What is Kickstarter? We’re the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions



THE BASICS

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.

We believe that:

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.

• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

Top ↑

All-or-nothing funding?

Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands.

Why?

1. It's less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it's tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.

2. It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don't receive the support you want, you're not compelled to follow through. This is huge!

3. It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word.

Top ↑

Why do people support projects?

REWARDS! Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering smart, fun, and tangible rewards (products, benefits, and experiences).

STORIES! Kickstarter projects are efforts by real people to do something they love, something fun, or at least something of note. These stories unfold through blog posts, pics, and videos as people bring their ideas to life. Take a peek around the site and see what we're talking about. Stories abound.

Top ↑

Does Kickstarter take some percentage of ownership or intellectual property of things made through Kickstarter?

Absolutely not. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work.

Top ↑

Who can fund their project on Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is focused on creative projects. We're a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life.

The word “project� is just as important as “creative� in defining what works on Kickstarter. A project is something finite with a clear beginning and end. Someone can be held accountable to the framework of a project — a project was either completed or it wasn’t — and there are definable expectations that everyone can agree to. This is imperative for every Kickstarter project.

We know there are a lot of great projects that fall outside of our scope, but Kickstarter is not a place for soliciting donations to causes, charity projects, or general business expenses. Learn more about our project guidelines.

Top ↑

How do I start a project?

To start a project, go to the Start Your Project page and click the "Share Your Project" button. We'll ask some basic questions about your project. It shouldn't take more than a day or two for a member of our team to get back to you about your proposal, and if you've got a creative project that meets our guidelines, we're good to go.

Top ↑

PLEDGING

How do I pledge?

To pledge to a project, just click the green “Back This Project� button on any project page. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. Note that you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.

Top ↑

If I make a pledge, when is my card charged?

If the project you’re backing is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged. That's why we call them pledges.

Top ↑

If funding does not succeed do backers pay anything?

Nothing. If funding fails, all pledges are canceled and that's that.

Top ↑

What if I want to pledge anonymously?

We don't currently have an anonymous pledge feature. You are free to choose any username you wish, though, so you could anonymize that way if you would like. Otherwise, we hope you're okay with showing your name and support.

Top ↑

Is my pledge amount publicly displayed?

No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see your pledge amount.

Top ↑

If I make a pledge, what info does the project creator receive?

Project creators see your Kickstarter username, your pledge amount, and the reward you've selected. If funding succeeds we'll also give the project creator your email address.

Top ↑

Do I get notified if a project I'm backing succeeds?

We’ll send you an email when funding ends, no matter the outcome.

Top ↑

Do I have to pay with Amazon? Why can’t I use Paypal? Why can't Kickstarter just take my credit card info?

Kickstarter uses Amazon's Flexible Payments Service, which enables our all-or-nothing funding method. No other credit card processor currently supports our requirements. We're always talking with other companies and exploring other services, so expect more options in the future.

Top ↑

Can I pay with a check? Send cash by mail?

Sorry, Kickstarter only supports credit card payments through Amazon.

Top ↑

How can I change my credit card details before funding ends?

Visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.� At the very bottom of the next page, click “Change Payment Method.�

Top ↑

Can I cancel a pledge?

By pledging, you are committing to supporting that person’s project; canceling that commitment is discouraged. If you must cancel, visit the project page and click “Manage Your Pledge.� At the bottom of the next page you’ll see the “Cancel Pledge� button.

Top ↑

Are pledges tax deductible?

If a project creator has 501c3 status, then a pledge may be tax exempt. A project creator will likely tout their tax-exempt status if they have it. If you wish to inquire further, please contact the project creator directly via the "send message" button next to the creator’s name at the top of the project page.

Top ↑

How do I know if a project creator is who they say they are?

Perhaps you know the project creator, or you heard about the project from a trusted source.

Maybe they have a first-person video. That would be hard to fake. "Is it really U2?!" Well, it is if Bono's talking about the project.

Still not sure? Ask the project creator a question via the "send message" button next to the creator’s name at the top of the project page.

