You know the feeling: a good friend of yours launches a Kickstarter and posts it on social media. Maybe he or she even e-mails or messages you the link to it. You want to help out but the only problem is you’re really struggling to pay the bills and don’t feel like you can spare the cash. You feel a bit guilty about not being able to help.
Not to worry. There are actually many good ways to help out someone’s Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any other type of crowdfunding campaign (even the personally oriented ones like on GoFundMe) that do not involve money. And they are not just incredibly easy to do, they’re all free (well, except for one method that will cost you just a buck).
My own Kickstarter for my book, Your Superhero Origin: Transform Suffering into Superpowers, launched recently and I know that unless you’ve done a crowdfunding project yourself, it’s hard to see how small actions like the things I suggest below can really help. But they do – in small ways but those small ways add up. This article is going to give you 9 incredibly easy ways to help anyone’s Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign.
Just remember: the key for a crowdfunding project, especially those on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, is taking action early. This is really one of the main factors of a campaign’s success, and there’s a lot of data out there backing this up. So if you know someone’s doing a crowdfunding project and you want to help, do the following things as early on as you can. However, anytime during the campaign is better than never!
1. E-mail the Kickstarter team about why you think the campaign is cool/important
I’ll start with the one that can potentially have the BIGGEST impact for a project if it works.
Those of you who visit Kickstarter might have noticed the “Project We Love” badges, campaigns that the Kickstarter team highlights as ones they think are particularly noteworthy. This can almost single-handedly make a campaign’s success.
Obviously, the more people bring a campaign to the Kickstarter staff’s attention, the higher the chances they’ll look at it and consider making it a “Project We Love.” So if you want to support someone’s Kickstarter and have the time to shoot a short e-mail (not too long, just a couple paragraphs) to the Kickstarter team about someone’s campaign and tell them why you think it’s worthy of their attention, you are doing something huge. And the more sincere your e-mail is, the more likely they’ll be moved to check out the campaign and consider it.
If you do this one, talk about the merits of the project itself and not about why the person doing the Kickstarter is a good person or anything like that because Kickstarter isn’t interested in charity and actively shuns it.
Here’s Kickstarter in their own words:
“If there’s a project you think is exceptional, and think we should highlight for the rest of the Kickstarter community, just let us know in the comments, or email email@example.com.”
Other crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo don’t have the “Projects We Love” feature but they will use the public’s feedback to assess which projects to feature on their homepages and search results. So this is still a useful technique to use no matter what the crowdfunding platform.
2. Share the Kickstarter link on social media
This one’s SO super easy and based on the success of an Indiegogo I did two years ago, it really does work! Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Google+, whatever you may use, sharing is king.
For Facebook, sharing on your own timeline is good, but don’t forget that you can also share links with groups and pages on Facebook that might be topically relevant somehow.
3. Comment when people post the Kickstarter link on Facebook
Here’s another super easy one. The more comments (and, to a lesser degree, ‘likes’) that a post on Facebook gets, the longer and higher up it stays in people’s news feeds. For a Kickstarter link this is especially crucial because Facebook’s algorithm’s give the lowest priority to links, and it gives the highest priority to photos and text-based status updates. To be seen by a decent number of people, comments are what give links a chance.
‘Likes’ are nice but it’s comments that really boost a shared link. It doesn’t even have to be a thoughtful or sincere comment. Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t know the difference. You might think that there’s no point making short, generic comments like “Good luck!” “Yay!” or “Awesome!” but in a situation like this it is actually very helpful because it bumps up the post and keeps it higher in people’s news feeds.
I know this sounds shallow but it’s just the nature of the Kickstarter game and those who play the game well, win – simple as that.
4. Comment on the actual Kickstarter project page
The # of comments on a Kickstarter campaign page is one of the several factors that Kickstarter’s algorithm uses to calculate a project’s viability, the others being # of backers, # of social media shares, and # of e-mails to the Kickstarter team about the project.
The same principle as the Facebook comments in Idea #3 above applies. Kickstarter doesn’t care if your comment is short or long, shallow or profound. It simply notes the # of comments and factors that into a project’s viability. So feel free to copy and paste your exact same comment from Facebook to Kickstarter and vice versa.
5. Pledge just $1
Okay, so this one’s not exactly free but it almost is.
This is for those who are very short on cash but still want to pitch in. Pledging even just $1 helps in terms of how Kickstarter’s algorithm calculates a project’s viability. It’s largely a numbers game, and a higher # of backers (regardless of how much they pledge) helps keep a campaign page higher up in Kickstarter’s search results and may even help get it picked as a “Project We Love” (see idea #1 above).
This increases the chance that random people will see a project and perhaps back it.
6. Use your blog or podcast (or ask someone who has a blog/podcast)
This one isn’t quite as super easy as it takes a bit more effort, but if you have a blog or podcast even just a quick shout-out for the Kickstarter project you want to support would help. Of course, a full article or interview, even a short one, would be even better!
7. Tap into your network
Know someone else with a blog, podcast or other media outlet who might be interested in doing a short post about your friend’s Kickstarter campaign or to interview the creator? Or do you know a rich person who likes backing Kickstarter projects? 🙂
Send them the project’s Kickstarter for them to check out or just introduce them to the project creator!
8. Follow the social media accounts for the Kickstarter project
Kickstarter creators will often have associated Facebook and/or Twitter pages for the project they’re trying to Kickstart where they’ll post news and updates. Following these pages will make it less likely you’ll miss any important announcements.
So for example, the following are are my own Kickstarter-related social media accounts:
9. Share the project link again near the middle or end of the campaign
Pretty much most projects, except for the crazily popular ones, will experience a lag during the middle and towards the end of the campaign. Most friends and family of the project creator who are willing to share probably already shared at the beginning. These are therefore good times to share again if you’re willing. If you had to choose between either the campaign’s middle or end I would say share again at the end as that would be the most critical time to make that final push.
So there you are. With the exception of #1 which admittedly would take a bit more time and effort, these are all super easy and super quick ways to help out your favorite people who are doing crowdfunding projects.