Five Overfunded Social Good Projects on Kickstarter

An increasing number of social ventures these days are turning to Kickstarter to raise funds. Kickstarter is the world’s largest and most popular crowdfunding platform for creative projects – over 1 million people have backed Kickstarter projects, pledging over $100 million in it’s 2.5 year history.

While Kickstarter clearly mentions on their website that the platform is not to be used for raising funds for a charity or causes, a lot of social ventures whose projects are at the intersection of creative and social impact are raising funds on the platform. I’ve seen social good projects listed under almost every category on Kickstarter – Design, Fashion, Technology, Food, Photography, Film & Video, etc with many successfully meeting their funding goals and in some cases over achieving their goals. Below are 5 such social good projects that have received more funding than their initial target.

Krochet Kids Peru, Limited Edition Hat Collection: 618% Funded — Listed under the fashion category, Krochet Kids International goal was to raise $6000, they ended up raising over $37,000. Krochet Kids project was to raise funds to expand their development program to Lima, Peru. They employ marginalized women to make hats and through this income generation activity, Krochet Kids enable these women to come out of poverty. In the past Krochet Kids has worked in Uganda and was seeking funds on Kickstarter to expand their program to Peru.

Stockbox Grocers: 134% Funded — Stockbox Grocers a food startup was aiming to raise $15,000, ended up raising over $20,000. Stockbox Grocers is addressing the problem of food availability in America. Across the U.S, a growing number of people live in food deserts, which means they don’t have access to healthy and affordable food within walking or biking distance of their home. Stockbox Grocers responds to this need with a miniature grocery that’s tucked inside a reclaimed shipping container and placed into the parking lot of an existing business. They needed funds to launch their first store in a low-income community of their hometown Seattle for which they turned to Kickstarter to raise money.

Proof Sustainable WOOD Sunglasses: 134% Funded — listed under the design category, the project creator was seeking for funds to manufacture their new model of sunglasses made out of bamboo. PROOF the organization behind the project makes uber cool sunglasses out of wood and donates large portion of their profits to social projects around the world: Eye clinics in India that give sight-giving surgeries to those that can’t afford it. Helping reforestation efforts in Hati, education projects on Native American Reservations, and Child Soldier rehab in Africa. They are looking to add more projects in the future.

Caught in Nepal, Photographs by Tibetan Refugees: 117% Funded — The project creator’s goal was to raise $6000, it ended up raising over $7000. The project is a photographic documentation of the plight of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal and their ongoing struggle for freedom. The photographs have been taken by Tibetan refugees themselves to whom Mike Dunham (project creator) had handed inexpensive digital cameras 3 years ago. The final selection of photographs, singled out from thousands of shots, is completed. The layout of the book has gone to proofs however Mike needed funds to get the book printed for which he turned to Kickstarter and met with great success.

JeepNeed, Magic School Bus for the Philippines: 117% Funded — listed under technology category, the goal of the project was to raise $8000 to convert Jeepney (a vehicle which is a popular mode of public transportation in Philippines) into a mobile science and tech lab for rural schools. The project created by JeepNeed, a social enterprise in Philippines whose goal is to fill the educational gaps in the underfunded Philippines educational system by providing latest curriculum and training in science and technology. Each redesigned Jeepney will be equipped with 10 laptops, projector, Internet and project materials which will allow students for hands-on learning. JeepNeed was seeking funding on Kickstarter to fund one Jeepney which would serve three public high schools.

Kickstarter is turning out to be a great platform for people addressing social issues to raise funds for their projects. I’m personally quite intrigued by the power of Kickstarter and wanted to understand what makes Kickstarter so insanely popular as compared to other crowdfunding platforms and why people are more forthcoming to contribute here than say on Kiva. To understand better I have posted a question on Quora, please feel free to contribute there or here below in the comment section.

The question: Kiva and Kickstarter both achieved their 1 million user mark just recently. Why is it that Kiva, though a pioneer of the crowdfunding model, took 7 years to reach this milestone, while Kickstarter achieved it in just over 2 years?

Deepa Chaudhary can be found at @deeparocks on Twitter.