At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts.

Top ↑

A project I'm backing just succeeded and my credit card was declined. What do I do?

If your pledge was declined just login to Kickstarter and click the “Action Needed� system message on the top of your screen. It will redirect you to Amazon, where you can change your payment method. Alternately, we'll send you an email every 48 hours with a direct link to correct the issue. Don't delay, however: backers have seven days to correct payment issues before they are dropped from the project (and therefore no longer eligible to receive rewards).

Top ↑

Can people from outside the US pledge to projects?

Yes! Anyone, anywhere (with a major credit card) can pledge to Kickstarter projects.

Top ↑

I'm international and keep getting asked for a US address when pledging. What do I do?

If you are a non-US Amazon Mechanical Turk user you may experience a problem trying to pledge. We've alerted Amazon about this bug. Sorry this is annoying. Please view these instructions to pledge: https://www.jungledisk.com/secure/signup/mturk.aspx.

Top ↑

Amazon keeps asking me to verify my email when I pledge. Why?

You likely have an Amazon Business account. Email verification isn't required for pledging, however Amazon Business account holders must verify their email addresses before using Amazon Payments. There are simple step-by-step email verification instructions here.

Top ↑

STARTING A PROJECT

Are a funding goal and deadline required?

Yes. Every project has a funding goal (a dollar amount) and a time limit (from 1 - 90 days) set by the project creator. When the deadline is reached, there are either of two results:

1. Funding Successful: If a project has met or surpassed its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are instantly charged and funds go directly to the project creator. Project creators are then responsible for completing the project and delivering rewards as promised.

2. Funding Unsuccessful: If a project has NOT met its funding goal, all pledges are canceled. That's it.

Top ↑

Are rewards required?

Yes. See below for more.

Top ↑

Is an Amazon Payments account required to launch a project?

It is. We'll send you to Amazon to set-up your account when you start your first project.

Top ↑

Can I change my funding goal?

No. Once a project launches, the funding goal cannot be changed.

Top ↑

Can I change my deadline?

No. Once a project launches, the end date cannot be changed.

Top ↑

Can a project be edited after launching?

Yes, you can edit the following content after launching:

• Project description

• Video and image

• Rewards (add new ones or edit those not yet backed)

• Your profile

The only things that cannot be edited after launch are:

• The funding goal

• The project deadline

• Rewards that have already been selected by a backer

Top ↑

Can projects be edited after funding is completed?

No. Every project is preserved as it ended. Creators are encouraged to use project updates to add new information to the project's development.

Top ↑

Can I run more than one project at once?

There is no limit to how many projects someone can have simultaneously as long as each project meets our guidelines. However we generally discourage running more than one project at a time, as this can distract backers and split support. It's also vital for a project to be a sincere effort. More than one live project will likely dilute your attention and energy.

Top ↑

Can I split up funding for the same project into several projects for each stage?

If each stage of the project is distinct and there is ample time between them, raising funds in stages is doable. In general this is not something that we recommend, however. There are potential issues with backer fatigue (asking the same audience multiple times for support), and reward fulfillment — you are responsible for fulfilling the rewards from each project, so setting up a series of projects whose rewards can only be fulfilled upon completion of the final one may be problematic. If you’ve thought through these issues and feel confident in your plan, go for it. But definitely consider these questions first.

Top ↑

Can I submit more than one project for review?

No. We only allow one proposal at a time.

Top ↑

Can a project be deleted?

Not once it has been launched to the public. Projects remain accessible on Kickstarter, even if funding fails or funding is canceled. Transparency is important.

Top ↑

Can funding be canceled?

Yes. A project creator has the option to cancel funding. When funding is canceled, all pledges are immediately voided. Project creators and backers can continue to post on the project, however.

Top ↑

Can I retry my project if funding is unsuccessful?

Yes. You can always try again with a new goal. You’ll need to set your project up from scratch, but it can be essentially identical if you choose.

Top ↑

How do I know someone won't steal my idea?

