NOTE: This guide has been replaced by the far more detailed, useful and up to date Kickstarter Vs Indiegogo: The Ultimate Guide (2015 Edition with Free Fee Calculation Tool) . Check it out!

 

If you've heard about crowdfunding, then by now you've probably heard of the two heavyweights in the field, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. There are many Kickstarter alternatives, but as in most things there are a couple of behemoths and then after that the other alternatives to Kickstarter are very, very small attracting less projects and less backers.

So, how do you go about choosing which is right for you? In this article we'll go over the basic feature differences of both, and then look at the factors to consider so you can actually make an informed, and effective, decision for yourself.

 

Kickstarter

There are three main differences and a bunch of smaller ones with Kickstarter:

  1. “An all or nothing” funding model. In other words the funding goal gets reached, or the project founder gets nothing. While not always obvious, this is a good thing. We'll talk about why further down.

  2. Launching a project if you're outside the US is harder (but not impossible, as we talk about in our Kickstarter guide here).

  3. Kickstarter only funds “creative projects”, that is projects where one specific thing (film, game, book etc) will be made. No “fund my college tuition” or “kickstart my new business”.

 

IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo aims to be a more flexible site which allows people from around the world over longer periods of time for basically anything (not just creative works). Unfortunately, IndieGoGo has a number of challenges that weigh against these benefits, namely:

  1. They have a much smaller community of backers (think around 1/6th the size).

  2. There is much less “buzz” around them. Many journalists keep tabs on new projects coming out of Kickstarter looking for story ideas. Kickstarter projects come with a certain amount of credibility that IndieGoGo has yet to match.

  3. By avoiding the “all or nothing” model exclusively, backers have a much lower sense of urgency to fund projects. It becomes more like a donation, than something that makes a difference to whether the project lives or dies. This is HUGE, and massively underestimated.

As a general piece of advice, when comparing Kickstarter Vs IndieGoGo, it's worth going for Kickstarter if:

  • Your project is eligible (ie you're creating something specific)

  • You're reasonably confident you can rally the funds together within 60 days or less

  • You're in the US, or are willing to do the work to get US representation for your project.

 

All or Nothing”, Increases Chances You'll Get “All”.

At this point, it's worth talking a bit more about the “all or nothing” model. Most of the time when people see this, they subconsciously jump to looking straight at the “nothing” part. The idea of getting nothing sounds scary.

In reality though, this is both an assurance that you'll get the best chance of meeting your goal, and a protection for the following reasons:

  • A boatload of psychological research says that people do more to avoid loss, than they will to gain. The “All or Nothing” model makes failure more dramatic, raising the sense of responsibility for your project's goals being gained... or lost. This is a motivator for everyone involved.

  • “All or Nothing” means that any donation could be the one that “makes or breaks” a project's funding goal. Is it likely that someone's $1 backing is going to make the difference between a project getting funded or not? No, it's a very small chance... but it's dramatic, and people consistently exaggerate unlikely but dramatic events in their imagination.

  • All or nothing also subtly encourages backers to pledge more. After all, if they donate $200 there's a bigger chance that you wouldn't have made it “without them”.

  • “All or Nothing” takes away the fear of giving money to a project that will be a dud, because it guarantees social proof. Social proof is people's tendency to trust something more because other people do, too. Thus, as a backer, you're not going to get charged for anything unless a lot of other people agree with you. It's safer to pledge.


Remember, what makes “all or nothing” scary to project founders, is exactly what makes it so powerful in motivating backers to pledge. It's scary. It's dramatic. It shakes people out of their complacency.

Do you think it works? Kickstarter's meteoric rise, and statistics showing their success rates being 4 times Indiegogo's seems to suggest so. There are counterarguments though, such as the fact that Indiegogo accepts any project, unlike Kickstarter, which could skew it's numbers. We'd love to hear your thoughts now, in the comments below.

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