11 August 2013 | 27 Comments
You’ve probably seen Kickstarter projects that have the following message near the bottom of the page:
Kicking It Forward is a pledge created by a Kickstarter creator (not Kickstarter the company) who wanted to give successful project creators a way to commit to giving back to others on Kickstarter.
This entry is not meant to rag on Kicking It Forward. I think their intentions are admirable, and they’re literally getting nothing out of it. They’re just trying to spread the idea that a successful Kickstarter creator can–and should–be a giver on Kickstarter, not just a taker. That’s a great mission.
I also have no issue with project creators who commit to kicking it forward. By all means, if that’s important to you, do it. But I’d encourage you to consider the following three reasons not to do so.
I’ll just come out and say it: No one cares if you’re kicking it forward. That will never, ever be the deciding factor for someone who is deciding to back your project. You know what might be a deciding factor? When they look over at your profile and see that you’ve backed 0 projects on Kickstarter. That speaks a lot louder than a Kicking It Forward icon.
Conversely, if you’ve backed 50 projects, that’s going to say a lot more about your generosity and support of dream projects (not to mention your existing knowledge of Kickstarter) than Kicking It Forward.
It’s Not Fair to Your Backers
To be clear, Kicking It Forward is not a commitment to spend 5% of the overall pledges collected on other projects. If that were the case, this would be a scathing blog entry against it.
Rather, they’re very clear with the following on their website: “This is only money that the creator earns as profit AFTER the project ships and AFTER they have paid their expenses. This is NOT a suggestion to invest money they received from people who invested into their project via Kickstarter.”
Good, right? No problems here. But…wait a minute. Why are we talking about profits? If you’re talking about profits, then you’re readily admitting that you’re overcharging backers from Day One. Now, I have no problem with project creators making money if they overfund. That’s how economies of scale work–the more you make, the less each unit costs, and you get to reap the benefits.
But I truly believe that profits don’t enter the equation until after you fund. Your project goal should be the bare minimum your project needs to exist, not the amount your project needs to exist AND for you to make a profit. The profit part comes later after your dream project becomes a reality.
So with Kicking It Forward, if you really want to do it, don’t do it from Day One. Wait until after you reach your funding goal.
It’s Not the Best Way to Kick It Forward
The greatest acts of kindness and generosity aren’t those that we broadcast to the world. When you help an old lady put away her shopping cart at the grocery store, you don’t shout to the world, “I just helped an old lady with her shopping cart!!!” No, you just do it, and you feel good about doing the right thing.
Kicking It Forward is the equivalent of shouting in the parking lot.
So instead of talking about supporting other Kickstarter projects, just do it. Back other projects. And don’t stop there. Write about your Kickstarter experience on your blog–share your knowledge with other creators. E-mail other creators words of encouragement. Be responsive if they ask you for your advice. Contribute to Kickstarter group on Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you truly believe in Kicking It Forward’s mission–to be a giver, not a taker–the best way to fulfill it is to to kick it forward your own way. Humbly help the old lady with her cart because you want to, not because you want an excuse to broadcast your generosity to the world.
What do you think? Can you think of a good example of a project creator who “kicked it forward” to other project creators on Kickstarter without formally Kicking It Forward? Let’s celebrate those project creators here.