Kick Start Your Dream

From Flickr user kaibara87 (Creative Commons)

By Anne Lind.

At Idealist, we’re committed to helping people turn their intentions into action, and we know that there a variety of obstacles that sometimes stand in the way—financial concerns being just one of many. How many times have you had a great idea and dismissed it out of hand because of a lack of funds?

Recently, hundreds of people have been empowered to pursue their former pipe dreams, thanks to a a website called Kickstarter which provides “a new way to fund creative projects and ambitious endeavors.”

Basically it works like this:

You post your idea on Kickstarter and set a fundraising goal: an amount, and a date you will raise it by. Your “backers” pledge money towards your goal, but no one gets charged unless the project meets its goal. To encourage people to back your project, you provide creative incentives like public recognition, prizes or event invitations.

Many of the project “creators” are musicians looking to fund a record, filmmakers trying to distribute their new documentary, or writers hoping to self-publish their first novel, but Kickstarter uses a broad definition of “creative” and many community-oriented projects have found success on the site.

Kickstarter is quick to point out that they are not an investment or lending site, but rather a “new form of commerce and patronage.” While backers may not be financial investors, per se, they often become personally invested, and are more likely to be fans, advocates, or even volunteers for the project in the future.

What do you think? Would you use a site like this to fund your great idea?

[This blog entry first appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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