Kickstarter wants creators on its platform to be more transparent with backers about how their money is being used. The crowdfunding platform is launching a feature today called Project Budget that’ll allow creators to display their budget as a pie chart on their campaign page.
Although it’s optional for creators, Meg Heim, who leads Kickstarter’s system integrity team, says projects that use it will be more likely to be featured on Kickstarter’s homepage. These projects will also get a special badge on their campaign, which might signify to backers that the creators are at least trying to be more transparent.
That said, Kickstarter isn’t independently verifying or tracking how money gets used, so just because a creator says they’re using the money in one way doesn’t mean they have to stick with it. The company does, however, want to use the data to eventually help creators make more educated decisions about their funding goals. The big idea is that Kickstarter will have access to lots of campaigns’ initial budgets, and it can then follow up to learn what the costs actually ended up being, which can be fed into Kickstarter’s system to improve the budget recommendations for future campaigns.
This public budget builds on a product launch from earlier this year, the Funding Calculator, which gave creators a free tool to help them lay out their taxes and fees behind the scenes. This new tool makes that budget visual and public.
As far as whether this tool will help more backers receive the products they support, I’d guess it might. If creators can go into a project with realistic budget expectations — especially about costs they didn’t think about, like taxes or international shipping — they might be able to set more realistic funding goals and not run out of cash. At the same time, I can still imagine creators making an inaccurate budget and ending up having to raise more money or shutter their project altogether.
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