IndieGoGo vs. Kickstarter – And the Crowdfunding Platform Winner Is…

    I have a number of my friends in the music and film biz that are looking to raise money for their projects and have decided to give online crowdfunding a shot by using Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. From the surface both platforms appear the same – they provide artists/inventors/creators with the opportunity to request online donations for their project, while simultaneously raising awareness about their art (why hadn’t I thought that?). Still, there are key differences in these crowdfunding platforms that ultimately may affect whether you, as an artist, are successful in your online crowdfunding efforts.


    What Is It - “A Collaborative Way to Fund Ideas.” Ultimately, IndieGoGo wants to bring people together to take part in funding an idea to fruition. IndieGoGo’s colorful homepage features information on a variety of creative projects that are seeking funding. The homepage also showcases the site’s most popular projects, as well as those that are nearing the end of their fundraising cycle.

    How It Works -

    1) Decide how much money you need to raise and set a goal ( even if you don’t reach your goal, you keep all of the money raised minus a IndieGoGo fee. The fee is 9% on every dollar raised if you don’t reach your goal and 4% on every dollar raised if you do reach your goal. For example, if your goal is $3500 and you raise $2000, your fees will be $2000 x 9% = $180; if your goal is $3500 and you hit your goal, your fees will be $3500 x 4% = $140)

    2) Decide how long it may take you to reach your goal (can be up to 120 days)

    3) Post a project and create a pitch

    3.5) Offer gifts and perks to donors based on how much they contribute

    4) Share your pitch with others

    Kickstarter Logo


    What Is It - “(A New Way To) Fund & Follow Creativity.” Kickstarter provides artists with a platform that helps them to fund their projects through online fundraising, while giving everyone the opportunity to discover projects that may interests and inspire them. Kickstarter’s homepage showcases a variety of creative projects that span the arts, food, technology, and other. To note, Kickstarter indicates that its platform is not for “charity projects, raising funds for business expenses or having people fund your life.” In other words, you NEED to have a set project in mind with a definitive goal, and the funds raised should be targeted for that project.

    How It Works -

    1) Decide how much money you need to raise and set a goal (Kickstarter’s platform provides an “all-or-nothing” proposition meaning if you reach your goal, you get all of the money raised minus a 5% fee on every dollar that you raise. For example, if your goal is $3500 and you raise $3500, your fee will be $175. However, if you do not reach your goal, you get a pat on the back for your efforts – no money)

    2) Decide how long it will take you to reach your goal

    3) Post a creative project and create a pitch (You need to have a US bank account and address to post a project and receive funding, although anyone anywhere can pledge money to your project)

    3.5) Offer gifts and perks to donors based on how much they contribute

    4) Share your pitch with others



    Here’s why*…

    1) Although the site charges a higher fee for using their platform the fact is, whether or not you reach your goal, you still get something at the end.

    2) Their platform appears more open to a variety of ideas, projects and creators (Kickstarter’s Community Guidelines is just a bit over the top for me — can’t they put those guidelines in their Terms of Use?)

    3) For those who are not looking to fund a project but would like to be a donor, IndieGoGo allows you to conduct a quick site search of projects that are featured, near final countdown, popular, new, located where you live, or those that have been successful in reaching their goal.


    1) DO YOUR RESEARCH AND SELECT A PLATFORM THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR PROJECT – IndieGoGo and Kickstarter are just two online crowdfunding platforms out of many. There are other platforms that are niche and targeted towards a specific industry/art form. Do your homework! Here are a few sites that lists additional platforms.

    Full Wiki:Crowdfunding

    How to Raise Money from Crowds: 11 Crowdfunding Platforms and Examples

    Crunch Base: Crowdfunding

    2) BE SMART ABOUT YOUR PROJECT OBJECTIVES – So, your project is a mammoth and you don’t know how you could possibly raise money for its entirety. Try dividing your project into phases and using different fundraising efforts to raise money for the various phases. Maybe you use online crowdfunding for the creative (most important) aspects, while using other fundraising methods for operational and post-launch costs (marketing, PR, etc.)

    3) BE SMART ABOUT YOUR GOAL SETTING – Of course you want to raise as much money as possible for your project, but make sure that you are strategic about the goals that you’re setting. Don’t set an arbitrary dollar amount as your goal. Calculate your project’s expenses and make sure that you account for the “unexpected” (most projects never go as planned).  :-)

    3) GET FAMILY, COLLEAGUES, and FRIENDS INVOLVED FROM THE BEGINNING – Remember that really good friend that told you to hit him/her up when you needed them most? Well, now would be a good time. Before you post your project and pitch on a crowdfunding platform, get your family, colleagues and friends involved. Tell them what you’re doing and see if they have any ideas for a creative pitch or if they want to participate in helping you create one. They may even have ideas of how to take your crowdfunding efforts offline.

    4) DON’T JUST RELY ON ONLINE CROWDFUNDING TO RAISE MONEY – Take your crowdfunding efforts offline and think of creative ways that you can raise money for your project. To piggyback off #3, ask family, friends and colleagues for ideas. Do a quick Google search to find some ideas.

