Use Kickstarter to create a new community around your project

This post is part of a series ‘7 Things Artists Could Learn From Board Game Kickstarters‘ where I highlight some of the lessons artists and arts organisations could learn from the world of crowd-funded boardgames… KICKSTARTER_FOR_ARTISTS_Mousetrap_Patent << PART 2: Stop thinking of Kickstarter as a platform for donations

Use Kickstarter to create a new community around your project

One of the most striking differences between artists’ and boardgame Kickstarter campaigns are the number of comments, conversation and updates generated by the projects. Often artists’ projects have only a handful of comments and a small number of project updates, whereas with baordgame campaigns there can be hundreds of comments and interactions. I think this is a missed opportunity! In the most successful boardgame projects, there is an on-going conversation between the project creators and backers, and between backers from around the world. The sense of temporary community generated through this conversation creates an engaged community of interest and can be exciting to be involved in. This is also an opportunity for backers to ‘get to know’ you and the others who want the project to happen a bit better. Talking with other backers via the project comments means that people can share their excitement for the proposed project, building their emotional investment with it and even rallying together to help ensure a positive outcome.

There is a great post by Jamey Stegmaier about How to Create Community Through Conversation on Kickstarter which gives detailed pointers on how to achieve this.

The power of the crowd

When one of the projects I worked on looked like it might not hit its funding target in time, backers (who didn’t know each other prior to the campaign) created their own ‘backer swarm’ to help get others to back the project. In this way, there was a clear sense of people really getting behind the project because they wanted it to happen (and would be sad if it didn’t happen). When the project then hit its target (and went on to achieve stretch goals that the backer community were excited by), there was an increased sense of ownership and achievement for those backers who had put the extra effort in. For artists, it might also be useful to think about how you can allow your backers to influence the development of your project and the work produced. Think carefully about which areas of the project are/could be open for suggestions. Which details can be informed by your backers’ knowledge and expertise? How can you start to solicit peoples’ views, opinions and suggestions? Could backers help shape the course of a tour of your work / project, or help you reach new audiences?

How can your backers contribute to the success of your project?

In the case of boardgame campaigns, backers’ contributions to the extended conversation around the campaign includes blogs, reviews, user-generated rules translations, naming elements/characters within games, recommendations on social media, discussion on podcasts and live web tv shows. Identify where your backers can contribute to the development of your project (in non-monetary ways) and work out ways to encourage and reward this type of support.

  • Design stretch goals that your backers can and will be excited by and publish these when your campaign begins (rather than waiting until you have reached your funding target). This will help generate excitement about the potential of over-funding the project, which means more income for the project you are proposing.
  • Start telling people about your Kickstarter campaign before the campaign begins so they are excited to sign-up when it starts. You could also try out the technique suggested by as an interesting pre-campaign challenge to start to create a shared community concern or target.
  • Create content that your backers are going to want to share – this could include videos or images posted on Facebook or Twitter, avatars for people’s online profiles, or blog posts and project updates that are interesting, entertaining and fun.


PART 4: Develop arts projects where a Kickstarter campaign is an integral part rather than an afterthought >>

New to crowdfunding?
Check out my quick start guide to crowdfunding!!

Quick start crowdfunding beginners guide

Are you an artist or arts organisation looking for some help in shaping a successful crowdfunding campaign? Get in touch to arrange an online Helpout! I also run workshops for students, arts practitioners and arts organisations in creative approaches to crowdfundingcontact me for more details.

Rachel Dobbs is one half of LOW PROFILE, an artist, educator, tinkerer & freelance boardgame art director with Grublin Games… currently based in Plymouth, UK.


Add Yours →

Rachel: I’ve really been enjoying these posts! It sounds like you share a lot of my approaches and philosophies to Kickstarter, and I appreciate you linking to my blog. Keep up the good work! If there’s a topic I haven’t covered on my blog that you’d like to write about in the future as a guest post, feel free to contact me.

Hi Jamey!
Really glad that you like the series. Your site is a go-to source for me when thinking about all things Kickstarter (as it is for so many people) and hopefully these posts will open your writing and hard work up to a whole other community and readership. I will definitely get my thinking cap on for ideas for guest posts.

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