How Kickstarter Can Help You

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who are raising money for personal projects on the crowdfunding site.

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who are raising money for personal projects on the crowdfunding site
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5. Support others. Lloyd backed the projects of other musicians on Kickstarter, and while she didn't do it to receive their support, she found that they often ended up supporting her, as well. "It may sound like we just exchanged funds, but we helped each other create momentum and encouragement," she says. That momentum helped more people find her project, she adds.

6. Offer rewards. Ron Garner, chief executive of Silence in Library Publishing, sought funds on Kickstarter to create an anthology of science fiction stories. He raised more than $7,600, and he attributes his success in part to the fact that he offers rewards for even modest contributions. For example, pledges of $5 or more come with an ebook version of the project as well as a personal "thank you" email from one of the authors. "If you're trying to get away with getting money from them without having to return anything of value, you're eventually going to fail," he says.

7. Pursue traditional marketing venues. Garner distributed promotional postcards at science fiction/fantasy conventions and also landed reviews by pitching the project to mainstream and science fiction-focused media outlets. Krigman was featured on CNN and in The Washington Post.

8. Help others. Tina Henry-Barrus, a paper product designer, exceeded her goal of raising $880 to give away 30,000 free bookmarks to schools and public libraries in an effort to promote reading among young people. She thinks part of her success came from the fact that her project is focused on helping other people and the community. As a result, public libraries with strong presences on Facebook were happy to help her. "It helped that my project wasn't about me, I think. It wasn't a selfish endeavor," she says.

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9. Seek a modest amount. When Richard Zarou, a professional composer and music educator, turned to Kickstarter to raise money for his project to create an album, "Thanksgiving: A Family History," based on the poetry of writer Shannon Berry, he chose his goal of $900 based on need. In addition to hiring a cellist and flute player, he needed to pay to print the CDs as well as the Kickstarter and Amazon fees. He recommends keeping the funding level as low as possible, given Kickstarter's "all-or-nothing" policy that means users only keep the funds they raise if they reach their funding goal. Zarou exceeded his goal and is now working on recording his music. He plans to release his album in November 2014.

10. Get personal. Filmmaker Alyssa Michek successfully raised more than $1,000 for her project, "It's All in My Head," which she describes as a "witty, short, dramatic film about a break-up told from the woman's perspective." She recommends sending a personal appeal "to people who already love and support you," even though it can feel difficult to continually ask friends and family for support. But because people often forget or get distracted, she says it's a good idea to remind people and ask them a second time.

Because unless you're already famous, she says, most of your support will likely come from friends and family, not strangers.