    5) CHECK OUT OTHER PROJECTS FOR INSPIRATION and NETWORKING - While you’re busy promoting your project, check out those of other artists within your industry and beyond. The beauty about crowdfunding is that you can be inspired by the hard work and creativity of your contemporaries while networking for possible collaboration and resource sharing in the future.

    6) IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE MONEY – Although raising funds for your project may be a good 85% of your immediate objective, raising awareness about your art is an ongoing process that should be exercised daily. Your determination and efforts to make sure that EVERYONE knows about your art is a path that could easily lead to resources falling in your lap – and subsequently, could make your fundraising efforts much easier and quicker. Still, the fact is some people may not have the means to support you financially, but may be able to assist you with a service. Personally, I often volunteer my marketing/PR services for non-profits and artists that I believe in, especially those that just may not have the means to compensate me monetarily. I think its wonderful to see a person and/or organization work their mojo to the top. At least I’ll be able to say, “I knew them when…”

    *This review is solely based on opinion; its best to conduct your own research to make sure any of these platforms work best for your project. Hopefully, this post will help you on your way.

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      Will says:


      I really do not like the approach that Kickstarter takes on which projects it chooses to publish. No offense or disrespect to any project, but I feel like Kickstarter is only about tree hugging hippy campaigns.

      As much as I love to see a million projects about an indy film on transgendered awareness in Ethiopia or a 100% biodegradable tampon made from recycled cans, it gets a bit frustrating to see the amount of good projects that are tossed because they are not “green” or have some “social impact” on some under respresented social political group.

      That is why I chose instead. They let all projects in and really deserve credit for not being too involved in the political agenda of their website.

      Without being too obvious, please check out my campaign and show your support for a regular campaign with a great idea. And if you don’t…the terrorist win!



      See The California Stock Exchange for a unique new crowdfunding site with some additional tools not found on Indie GoGo or Kickstarter. The California Stock Exchange is a unit of

      sarah says:


      barkley says:

      Its time that we as a human beings to stand up for a cause.

      Marissa says:

      Sayo, thanks for this article. It was great to read your reasons for your choice, as well as the comments. Obviously there are pros & cons to each. For what it’s worth, my project was rejected from Kickstarter because they said it had a “self-help or healing” bent to it, that wasn’t a fit for them. That was surprising to me. But, ok. If it’s not “art for art’s sake” then I guess they don’t want it. Indiegogo was my next choice; I’ll check out others’ though, that commenters mentioned. Another point folks should consider is using only the platform is not going to bring in the cash. Once the project is on the platform, my view is it’s up to the artist/creator to promote it like the dickens. After all, these sorts really are just a platform for a kitchy way to present fun “thank you” gifts (a la public radio) & collect money. Facebook, Twitter, email campaigns, podcasts, etc, etc, are all needed to let people know about the fundraising campaign. With your suggestion, I already had a fundraiser in person before I left town for friends/family/angel investors. Now I’d like to use crowdsourcing for funding while I’m on the road. Wish me luck! PS: Wish I knew you offered PR services pro bono sometimes. I could really have used the help a while ago. Oh, well! I’m sure some other lucky folks got much needed help from you.

      sayo martin says:

      Thanks for your feedback Marissa. I’ve been hearing that Kickstarter has been turning down projects more and more. In order to adhere to their own internal guidelines and continue to uphold their brand identity/integrity, they definitely have a right to do so. The good thing is that there are other platforms to check out that are just as effective. I agree that adding a project to one of these platforms does not constitute marketing — you have to “promote it like the dickens.” I am working on quite a few projects at the moment so my hands are kind of full, but definitely feel free to share what you’re working on and I’ll help you as much as I can.

      mathew lieberman says:

      My cousin raised a ton of cash on kickstarter, but I on the other hand could not get my project listed. They said it wasn’t a creative endevour. So i searched for similar sites and indiegogo was one of them. Problem i found is indiegogo charged 9%. So i searched for a better deal and found It’s Free! With them you keep 100 % of the money you raise. Sounds like the right choice to me.
      Good luck to all

      I think you’re wrong in who is the winner. It does no good at all if you need $13,000.00 in order to bankroll the production of say, giclee prints and you don’t get that amount of cash. With Indiegogo you’d have to refund and cancel orders to your customers because you couldn’t produce the prints, and then lose money on top of that as a fee to Indiegogo. With Kickstarter, you’d lose nothing and neither would your customers.

      Lucy says:

      I have new question – could anybody help? I’m a UK artist trying to set up a project on Indiegogo. We have a fiscal sponsor in the US and can use their paypal account on Indigogo – this offers a great tax incentive for US contributors so is great. However it’s likely that a lot of our conntributors will be UK based and it doesn’t make sense for them to pay via a US account, meaning we’d lose money two ways in the transfer. Does anyone know if it’s possible to offer contributors to a project 2 different ways of paying? I’ve sent a question to their helpsite but no answer so far. Many thanks! Lucy

      sayo martin says:

      You can try contacting them on Twitter!/indiegogo or find other artists from the UK on Indiegogo and get in touch with them to see how they are accepting payments. I’m sure IndieGoGo has accounted for this.

