Kickstarter Lesson #138: Should You Hire Someone Else to Run Your Crowdfunding Project for You?

19 February 2015 | 14 Comments

The answer is usually–but not always–no. No, you should not hire someone else to run your crowdfunding campaign for you.

It’s not a matter of ethics or my personal philosophy or anything like that. Rather, I believe that crowdfunding projects have the greatest chance of success if the crowdfunder is the same person as the creator.

I realized this a few years ago after Euphoria overfunded on Kickstarter. People started asking me to run their campaigns for them. I was flattered by the offer, but something held me back from doing so.

It took me a while to figure out what that something was. Then it hit me: Crowdfunding is largely about shared passion. The creator has a passion for the thing they’re trying to create, and their backers share that passion with them.

The most effective crowdfunding campaigns take that passion and escalate it during the project through backer engagement, polls, social media, etc.

You, the creator, are the most passionate person about your creation. Because of that, you are the best prospect to share that passion through crowdfunding.

You can’t hire passion.

You can hire help if you need it, especially if your project exceeds your wildest expectations. You can form partnerships so all the pressure isn’t on you. And you can seek volunteers among your biggest fans to represent you in times and places you cannot appear.

For the vast majority of projects, hiring someone to run the project while you sit back and do your thing is a mistake. I think it significantly decreases your chances of successfully funding or overfunding.

You might wonder how this relates to companies that use crowdfunding for products designed by others. Take Between Two Cities, our upcoming Kickstarter project. It’s designed by Ben Rosset and Matthew O’Malley…neither of those names are “Jamey Stegmaier.”

The thing is, Ben and Matthew didn’t hire me to run a crowdfunding project. Rather, I hired them. I signed the rights to their brilliant game because I felt as passionate about it as I feel about my own designs. It’s a game I wish I had designed.

That’s why I’ve spent the last 5 months developing the game with Ben and Matthew, balancing every little aspect of it and making sure every decision point in the game is interesting, fun, and intuitive. I’m personally invested in the project, and Stonemaier is financially invested in it.

On February 25, I’ll turn to Kickstarter to see if others share my passion for Between Two Cities. And sure, Ben and Matthew will be active in the comments, but I’ll be there too, as I really look forward to talking with people about the game and the various ideas they have for expansions (and for one element we’ve been saving for backer input).

Crowdfunding is a lot of work, but if you choose to go that route, I think you’ll find an immense amount of joy and satisfaction in it. Your chances of success will be the highest if you run the project and are very actively involved in it instead of hiring someone else.

main tokens
7 of the city tokens in Between Two Cities.


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14 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #138: Should You Hire Someone Else to Run Your Crowdfunding Project for You?

  1. I think that unless you’re trying to raise a one-time very large sum of money, and you need all the publicity and help you can get (i.e. you’re short on time but not short on money) – hiring someone to do the work for you will cost you more in the long run.

    Back in my day job, we just started a new project a few months ago. We looked at this project thinking it’s going to be a walk in the park. Looking back at it I don’t know what we were thinking…
    It was in many regards a colossal failure, only barely breaking even. Still, we gained so much knowledge doing it ourselves that it was well worth it. In fact, we decided that from now on we will move more of the marketing and data analysis to our in-house department so that we can learn even more about our projects. This way, even if we suffer a few hiccups in the short term, we will gain knowledge, connections, experience and confidence in the long term.

    If creating things is your passion and crowdfunding can help you do that – then it’s worth doing yourself even if it means failing a few times to learn the ropes.

  2. Hi Jamey,

    I have been debating whether or not to hire someone to run our upcoming Kickstarter or not. But this blog post makes totally sense that I should be the one running it. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Is it worth hiring a firm to manage the Kickstarter primarily for the exposure they can provide? My team and I would still be very active in the process, but I would image the reach that the company could possibly provide would be worth it. Any thoughts?

    1. Any exposure a firm gives to your project is going to be generic–I don’t know anyone who excitedly follows those firms to see what they manage. Conversely, I bet you have people who are passionate about what you’re creating, and that number can grow significantly if you engage them.

  4. I take the point of view anything I can do/ or can learn to do, I will do it. Anything I can’t do I’ll hire someone to do it. As far as running a Kickstarter, I believe I can learn to do it (especially with your great info).

  5. Jamey,

    Your article proved most prescient, as I recently read a post by a fledgling game designer who had asked James Mathe for some assistance, who in-turn steered him to (I believe) his site, called Kickin’ It Games (or something to that effect). The point here is that James and his team will certainly aid, assist, and guide a would-be Kickstarter creator on the road to (hopefully) success, but as James emphatically states on the site and you’ve rather eloquently expressed it here…the campaign belongs to the creator. The font of all wonder and passion for the very thing for which they’re requesting financial help. Anyway, great post!


    1. Joe: That’s a great point from James that the campaign belongs to the creator. I like that Kickin’ It Games might help a creator set up the project and guide them a bit, but they leave the actual crowdfunding in the hands of the creator. That sense of ownership goes a long way.

  6. One thing you notice with many projects is there is a clear and massive difference between a project that is a labour of love and one that where the person can’t even be bothered to do any research into consumer behaviour or marketing. Xia for example would be on the high end of being able to see this is actually one’s passion, yet there are so many others which make you cringe – ie 1 crappy image and five lines of text and no updates for a whole month do not sell a product.

  7. Great article and looking forward to Between Two Cities. I’m actually working with David MacKenzie from Game Designers Clubhouse to run my KS campaign. I felt that he had much more experience running them and has more time to dedicate to the people that pledge. But he’s also passionate about the game since he has helped shape it in significant ways. So, I suppose we’re in a unique position.

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