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Kickstart fundraising for your mod with Kickstarter

Posted on 10th Dec 2009 at 10:50 by Alex Watson with 6 comments

Alex Watson
We’ve featured some great mods on bit-tech this year, and behind the scenes Antony and Rich are at work sourcing prizes for upcoming extravaganza that is our renowned Mod of the Year competition.

It's one thing to have a great idea for a mod - but it's quite another to actually get it done. The amount of work that goes into making something as mighty and radical as, say, The Phinix Cube or Neptune’s Trident is epic.

It's not just work, either - it's cash too, so the question is, how do you raise the money to mod?

One way to fund your mod is to look for sponsorship from hardware companies – that’s an approach that does work for some modders, but it’s a tricky area to get in to, especially if you’re just starting out, because of course, companies want something in return. Rich and the rest of the forum guys have written a series of guides to the dos and don’ts of sponsorship that are well worth reading.

Another option might be a recently launched website called Kickstarter. It’s a “funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers.” It’s actually a great idea that harnesses some of the best aspects of the web. Essentially, you write about your project on the site, set the amount of cash you need to go ahead and then detail the rewards your backers get for kicking in.

Rewards scale up with the amount of cash that’s involved – take this project by the band Asobi Seksu. They need some cash to go on tour - $7,500 dollars in fact. They've got a project up on Kickstarter, and if you give $1, you get a digital download of song, $5 gets you an album, $25 a signed t-shirt, limited edition vinyl and the downloads.

Kickstart fundraising for your mod with Kickstarter

One key fact to bear in mind: projects only go ahead if they’re fully funded. This is one factor that Andy Baio, Kickstarter’s CTO thinks is key to its early success (and it has helped quite a few people get cash for their creative projects).

That and the fact that communication is key - project teams use the site to talk to their backers. I've funded a couple of projects and I really like the way the site allows creative people to connect to an audience, and get a sense of their personality across - and why their project matters. This makes the projects really compelling, and following the development of a project you've funded is exciting, and it's heartening when it's actually completed.

At the moment, most of the people using the site are bands, writers or photographers but browsing through the site the other day (I like Asobi Seksu, y’see), I thought it could work really well for modders. You'd need to figure out what the rewards would be (wallpapers? access to the blueprints? one on one modding advice?) and how to publicize the project of course, but it might work well in conjunction with a project log on the forums. I’d be really interested if any bit-tech modders are interested – let me know your thoughts in the comments.

6 Comments

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slipperyskip 10th December 2009, 11:58 Quote
Interesting but you forgot to mention that it is open for US citizens only. It is invitation-only which means it is only available to well connected people who probably don't really need the funding.. Interesting idea though. Maybe the idea will spread and be more widely available.
Sifter3000 10th December 2009, 14:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperyskip
Interesting but you forgot to mention that it is open for US citizens only. It is invitation-only which means it is only available to well connected people who probably don't really need the funding.. Interesting idea though. Maybe the idea will spread and be more widely available.

Ah, didn't realise it was US only - as for invite only, I think that will change fairly soon, and I think if you were the first modder, we could probably maybe help get you an invite :)
slipperyskip 10th December 2009, 15:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifter3000
Ah, didn't realise it was US only - as for invite only, I think that will change fairly soon, and I think if you were the first modder, we could probably maybe help get you an invite :)

I would have to have an invite in order to be the first modder....its the chicken or the egg thing all over again. lol

I have joined the site and the associated Facebook page. The Facebook page looks like a giant beg-fest for invites. I have a project proposal but I don't see any mechanism for submitting it...unless I have an invitation.
DarthBeavis 10th December 2009, 16:36 Quote
Let me know if you guys want an article on getting mod sponsorships at that really is my strong area ;)
slipperyskip 10th December 2009, 17:21 Quote
After further review...

Successful funding seems to be tied to the ability to offer backers specific reward(s) for their financial support. For example, people who seek funding for producing or publishing their work are offering free or discount pricing for the resulting product. Cool idea but I don't see how that translates to case modding. What can a case modder offer a backer in exchange for their cash? (Insert sexually oriented "job" joke here).

The system doesn't require that you give out rewards to backers but I didn't see any examples of that actually working.
Farfalho 10th December 2009, 17:25 Quote
DarthBeavis, that could really be helpful for modders starting or already established and recognized modders that in some point of their projects or life, can't manage to have the funds to see their projects through. Some piece of hardware that is hard to find or very limited to some countries. Everyone must have been through that at some point of their modding procedure
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