      This may be audacious for IndieGogo, but a family in on the tethers of being left on the street and one of their daughters is on course to become an Air Force pilot.

      Can any of your help?


      Michael says:

      Well, the first thing that I thought of after I researched Kickstarter for awhile was, can’t you just put the remaining few thousand dollars on your family/friend/boyfriend/etc.’s credit card and then pay them back, thus reaching your goal at the last minute? Of course you can. And that’s of course why all these Kickstarter projects magically get funded successfully the last few days.

      So after that is taken in consideration, the only thing kickstarter seems to offer over indiegogo is that is more well-known, seems like you might get more random people pledging, and it seems like it’s more effective than indiegogo at raising serious money beyond a couple thousand.

      Oh, and this me-force comment is clearly working for me-force. That’s not to say it’s not as good, I would do the same thing if I had a start-up company, but I haven’t researched it yet. All the blogs and sites you’re going to look at when you search “kickstarter vs. indiegogo” are going to have comments posted by people working for those companies – try to hack through it all.

      For me, I’m still deciding who to go with, but leaning towards indiegogo – the main reason being something I don’t see on these sites so much – that when people want to donate money they don’t have to “sign up” and create a username/password, they can just donate. On kickstarter you have to join one more website, which I think people are really sick of. So I’m thinking people will be more likely to donate on indiegogo. Then again, I’m still researching – so any and all help is appreciated.

      sayo martin says:

      Michael, I totally agree with the “no need to sign up” advantage. The less that your audience has to wade through to get to their goal – the better. When you think about “random people” and traffic – definitely has an advantage, but I would also consider the audience that you’re targeting – and whether your audience is actually visiting sites like kickstarter and indiegogo. I checked out some of your work btw, good stuff! Are you looking to fund one of these projects or something else that you have brewing?

      I noticed that donating on Kickstarter I was able to click just once and have go through my Amazon account. If you have an Amazon account, that’s definitely an advantage, as you don’t have to enter your credit card number. Sometimes I start something and don’t end up finishing it if I have to go search for my credit card. What I’m curious about is how many people donate through these things who wouldn’t otherwise know about your project? How many people who are not on the artist’s mailing list actually find a project and donate just because it sounds cool? I’m wondering about this, because if that number is not significant I can simply set up donation through my own website and pay only 3% fee for the service.

      John says:

      I used both Kickstarter and Indiegogo and didn't have much to like about either. Both sites (which look very similar) are pretty badly laid out. It was very hard to find my project and I hated finding long failed and expired projects being listed before mine. Both sites are like a confusing buffet with search options that don't work as well as you would hope.  I am a screenwriter and I found a link to a new crowd-funding site. Next time I go public with something I am giving ME-Force a try. They look different than the others, they have static sections to sort projects and best of all, NO DEADLINES. It takes a lot of time and energy to get interest for projects, sometimes the project is about to end just as it was really about to get going. That is sad. Indiegogo is bragging that it has 10,000 projects as though that is a good thing. It isn't when your project is one of the thousands lost beneath hundreds of pages.

      David Geertz says:

      @george – your comment about Kickstarter being tastemakers is true but that is not a flaw in their system its a positive. Curation is vital in the information age otherwise the site would be littered with too many projects with no focus and what would happen then is that the number of projects succeeding would be less than the projects failing and the business of Kickstarter would have a negative viewpoint. 
      There also not the only guys in the game these days. You could always opt for 
      indiegogo, rockethub, enjyn, gofundme or any of the other sites that offer the service.

      Karen S says:

      I chose IndieGoGo for my project for a few reasons:
      - Kickstarter's all or nothing policy makes me too nervous.  I'm working really hard on my project, and I'd hate to see it to result in $0.
      - I respond better to a positive incentive, so if I meet my goal, the IndieGoGo is 4% (1% lower than Kickstarter), and if I don't it's 9%.  I happy with that.
      I agree with Martin that, at the end of the day, you get out of it what you put into it!   If I can make a shameless pitch, my project is here:  :)

      George says:

      Both are far from perfect. Kickstarter is run by a group of people who view themselves as high and mighty – i.e. the tastemakers of the 21st century who need to decide what is cool enough to be on their site.
      Indiegogo has a highly flawed system where a project may need $10,000 but raises and gets to keep $100 instead. Am I just paying for someone's dinner then?

      Munch says:

      Umm…you’re *always* paying for someone’s dinner. That’s how business works.

      I attended a presentation last year at SXSW by Andy Baio, the founder of Kickstarter, and he had some interesting numbers on their all-or-nothing pledge approach. His research showed that as the deadline approached, projects which were at about 2/3 of their funding goal were quickly fully funded, so there is some method in his madness.

      sayo martin says:

      Thanks for sharing James. I have friends and colleagues who have tried out both IndieGoGo and Kickstarter platforms with varied success rates. I don't believe that either platform is an end-all-be-all success factor in crowdfunding, although IndieGoGo and Kickstarter's model and approach can influence success. Ultimately, I think success in this arena depends on the project, how many people you can get to believe in it and in you enough to invest, and if your objectives and goals are set within reason.

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