Being open and sharing ideas is an essential part of Kickstarter. The platform is collaborative by nature, and is a powerful community-building tool for our creators. If you are unwilling to share information about your project with potential backers then Kickstarter probably isn’t the platform for your project.

Top ↑

I'm not in the US. Can I start a project on Kickstarter?

Kickstarter transactions are processed by Amazon Payments, which currently restricts the ability to start a project to people or entities with a US bank account, US address, major US credit/debit card, and US state-issued ID (drivers license).

We're working hard to open up to international project creators in the future. If you've been waiting, we really appreciate your patience.

Top ↑

Is there an age requirement to start a project?

Project creators must be 18 years or older. However, our policies do not prevent a person under 18 from creating a project under the supervision of a parent, as long as permitted by law. In this case, the parent or guardian must set up the Amazon Payments account (used to receive Kickstarter funds) in their name.

Top ↑

Can I route pledges received through Kickstarter through my 501(c)(3)?

Yes. If you are working with a nonprofit on your project and would like pledges to be tax-deductible, the nonprofit needs to set up the Amazon Payments account (used to receive Kickstarter funds) in their name.

Top ↑

Where can I find tips on running a successful Kickstarter project?

Lots of creators have posted great post mortems with insights on what it takes to run a successful project. They're scattered all over the web and referenced throughout our blog, but for starters, check out these great ones:

Art Space Tokyo (Publishing): http://craigmod.com/journal/kickstartup/

reMIND (Comics): http://www.remindblog.com/2010/10/14/grassroots-funding-with-kickstarter-com/

Glif (Design): http://www.therussiansusedapencil.com/post/2794775825/idea-to-market-in-5-months-making-the-glif

Lamp (Music): http://olganunes.com/2011/01/on-lamp-kickstarter-and.php

Top ↑

MANAGING YOUR PROJECT

What happens if a project reaches its funding goal before time expires?

Nothing really. Projects continue to accept pledges until the funding deadline. There is no option to end a project early.

Top ↑

Can projects raise more money than their goal?

Yes.

Top ↑

Is there a maximum for how much a project can raise?

No. You can see our most funded projects in the Hall of Fame.

Top ↑

How does a project get recommended?

What gets featured on Kickstarter is an editorial decision by our staff. We pay particularly close attention to fun projects that use the system creatively, have compelling videos and rewards, and have a nice head of momentum behind them.

Top ↑

If a project changes during the funding process, how should I inform my backers?

Creators should absolutely inform backers of changes to a project in process. If a change needs to be communicated, the project description may need editing, and creators should also post a project update or send a group message to their backers.

Top ↑

If I am unable to complete my project as listed, what should I do?

If you fundamentally change your project, are unable to fulfill the promises made to backers, or decide to abandon the project for any reason, you are expected to cancel funding. A failure to do so could result in damage to your reputation or even legal action on behalf of your backers.

Top ↑

I'm collaborating on my project with others. Can we all be listed as the project creator?

Each project supports only one account owner, but you can edit your user name from your account page.

Top ↑

I pledged to my own project from another account, and now my Amazon Payments account is canceled?!

Warning! Credit card rules forbid project creators from paying themselves. Any pledges made by a project creator to themselves may cause Amazon to cancel a project creator’s Amazon account, making it impossible to receive or remove funds.

While Kickstarter prevents project creators from backing their own projects from the same Kickstarter account, Amazon will detect if the project creator uses a new Kickstarter account and/or a new Amazon account to make the pledge. Amazon looks for the credit card info as well as other primary information to determine if a party is attempting to pay itself. This is not an Amazon-specific policy — this type of transaction is considered an attempt to create a "cash advance" and is forbidden by all credit card companies.

Please note that Amazon may not detect this action until a project succeeds and they attempt to collect funds. While the project will appear to succeed on Kickstarter, Amazon will later suspend any Amazon Payments accounts controlled by the project creator, making it impossible to receive/remove funds.

Top ↑

What happens if a backer's credit card is declined?

