Community Advisory Council: Jan 2024 Recap

A glimpse into our bi-monthly Community Advisory Council roundtables, as they partner with us to make Kickstarter the best it can be.

Community Advisory Council: Jan 2024 Recap

Hi, my name is Elana Jacobs, and I am the VP of Product and Design at Kickstarter. 

Recently, I had the privilege of joining our Community Advisory Council's second meeting to host a product discussion alongside Terry VanDuyn, our Director of Product, Kimm Alfonso, VP of Creator & Backer Success, and Diane Peters, our Chief Legal Council. Since 2022, Kickstarter has invited a council, selected from across geographies, categories, and demographics to help us make user-focused decisions. The feedback of past councils helped us prioritize the development of our Revamped Text Editor as well as our AI policy in 2023.

At Kickstarter, we believe that working closely with our community is key to delivering a great experience for both creators and backers. It’s important that we not only solve user problems, but push the boundaries of what is possible with crowdfunding.

January 2024 Meeting Overview:

During the council meeting, Terry and I shared Kickstarter's product roadmap for 2024, which includes building out advanced creator tools and campaign functionality. Our aim is to enhance the overall user experience by providing creators with the necessary tools and features to successfully bring their projects to life and build a community in the process. 

We talked about the pros and cons of existing tools that council members have used to stay organized and fulfill rewards. Council members shared the challenges of providing fulfillment communication at scale, collecting late pledges, collecting the right shipping costs at the right time, and calculating global taxes. 

“Fulfillment is the thing that [creators are] most scared of — more than they are scared of the campaign success because if the campaign fails then they have nothing to do, but if the fulfillment fails, they are in much much deeper trouble." 

The complexities and fear surrounding these processes reinforce the need for Kickstarter to not only support creators with easing these pain points but also streamline and simplify the process.

We also used the time to better understand how creators run their businesses with different audiences, sales channels, and customer communication methods, to build better tools for the future. We acknowledge that every creator is unique in their process, but our goal is to create flexible solutions that allow creators to manage their own processes more efficiently.

During the second part of the council meeting, Diane Peters, our Chief Legal Officer, kicked off a review and discussion about our AI policy with Lawrence Gullo, our Trust & Safety team’s moderation manager and a three-time Kickstarter creator. Lawrence reviewed the genesis of the policy and the core values that informed its development, including creator transparency and honesty. 

"It's so complicated and I admire the way that you guys have been taking steps to deal with it, in a cautious way from both sides, but also protecting artists. I'm in publishing and we're at an interesting crossroads of Al where it impacts us on three sides."

He reviewed recent examples of the policy’s application to projects and engaged with the Council on ways in which the policy might evolve to account for novel uses and future changes in technology. The T&S team regularly fields questions about whether certain uses require disclosure (the general rule is always yes, please!). While largely anecdotal, our sense is that the policy is working as intended, providing transparency and disclosure to backers so that they can make intelligent choices about the projects they choose to support. 

As always, we are eager to incorporate the community’s needs into our discussion with the Advisory Council, what would you add to our next agenda?