Kickstarter Revisted

| May 26, 2010

In a previous Trends in Ed post, I mentioned how a group of students were using Kickstarter to get funding for their project. It turns out that the social fundraising tool the students are using might be even more interesting the project itself.  Kickstarter, a community fundraising site for creative projects, allows investors to contribute as little as $1 to a project. This may not seem like much, but the power of many can lead to big investments. At the time of this post, for example, the Diaspora project has a total of $189,186 pledged from 5,892 backers (1892% of their original goal), and the money keeps coming.  The Diaspora team offers unique incentives to major investors, such as access to the nightly build server and a free computer with the Diaspora server installed.

This site has great potential for use by members of the higher education community. Since it can be difficult to find large grants for creative projects, Kickstarter can be used to get seed money for student and faculty projects that may be not be a good fit for traditional grants or university funding. As an added bonus: less red tape. Kickstarter-funded projects have short turn around and the team members only have to answer to their investors. I can see this tool being used to get more small projects off the ground, making it easier for members of the higher education community to explore more diverse, niche projects without having to rely upon university approval for funding. Some projects of interest and their descriptions are listed below.

Designing Obama ($84,613.81 pledged): The Design Director of the Obama campaign has collaborated with artists and designers to create a book of art & design from the historic campaign.

Reading with Pictures:Getting Comics into Schools and Schools into Comics ($14,970 pledged): Reading With Pictures is a newly-formed nonprofit that – with your help – is going to utterly revolutionize the role of comics in education. We’re going to work with academics to cultivate groundbreaking research into the proper role of comics in education. We’re going to collaborate with cartoonists to produce exceptional graphic novel content for scholastic use. Most importantly, we’re going to partner with educators to develop a system of best practices for integrating comics into their curriculum.

Battle of Brooklyn($25,506.50 pledged): Battle of Brooklyn chronicles a six year community fight against a massive real estate development that uses eminent domain to take people’s homes.