The Kickstarter Blog

We can all help the UN Refugee Agency relieve a global crisis.

Two weeks ago, the White House reached out to us with an idea: what if you could use Kickstarter to help the millions of refugees seeking safety in the Middle East and Europe?

We immediately told them yes — and at the White House’s invitation, Kickstarter is working with the UN Refugee Agency to raise money and deliver aid to those in need of it. We’ve all seen the images of people fleeing for safety, on foot and in boats, with nowhere to go and precious few resources. It’s not a crisis that can be solved overnight, but the White House, the United Nations, and Kickstarter all believe that a strong outpouring of support can provide crucial assistance for people fleeing their homes and risking their lives to find a safer future.

To learn more about how we can provide that support, just visit this campaign. It’s not a typical Kickstarter project. There’s no all-or-nothing funding goal. The rewards are all about giving, not getting. And we’ll be donating 100% of our usual fee to support these aid efforts. Most days, this site is a home for people working together to create new things, but this campaign is about something else: working together to bring the most basic of necessities to people who need them dearly. Even a little support can give a family dry clothes, fresh water, or a place to sleep — those “small” things that become everything as soon as you’ve lost them.

We’d love your help.

Turning Students Into Makers

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

People are getting more and more into making things. From the White House to the coast of Australia, there’s excitement about opening up access to high-tech tools that can give physical shape to new ideas. And the maker movement is changing education as well, because making is a terrific way to learn.

This is why we’re so excited about our new partnership with Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which is helping Pittsburgh-area schools run Kickstarter projects to fund their own makerspaces — a program that the museum wants to turn into a national model. It’s the first time we’ve supported a program like this.

With input from our team, ten schools and districts launched projects this week, looking to raise about $100,000 in total. The Burgettstown Area School District, for instance, wants to bring cutting-edge tools to a rural area where they’ve never been available, and the Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5 public school wants to transform an outdoor space into a maker-centered learning zone. You can see the full list of projects here. Pittsburgh has a long history of making and innovation, so it makes perfect sense as a testbed for a new approach to funding these kinds of educational resources.

Since we added a subcategory for makerspaces last summer, we’ve seen it fill up with great projects from Massachusetts, Virginia, Georgia, and far beyond. But we’re especially excited by the idea of students having access to makerspaces right inside their own schools. When we became a Benefit Corporation this month, we put the advancement of social good at the core of our company goals. And these projects from Pittsburgh are our kind of social good. They’re all about giving students the tools they need to start tinkering, hacking, and creating.

Join the movement by supporting these projects! Better still, take a look at your own local schools, and the future makers somewhere inside them — do they have the resources they need?

Hang out with us!

For the past few months, we’ve been hosting weekly Q&A sessions with creators representing projects from across the worlds of design, film, music, and more. Some highlights? Chef Carla Hall dished tips on baking biscuits and running a stellar campaign, and Pavan Bapu, the co-founder of Gramovox, explained how creators can craft a compelling story around what they’re creating.

Creator Hangouts are hosted every Wednesday at 1PM EST via Google Hangouts. Anyone can join in, ask questions, or sit back and learn from people who are just plain great at making stuff.

Below you’ll find some advice that creators shared during these chats, along with the schedule for upcoming hangouts. If you miss a Creator Hangout, we post the recordings here so you can watch and learn at your leisure.

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Kickstarter is now a Benefit Corporation

Kickstarter Inc is no more. We’re now Kickstarter PBC — a Public Benefit Corporation. We’re thrilled to share this news, and we’d love to take a minute to tell you exactly what it means.

Until recently, the idea of a for-profit company pursuing social good at the expense of shareholder value had no clear protection under U.S. corporate law, and certainly no mandate. Companies that believe there are more important goals than maximizing shareholder value have been at odds with the expectation that for-profit companies must exist ultimately for profit above all.

Benefit Corporations are different. Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders. Radically, positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals.

Kickstarter is excited to join a growing list of forward-thinking organizations — like Patagonia and This American Life — that have taken the big step to become a Benefit Corporation. While only about .01% of all American businesses have done this, we believe that can and will change in the coming years. More and more voices are rejecting business as usual, and the pursuit of profit above all.

If you want to see what we think is important, you can find a link to our Benefit Corporation charter here. We’ve spelled out a specific list of values and commitments we’ll live by: We renew our longstanding commitment to arts and culture. We declare how we plan to conduct ourselves in situations that are often swayed by profit motives. And we newly commit to donate 5% of annual post-tax profits to arts education and organizations fighting inequality. Every year, we’ll release an assessment of how we’re performing on the commitments we’ve made.

There was not a single dissenting vote by a Kickstarter shareholder to re-incorporate as a Benefit Corporation. We’re once again grateful for the support and partnership we’ve had from this group of friends, investors, and current and former team members. Thank you all!

From Kickstarter’s inception, we’ve focused on serving artists, creators, and audiences to help bring creative projects to life. Our new status as a Benefit Corporation hard-codes that mission at the deepest level possible to guide us, and future leaders of Kickstarter.

To all the creators and backers who have helped make Kickstarter what it is today — we’re excited to keep working with you, and helping new creative projects come to life as Kickstarter PBC.

Thank you,

Yancey Strickler
Kickstarter Cofounder/CEO

Perry Chen
Kickstarter Founder/Chairman

Charles Adler
Kickstarter Cofounder

Studying Kickstarter

In just six years, more than 250,000 ideas have sought community and existence through Kickstarter. Some never got out of the gate. Many did. There have been Academy Award and GRAMMY wins; deals with book publishers, record labels, movie studios, and tech companies; tens of thousands of performances and concerts; and millions of rewards in backers’ mailboxes.

The Kickstarter community plays a meaningful role in stimulating the creative economy. But how meaningful? And in what ways? These are things we want to better understand.

Over the last several months, Kickstarter has been collaborating with a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania to explore this further. Professor Ethan Mollick has been studying Kickstarter independently for several years, and with our support, he’s now created two surveys designed to produce a clearer picture of the outcomes of projects on Kickstarter, and the impact they have on culture and the economy.

We have recently begun to reach out to you, the Kickstarter community, with an invitation to take these surveys. One is for a sample of project creators. The other is for a sample of project backers. If you are a recipient of one of these surveys, we hope you take the time to participate. Your insights will play a very important role in helping all of us better understand the impact of the Kickstarter community, and what it means for creative communities around the world. And later in the year we will share what he’s learned.

You can learn more about the surveys and Professor Mollick’s research here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out:

Announcing the 2015 Kickstarter Film Fest!

Not just Brooklyn. Not just L.A. For the first time ever, we’re bringing the annual Kickstarter Film Festival to 32 theaters around the U.S.! It’s our biggest festival yet, and we can’t wait to show you another selection of amazing, independent films that were made with Kickstarter. It’s one night only, so clear October 15 on your calendar and head this way to RSVP at a theater near you. (It’s free!) 

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The Process: Making Deviled Eggs with Leanne Brown

Leanne Brown's massively successful Kickstarter project Good and Cheap is a cookbook for people with very tight budgets. Brown's project, which she ran on a get-one-give-one model, became the most-funded cookbook ever on Kickstarter (an honor it still holds!), and she ended up donating over 12,000 copies of the book to individuals and families in need through organizations across the US and Canada. You can get a print copy or a PDF download at her site here. We asked Brown if she'd share a recipe from Good and Cheap so we can get a taste (pun intended) — she came back at us with eight variations of deviled eggs.

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