Kickstarter is certainly the most well-recognised brand when it comes to crowdfunding. Slowly, the name is even becoming synonymous with crowdfunding itself – evidence of some pretty solid brand recognition.
But given its stature, Kickstarter has had to manage a delicate balance between openness, and maintaining a level of professionalism. This balance is found in the submission process, wherein projects need to write several hundred words about their concept and explain as much as they can.
That’s about to change. Kickstarter has just debuted two major changes to its submission process:
- Instead of writing 1,000 words, project managers now only have to write 300.
- Projects can bypass the approval process entirely.
This is a large step forward in opening up the crowdfunding platform to new entrants. But at the same time, it raises a significant amount of questions.
Of the projects which have raised the nearly $US1 billion worth of volume on Kickstarter, most successful ones have common traits – a high quality video, for one, and constant communication between the project creators and the backers.
With Kickstarter having solidified its position as a conduit, and not a police agency, backers need to judge the quality of different projects on their own. This, unfortunately, means some projects die before they can ever be realised.
These changes bring Kickstarter more into line with its smaller competitors, such as Gofundme and Indiegogo, which have a much more relaxed policy on which projects are allowed to raise money.
This is a turning point for crowdfunding. These new rules are an acknowledgement the platform is growing quicker than ever before, and the existing tools need a way of catching up. But it’s also an acknowledgement project managers have to work harder than ever before. The amount of funding a project receives can be associated with communication and trust – that trust comes from a high quality video and constant updates.
The lower bar for accepting projects now requires more effort than ever before. For those projects which opt to bypass the system, a huge amount of trust needs to be established before any consumer will feel obliged to hand over money.
But the changes extend far beyond Kickstarter itself. As the communication burden on Kickstarter continues to lie more and more on project creators, so too will businesses even outside the crowdfunding sphere fall into this trend. The overarching trend is that consumers want more transparency and more information – and those that don’t will be left behind by those who are willing to show the inner workings and perosnality of their organisation.