If a credit card is declined, an email is sent to the backer every 48 hours with a link to fix the issue. The backer has seven days to correct the problem. If they do not correct the payment during that seven day period, they are dropped as backers from the project and are no longer eligible to receive rewards. You can view the status of all your backers on your Backer Report.

Top ↑

Why doesn't the number of backers to my project match the number who have selected rewards?

Backers have the option to not receive a reward at all. Some of your backers likely have chosen this option. They also have the option to choose a reward at a lower tier than the amount pledged.

Top ↑

REWARDS

Are projects required to offer rewards?

Yes. A series of creative and engaging backer rewards is essential. Rewards are typically things produced by the project itself. They can be as simple as a download for $5 or as elaborate as a hot-air balloon ride. It's up to the project creator to create, price, and fulfill their rewards. Here's a blog post with thoughts on pricing for more.

Top ↑

Who creates the rewards for each project?

Project creators sculpt their own rewards, including pricing and quantities. It's completely up to them.

Top ↑

What can be offered as a reward?

Rewards are typically items produced by the project itself — a copy of the CD, a print from the show, a limited edition of the comic. Most projects also offer creative experiences: a visit to the set, naming a character after a backer, a personal phone call. Anything that brings backers into the creative process is a great approach.

There are some limitations on what can be offered as a reward. Investment and loan solicitations are forbidden, as are lotteries, raffles, sweepstakes, and coupons/discounts on future goods.

Top ↑

Who is responsible for making sure project creators deliver what they promise?

Every creator is responsible for fulfilling the promises of their project. Because projects are primarily funded by the friends, fans, and communities around its creator, there are powerful social forces that keep creators accountable. Creators are also encouraged to post regular updates about the progress of their project post-funding — communication goes a long way.

Top ↑

As a backer, how will project creators get my info (address, size, etc.) to deliver rewards?

Project creators will send you an email survey to request any info they need to deliver you and your fellow backers’ rewards, such as your mailing address or other details.

Surveys are sent only after a project has been successfully funded. Some creators send surveys immediately, others wait until they’re ready to deliver rewards. If you think you might have missed a survey email, please log in to your Kickstarter account to check — you’ll see a notification at the top of the site for any missed surveys.

Top ↑

As a backer I'd like an update on my reward's status. Who should I talk to?

The first step would be to check the project updates, where creators often post news about the status of rewards. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can contact the creator directly to inquire through the "send message" button next to the creator’s name at the top of the project page.

Top ↑

Is there a minimum or maximum for how much a reward can cost?

Rewards can be priced anywhere from $1 to $10,000.

Top ↑

Is there a way to limit the quantity of a reward?

Yes. Rewards can be limited to a certain available number.

Top ↑

How can I get my backers' information (shirt size, mailing address) to fulfill rewards?

Once your project is successfully funded, you can create surveys (from your Backer Report) to request any info you need to deliver backers’ rewards, such as their mailing address or other details.

Responses will be listed next to each backer’s name on your Backer Report pages, and you’ll also be able to download Excel-compatible (csv) spreadsheets.

Don’t worry about gathering your backers' info before then! If backers are curious, please let them know that you’ll follow up when you're ready to deliver their rewards.

Top ↑

I'm having trouble saving my rewards — how do I save them?

Are you by any chance clicking the “Add Reward� button after inputting your reward? Clicking this actually creates a new reward tier that causes an error when left empty. To add rewards, click “Add Reward� just once and fill in the info. To save, click the green “Save� button at the bottom of the project edit page.

Top ↑

FEES

What fees does Kickstarter charge?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter will apply a 5% fee to the funds raised. If funding isn't successful, there are no charges.

Top ↑

Does Amazon charge any fees?

Yes. When a project is successful, Amazon will apply credit card processing fees, which work out to roughly 3-5%. For details on how the fee is calculated, please view the Amazon Payments fee details.

Top ↑

Does it cost money to list a project on Kickstarter?

No, starting a project is free.

Top ↑

PROJECT MEDIA

What's the allowed file size for video?

Videos must be 200MB or less and one of the following file types: MOV, MPEG, AVI, MP4, 3GP, WMV, FLV

Top ↑

Is a video required to launch?

