An Innovative Idea For the New Year

The Cat In The Hat In Las Vegas

What Is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a recent innovation on the internet that allows individuals and groups to raise funds online for a variety of artistic projects, that includes books, short films, movies, art exhibitions, magazines, installations and none of the above. Once described as the people’s NEA, Kickstarter was started in 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler. Kickstarter begins when a particular project is approved by the site. Then a fundraising period is allowed, usually 30 days, where the proposal is displayed online so individuals can give to the project. If the project reaches its goals, then the money is turned over to the artist. If not the funds go back to those that gave the money. Kick starter’s success rate is very impressive as is the annual total amount raised for the various projects. In 2011, approximately 46% of Kickstarter’s projects were approved, generating just over 99 million dollars in the process.

Triumph Motorcycle by Yesterdays Antique Motorcycles

One Writer’s Experience 

In March 2011 one writer, Nathan Bransford, wrote a lengthy blog about his successful Kickstarter experience. Nathan is a published author, who at one time was also an active literary agent. His blog is one of the most widely read in the online writing/publishing community. Nonetheless, he decided to publish a series of five novellas on his own as e-books. Instead of doing the work himself, he would farm out the book conversion, covers and editing. For this he allowed 2,000 dollars. After approval he made a video about the project and listed awards for various levels of donations. Once the project went public on the internet, Nathan quickly raised over $5,000 dollars. The project was financed and Mr. Bransford was allowed to keep the extra, minus the Kickstarter 5% commission. Not bad for a small project, but it is very important to note that Nathan Bransford has a huge online following.

One Very Innovative Idea

Since I have applied for Kickstarter funding, (my project was approved but never submitted for funding) I often receive e-mails from the organization concerning approved projects that the kickstarter staff really likes. Recently one such project really caught my eye. It was a design for a low cost wind-powered mine detonator. Inspired by a news story about ten Afghani girls who died in one mine explosion, while gathering firewood, the inventor, a man named Massoud Hassani invented a mine detonator that moves across the desert landscape of Afghanistan using wind power as an energy source. Here is a link to his project page on kickstarter and an image of his invention in a desert setting. So far Moussoud has raised over half of the 100,000 Euros that he has requested. Hopefully. he will realize his goal before the time expires.

Mine Kafon by Massoud Hassani


How To Help

As the crisis in Japan deepens, relief efforts from all the over the world are headed to Japan. As I write this the TV news is saying that the emperor of Japan has recently addressed the nation, an ominous sign that the country has been deeply shaken by recent events. Despite the destruction it is widely agreed that Japan will recover and rebuild its hard hit areas. Anybody wishing to give some financial aid to the country can always do so through the Red Cross or other relief organizations. Those wishing to do so might want to check out this recent article at Matador Change.

The old-fashioned way of mailing a check to the Red Cross is still valid. Tech savvy donors might be interested to know that you can text your donation to the Red Cross or other organizations, such as International Medical Corps, Salvation Army, World Vision, GlobalGiving and Save The Children Emergency Fund. All you need to know is the number code for each organization and when the message is sent the donation amount will be added to your monthly bill. Details are available on the Matador page, listed above. Donations can also be made through Facebook .  And finally those needing to connect with family members in Japan might want to visit this Google site.