your campaign's management.


Kickstarter introduces an enticing element with timed perks, allowing creators to offer exclusive early bird perks within a specified time frame. Once the period concludes, the perks become locked, encouraging prompt contributions and boosting audience engagement.


Indiegogo offers an intriguing feature known as the secret perk. This feature enables the creation of personalized perks for select recipients, such as email subscribers or social media followers. This tailored approach adds a personalized touch, making your audience feel valued and inspiring greater participation.


In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer unique options and features that can significantly influence the success of your indie filmmaking crowdfunding campaign. Kickstarter's versatility and timed perks create a sense of urgency, while Indiegogo's secret perks cater to specific audiences. Understanding these distinctions empowers filmmakers to tailor their campaign to their target audience's preferences and maximize engagement.


Collecting Money

Payment timing and backer charges play a vital role in the crowdfunding journey for indie filmmakers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It's essential to grasp the intricacies of these payment mechanisms to enhance your campaign experience. Let's explore the distinctions in payment timing and backer charges across these platforms.

Kickstarter operates on a system where backers are charged once your campaign successfully reaches its 100% funding goal and concludes. However, this approach allows backers to reconsider their pledges, potentially leading to a slight 5%-10% dip in campaign funding. While this introduces an element of uncertainty, it grants backers the opportunity to reevaluate their commitment.

In contrast, Indiegogo adopts an instant charging approach, deducting funds from backers immediately upon pledging. This direct method eliminates uncertainties associated with pledge changes, ensuring a stable funding foundation for your campaign.

In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo vary in their approaches to payment timing and backer charges. Kickstarter charges backers after a successful campaign conclusion, permitting pledge adjustments. On the other hand, Indiegogo charges backers instantly upon pledging, guaranteeing a more predictable funding trajectory. For indie filmmakers, a firm grasp of these payment dynamics aids in selecting the platform that aligns best with your crowdfunding strategy.


Fees

In the world of crowdfunding, both Indiegogo and Kickstarter impose a standard 5% platform fee on all campaigns. But let's delve deeper into these fees to gain a comprehensive understanding of what they entail.

Beyond the surface-level 5% platform fee, campaigns need to consider transaction fees and transfer fees, especially if their banking institution operates outside the United States. Additional intricacies can emerge from potential charges related to foreign transactions, which are determined by Stripe, the payment processor utilized by both platforms. It's crucial to thoroughly examine each platform's fee breakdown to fully grasp the financial landscape.

Indiegogo adds an intriguing twist by imposing extra charges on campaigns originating from other platforms. This unique approach involves an "8% platform fee, with a 15% total fee on any funds generated through Indiegogo's platform channel." This policy highlights the significance of making strategic platform choices right from the beginning.

To sum it up, platform fees on Kickstarter and Indiegogo go beyond the initial 5% fee. Campaigners should consider transaction fees, transfer fees, and potential additional expenses related to foreign transactions. Indiegogo's distinct fee policy for campaigns from other platforms underscores the need for careful campaign planning and a clear grasp of fee structures.


Conclusion

Launching your project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo requires careful consideration of your project's specific needs. To attract backers and enhance your campaign's visibility as an indie filmmaker, it's crucial to evaluate the tools and features offered by these platforms.


Moreover, tapping into the experiences of individuals who have undertaken both successful and unsuccessful campaigns on these platforms can provide invaluable insights. Learning from their achievements and challenges can illuminate effective strategies and pitfalls to avoid, shaping your crowdfunding approach.

In summary, Kickstarter and Indiegogo each offer unique advantages. To select the ideal crowdfunding platform for your indie film, align platform features with your objectives and gain wisdom from seasoned campaigners. With these tailored decisions and the resources we provide, you'll be well-prepared to launch a thriving crowdfunding campaign.


If you're still intimidated by the world of crowdfunding, sign up to receive our free handbook on crowdfunding and stay tuned for our e-course!


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