No, but videos make a project infinitely more compelling, so we highly recommend that you include one!

Top ↑

Can I upload my video after I launch?

Yes.

Top ↑

Any tips for shooting great videos?

Videos make projects infinitely more compelling, and you don’t have to be a video expert to make a good one. Simply be personal and talk about your project. Put yourself in front of the camera for at least a moment so that people know who you are; making that personal connection is key. Show people examples of your work and use any fun visuals you can think of.

No matter how bare-bones or creative you want to get, don't forget the basics:

1. Introduce yourself

2. Tell your story

3. Ask for people's support (i.e., their money...)

4. Tell people what they'll get for their money (i.e., your rewards)

5. Say thank you!

There are a million different ways to tell your story. Have fun with it! You can spend days shooting and editing, or you can just knock one out with a couple friends on a Saturday. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be you.

Top ↑

Why is my video out of sync / grainy / not uploading properly?

Video can be a tricky beast, and it's often a matter of
trial and error to get a video to export optimally. We recommend trying
different file formats, compressions, and export qualities until you can
get the right size and quality combination that works best.

Top ↑

What's the ideal video encoding?

On Windows, use WMV format. On Mac, use H.264. In both cases, the key variable is the “bit rate,� so look for that box. If it’s measured in kilobits per second (kbps), try 1500 to start. If it’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps), try 1.5. If the file is too big: Make that number smaller. If the quality seems bad: Make it bigger.

Top ↑

What's the allowed file size for images?

Images must be 10MB or less, and one of the following file types: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP

Top ↑

Can I upload more than one image?

Each project can have only one primary image.

Top ↑

Where do I upload my image and video?

Media is uploaded on the Project Edit page. Note that you cannot upload media in a proposal; the project must first be accepted.

Top ↑

Why are the images in my project description not showing up?

You can include images in your project description, but they need to first be hosted on another website — like Flickr, Photobucket, or your personal blog or website. Just click on the Image button in the text editor and paste in a link to the photo. Make sure the URL you pasted in ends with an image file extension, like .jpg or .png. If you have trouble finding the right URL, just right click on the image and select "Copy Image Location."

Top ↑

Can I use my video as the project image?

No, you need to upload an image file to launch. But if you like your
video's main image, you can try taking a screenshot of it and uploading
that.

Top ↑

Can I embed media?

Yes, you can embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo and music from Soundcloud in both your project description and updates. However, you cannot embed your main project video; you must upload the original video file.

Top ↑

Can I delete my project image?

No, but you can replace it! Before you launch or while your project is live, just re-upload a new image over the one you have.

Top ↑

Can I delete my project video?

Yes, and you can upload a new one, as long as your project hasn't ended yet.

Top ↑

PROJECT UPDATES

What are project updates?

"Project Updates" is our name for each project's blog. Project creators use updates to keep their backers informed on the development of the project. Some creators may post ten updates a day, others may do it rarely, but it's the best way to keep backers informed of a project's progress.

Creators have the option to make each post publicly viewable or exclusive to backers. An exclusive update allows you to communicate privately with backers as a group.

Top ↑

How should project updates be used?

Project updates can transform projects from simple funding efforts to stories that backers (and other spectators) will eagerly follow. Let backers and spectators be flies on the wall as you make decisions and pursue your goal.

Top ↑

What media types are allowed in updates?

You can post updates with video, audio, and images — and you should!

Top ↑

How will my backers know I posted a project update?

Project updates are directly emailed to backers when the update is posted.

Top ↑

AMAZON PAYMENTS (CREATORS)

How do I register to receive funds?

During the project creation process we’ll send you to Amazon Payments to set-up your account. You can register to receive funds using an existing Amazon Payments account, or you can sign up for a new one. It’s vital that you remember this information as you will need it later to withdraw your funds.

At the bottom of the project edit page there’s a blue “Register to Receive Funds� button. Clicking that will take you through the process. Note that you must fully complete this registration to launch your project.

Top ↑

How do I verify my bank account?

