Notes from Our Fifth Community Advisory Council Meeting: Who Is Kickstarter For?

A report back from our latest conversation with Kickstarter's Community Advisory Council, a diverse group of creators we turn to for insight and expertise across a range of creative disciplines.

Notes from Our Fifth Community Advisory Council Meeting: Who Is Kickstarter For?

Hi, I’m Kimm Alfonso and I am the VP of Creator and Backer Success at Kickstarter. I have the inspiring opportunity to work directly with creators and backers to help them have a positive experience bringing creative projects to life through our platform. Recently, I hosted Kickstarter’s fifth Community Advisory Council meeting, in which we dug into a weighty question: “Who is Kickstarter for?”

Kickstarter’s Community Advisory Council is composed of 12 creators representing a diverse range of business sizes, creative categories, and more. Over the past 10 months, we’ve covered a broad range of topics with this incredible group, from the tools and services creators need from Kickstarter, opportunities in the product experience, growing the categories we serve, AI’s impact on creative communities, digital marketing, protocol technology, and pledge management — we’ve covered a lot of ground.

Product Development

In this most recent meeting, we kicked off with Terry VanDuyn, our director of product management, to review recent product launches and to continue providing clarity into how we develop features at Kickstarter. We discussed our update about enabling images on rewards, our beta release of an advanced analytics dashboard for your campaigns, better tools for creators to manage their rewards, and our integration with Easyship to help connect creators with better shipping tools.

Additionally, Terry talked through some of the work we’ve got in the pipeline to make the project experience better for creators. We will follow up with the Council when we need more feedback to help orient those efforts.

Who Is Kickstarter For?

Our Chief Strategy Officer, Jon Leland, led the second half of our discussion, focusing on an important question: "Who is Kickstarter for?" To answer this, Jon reviewed data on our funding distribution across different raise levels.

We asked the Advisors for their insight into what place larger projects have on smaller creators and on Kickstarter as a whole — and how we can best support smaller creators to be successful.

There was agreement that bigger campaigns are important to the overall ecosystem — these larger businesses often will bring in new customers, either through their digital marketing efforts or their own brand recognition that help support other creative projects on Kickstarter.

For example, Kat Calamia pointed to when Keanu Reeves launched his incredibly successful comic book with Boom! Studio. The general feeling in the comics community was that his presence on Kickstarter helped raise awareness for the category in general and provided more trust for backers on the platform.

This is definitely a phenomenon that we see and work to amplify at Kickstarter. When Brandon Sanderson’s blockbuster $41M+ campaign was breaking records last year, we saw droves of his backers back other projects on the platform. Meanwhile, the Sanderson team itself contributed meaningfully to the ecosystem by backing every other publishing project that was live on the platform.

We wrapped up the meeting with a productive discussion on ways to support smaller creators and help them achieve success on the platform. Several ideas surfaced, including providing additional educational resources, offering mentorship opportunities, improving communication and setting clear expectations, and increasing cross-promotion efforts.

There was also support for Kickstarter’s existing project “open calls” — initiatives like ZineQuest and Make 100 that help reduce the barrier to entry for new creators.

When I asked the Council to share their tips for first-time creators, I got a lot of great feedback. The group emphasized the importance of avoiding labor-intensive rewards, not assuming that the product will sell itself, pricing with profit margins in mind, and building an audience before launching the campaign.

Like with all of our Community Advisory Council meetings, the conversation yielded a list of innovative and actionable ideas that I'm excited to develop and implement to help creators find even more success on Kickstarter. On that note, I'm always interested in hearing from people with ideas on how to improve the experience on our platform. What would your top tips be for a new creator starting on Kickstarter? Let me know at

Back These Projects by Community Advisory Council Members

Before I go, I’d like to point you to a few projects by Community Advisory Council members that you can support on Kickstarter. Sign up to be notified when Kat Calamia's Rainbow Canvas: A Wholesome BL & GL WEBTOON Anthology and Stefanie Black's Casting Shadows launch soon, and you can back Phillip Reed's latest project below!

Zeck's Shoppe of Riches, A Collection of OSR Magic Items by Phillip Reed