Kickstarter’s Fulfillment Report Explores Outcomes of Fully Funded Projects That Fail

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Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has gone from a scrappy platform for the DIY-minded to make weird stuff to a place where stubborn-yet-rich indie filmmakers ask fans to pay for the creation of new content. In that time, a lot of projects have failed to be fully funded — but what you don’t typically hear about are those that do get funded, and yet never produce rewards for backers. Until now.

Kickstarter has released its Fulfillment Report, an analysis conducted by the University of Pennsylvania which purports to examine the trends in fully funded projects that fail to produce rewards (or content, even) for its backers. The analysts surveyed 456,751 randomly chosen backers, of which 47,188 responded.

The report is almost exactly what one would expect, in that failure to produce is consistent among the type of project (publishing, music, film, etc.) and that the smaller the project, the less likely it was to produce rewards.

Here are the key findings, though:

  • 9% of projects are considered “failed,” meaning, in this case, that backers of those projects did not receive rewards.
  • 73% of backers of failed projects would back other projects, but only 19% of backers of failed projects would back different projects by the same creator of the failed project.
  • Projects that raise less than $1,000 fail more often than larger projects.
  • Creators have an obligation to explain to backers why a project was not completed, and should provide refunds if possible.

Read the full report for more detailed analysis, as well as commentary from Kickstarter.