For steps on how to verify your bank account, see the middle section of our Amazon help page.

Top ↑

How do I verify my email address?

When creating your Amazon Payments account, Amazon sent an email with a link to verify your email address. Amazon will not process transactions until that email address has been verified. For steps on how to very your email address, see the top section of our Amazon help page.

Top ↑

I'm having problems verifying my account with Amazon. What do I need to do?

For instructions on the three issues that can cause an Amazon account to be unverified, visit our Amazon help page. Note that when fixing verification issues, you must log-in to the exact same account used when creating your project.

Top ↑

I’m using a corporate bank account and Amazon has informed me that I must fax them a bank statement to be verified. Is this true?

Yes, this is a requirement by Amazon Payments.

Top ↑

If my project is successfully funded how do I receive my money?

If funding succeeds, funds go directly from backers' credit cards to the project creator's Amazon Payments account, where they are held until the creator withdraws them.

Amazon will hold funds for 14 days after payments are collected. Once this hold is released, project creators can transfer funds to their bank account (which can take 5-7 days).

(Note: Amazon Payments users with a six-month history of receiving credit card payments can apply to Amazon for immediate withdrawals.)

Top ↑

ACCOUNT SETTINGS

How can I change my profile name?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your profile page.

Top ↑

How can I change the email address associated with my account?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your account page.

Top ↑

How do I adjust which emails I receive?

Make sure you’re logged in to Kickstarter and go to your notifications page.

Top ↑

I forgot my password, how do I log in?

You can request a password reset at the bottom of the login page.

Top ↑

How can I log in using my Facebook account?

You can sign in with Facebook using the Facebook login button on the login page.

Top ↑

How do I disconnect my Facebook account?

Log in to Kickstarter through Facebook, then go to your account settings to disconnect from Facebook and set a password on your account page.

Top ↑

How do I delete my account?

Your account can be deleted from your account page. Warning: this is not reversible!

Top ↑

GENERAL

Is there a widget that can be put on my own site to promote a project?

Yes. You can find it right underneath the project's video/image in the share section: "Grab the widget."

Top ↑

Do projects have RSS feeds?

Each project has an RSS feed of its project updates. You can find it in the project's share section. (Note that backer-only updates are not included.)

There’s also an overall RSS feed of Recommended projects, which you can subscribe to here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feed.atom

Top ↑

Where is Kickstarter on the web?

You can find Kickstarter on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Follow us!

Top ↑

How can I contact Kickstarter?

There's a "Contact" button in the right sidebar of this page.

Top ↑

Can I download the Kickstarter logo?

Of course! Just right-click and save-as the following files: PNG (bitmap) and EPS (vector)

Top ↑

Who is Kickstarter?

Perry Chen (Brooklyn, NY), Yancey Strickler (NY, NY), Charles Adler (Brooklyn, NY), Lance Ivy (Walla Walla, WA), Cassie Marketos (Brooklyn, NY), Fred Benenson (NY, NY), Andrew Cornett (Brooklyn, NY), Brett Camper (Brooklyn, NY), Cindy Au (Brooklyn, NY), Daniella Jaeger (Brooklyn, NY), Cedric Howe (Brooklyn, NY), Samuel Cole (Brooklyn, NY), Kendel Ratley (Brooklyn, NY), Mike McGregor (Brooklyn, NY), Justin Kazmark (NY, NY), Meaghan O'Connell (Brooklyn, NY), Tieg Zaharia (Queens, NY), Elisabeth Holm (Brooklyn, NY), Jed Meade (Brooklyn, NY), Meg Frisch (NY, NY), Molly Surno (Brooklyn, NY), Jared Cohen (Brooklyn, NY).

We are lovingly advised by Sunny Bates (NY, NY) and Andy Baio (Portland, OR).

Home base is NYC. Check out our team page!

Top ↑

Learn more about starting your own Kickstarter project.


Contact
Contact

Need help? Get in touch.

Have a press inquiry?

We want to hear from you.



Icon_blog
The Kickstarter Blog

Interviews, updates, and tips from the Kickstarter team.