1. Kickstarter Basics: Kickstarter 101 Top ↑

    1. What's Kickstarter?

      Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

      Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. If you like stats, there's lots more here.

    2. How does Kickstarter work?

      Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they're ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

      Every project creator sets their project's funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

    3. Why is funding all-or-nothing?

      All-or-nothing funding is a core part of Kickstarter and it has a number of advantages:

      It's less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it's tough having $1,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.

      It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word.

      It works. Of the projects that have reached 20% of their funding goal, 82% were successfully funded. Of the projects that have reached 60% of their funding goal, 98% were successfully funded. Projects either make their goal or find little support. There's little in-between.

      To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

    4. Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

      We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

      Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

      Kickstarter does not allow charity, cause, or "fund my life" projects. Check out our project guidelines for details.

    5. Does Kickstarter screen projects before they launch?

      Only a quick review to make sure they meet our project guidelines. Kickstarter does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. Backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it. See the Accountability section for more.

    6. Why do people back projects?

      A lot of backers are rallying around their friends' projects. Some are supporting people they've long admired. Many are just inspired by a new idea. Others are inspired by a project's rewards — a copy of what's being made, a limited edition, or a custom experience related to the project.

      Backing a project is more than just giving someone money, it's supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world.

    7. Where do backers come from?

      In most cases, the majority of funding initially comes from the fans and friends of each project. If they like it, they'll spread the word to their friends, and so on. Press, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter itself are also big sources of traffic and pledges. Altogether, millions of people visit Kickstarter every week.

    8. Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

      No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

      Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

    9. What are the fees?

      If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

      In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

    10. Who is Kickstarter?

      We're 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City's Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

  2. Kickstarter Basics: Accountability Top ↑

    1. Who is responsible for completing a project as promised?

      It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves.

      Kickstarter does not guarantee projects or investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. On Kickstarter, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

    2. How do backers know if a project will follow through?

      Launching a Kickstarter is a very public act, and creators put their reputations at risk when they do.

      Backers should look for creators who share a clear plan for how their project will be completed and who have a history of doing so. Creators are encouraged to share links and as much background information as possible so backers can make informed decisions about the projects they support.

      If a creator has no demonstrable experience in doing something like their project or doesn't share key information, backers should take that into consideration. Does the creator include links to any websites that show work related to the project, or past projects? Does the creator appear in the video? Have they connected via Facebook?

      Don't hesitate to request information from a creator. You can always reach out before pledging via the "Contact me" button on the project page.

    3. How do I know a project creator is who they claim they are?

      Perhaps you know the project creator, or you heard about the project from a trusted source.

      Maybe they have a first-person video. That would be hard to fake. "Is it really U2?!" Well, it is if Bono's talking about the project.

      Still not sure? Look for the creator bio section on the project page. Are they Facebook Connected? Do they provide links for further verification? The web is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person.

      At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts.

    4. What should creators do if they're having problems completing their project?

      If problems come up, creators are expected to post a project update (which is emailed to all backers) explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is crucial. Most backers support projects because they want to see something happen and they'd like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding.

      It's not uncommon for things to take longer than expected. Sometimes the execution of the project proves more difficult than the creator had anticipated. If a creator is making a good faith effort to complete their project and is transparent about it, backers should do their best to be patient and understanding while demanding continued accountability from the creator.

      If the problems are severe enough that the creator can't fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps could include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers.

    5. Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

      Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.

    6. Can Kickstarter refund the money if a project is unable to fulfill?

      No. Kickstarter doesn't issue refunds as transactions are between backers and creators, and creators receive all funds (after fees) soon after their campaign ends. Creators have the ability to refund backers through Amazon Payments (for US projects) and Kickstarter (for UK projects).

    7. Why can't Kickstarter guarantee projects?

      We started Kickstarter as a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things. The traditional funding systems are risk-averse and profit-focused, and tons of great ideas never get a chance. We thought Kickstarter could open the door to a much wider variety of ideas and allow everyone to decide what they wanted to see exist in the world.

      Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas. Many of the projects you see on Kickstarter are in earlier stages of development and are looking for a community to bring them to life. The fact that Kickstarter allows creators to take risks and attempt to create something new is a feature, not a bug.

    8. What is Kickstarter doing about fulfillment?

      As Kickstarter has grown, we've made changes to improve accountability and fulfillment. In August 2011 we began requiring creators to list an "Estimated Delivery Date" for all rewards. This was done to make creators think hard about when they could deliver, and to underline that Kickstarter is not a traditional shopping experience.

      In May 2012 we added additional guidelines and requirements for Product Design and Technology projects. These include requiring creators to provide information about their background and experience, a manufacturing plan (for hardware projects), and a functional prototype. We made this change to ensure that creators have done their research before launching and backers have sufficient information when deciding whether to back these projects.

      We've also allocated more staff to trust and safety. We look into projects reported by our community for guidelines violations and suspicious activity, and we take action when necessary. These efforts are focused on fraud and acceptable uses of Kickstarter, not a creator's ability to complete a project and fulfill. On Kickstarter, backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.

  3. Kickstarter Basics: Getting involved Top ↑

    1. How do I start a project?

      Click the green "Start Your Project" button on the start page. That will take you through the process of building your project. All projects must meet Kickstarter's project guidelines and all creators must meet eligibility requirements.

      Before jumping in, do some research. Read through Kickstarter School for tips on how to structure your project. Talk to your friends about your ideas to see what they think. Look at other projects on Kickstarter that are similar to yours. All of this work will pay off.

    2. How can I find interesting projects to back?

      There are a bunch of ways to find cool projects:

      The Kickstarter Newsletter: Once a week we send a hand-picked email of three projects worth checking out.

      Your friends: Connect your Facebook account to Kickstarter to follow your friends and check out the projects they're backing.

      Staff Picks: The Staff Picks section collects standout projects selected by the Kickstarter team.

      Popular: The Kickstarter algorithms displays the projects making the most waves. The main popular page is the best view: three of the most popular projects in all 13 categories.

      The Internet: Kickstarter projects are often big news on social media and in the press. This is how many projects are discovered.

    3. Yes! The Kickstarter Style Guide has hi-resolution versions of the Kickstarter logo and other assets for creators, backers, and members of the press to download.

    4. If I have more questions, what should I do?

      Have questions that weren't answered here? We have more Frequently Asked Questions available for both creators and backers. If you're a member of the press looking to reach Kickstarter, you can visit the Pressroom for lots of great resources, or just email press@kickstarter.com directly. If you are looking for customer service help, just click Contact at the bottom of the page. Thanks!