New crowdfunding record for Kickstarter food project campaign
In my February TEDxManhattan talk on financing sustainable food businesses, I mentioned that fellow-speaker Britta Riley’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Windowfarms project had raised $28,205. At the time, that was a record for any project in the food category. Since then, four more food projects have raised more than that (check out the most funded Kickstarter food projects here).
Britta and her Windowfarms team just hit a new Kickstarter food project record, upping the ante into six-figure territory: their most recent campaign raised a total of $257,307 from 1,577 backers. This is a classic example of using Kickstarter to pre-sell a product that hasn’t actually been manufactured yet, and they did an excellent job assigning juicy rewards for a variety of amounts pledged to the campaign. And they’re covering an amazing combination of causes: to get people growing food in their own homes, while using recycled materials (which keep waste out of landfills), supporting green manufacturing, and adding mid-level, skilled jobs in the US. (Britta explains the latter two in this video.)
Britta offered several great tips for the Finance for Food book‘s chapter on launching a successful crowdfunding campaign… in the meantime, you can check out this blog post for some more abbreviated advice, and browse my curated page of Kickstarter food projects that solve social and environmental problems.
Don’t forget that Kickstarter isn’t the only online crowdfunding platform, and you might find another that would be more appropriate for your project! IndieGoGo, for instance, is another platform, and one that employs a “keep-what-you-raise” policy, rather than Kickstarter’s “all-or-nothing.” This means that if you don’t raise your entire goal with IndieGoGo by the time your campaign is over, you still collect whatever you did manage to raise. (Here are some successful food projects that used IndieGoGo‘s platform.) Dean Family Farm just learned the hard way what happens when an otherwise compelling project sets a Kickstarter fundraising target that is way too high: they collected none of the money that people had pledged to their campaign.
In closing, I should mention that the term “crowdfunding” itself can be a bit confusing. Some people use it to refer to these types of online campaigns where you raise GIFT money from many individuals that do not expect any financial return in exchange for their gift. Other people use “crowdfunding” to refer to situations in which you raise small amounts of INVESTMENT dollars from many people who do expect a financial return on their investment, and I cover this in the Finance for Food book as well. Attorney Jenny Kassan — who is helping with the legal portions of the Finance for Food book — recently wrote a very comprehensive blog post on the topic if you want to learn more.