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19+ Highlights from Kickstarter’s 2016 Benefit Statement

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Kickstarter reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) in 2015. A PBC is a for-profit company that is bound by law to consider the societal and environmental impact of their actions. They also need to report their successes and failures in a yearly public report.

Kickstarter recently released their 2016 Benefit Statement, an update about their first full year as a PBC. In 2016, more than 4.3 million backers worldwide pledged over $658 million to creative campaigns on Kickstarter. While these creators were making an impact with their projects, Kickstarter was making an impact all their own.

As part of their Public Benefit Charter Kickstarter pledged to support artists, follow a code of conduct, and donate 5% of profits to arts education and organizations that fight inequality.

Reading over their highlights, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Kickstarter achieved in their first year as a public benefit company. It makes me excited to see what they will be doing a few years from now.

Highlights from Kickstarter’s 2016 Benefit Statement:

1. A 2016 study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that Kickstarter has helped create over 300,000 jobs.

2. In fact, Kickstarter has spurred an estimated $5.3 billion in economic impact per the University of Pennsylvania study.

3. Kickstarter was proud to announce that 12,098 of 2016’s 19,235 successful Kickstarter projects were in core cultural categories. This includes categories like arts, comics, dance, film and video, food, and music.

4. In 2016, 20% of Kickstarter creators had launched a campaign on Kickstarter before. The other 80% were launching projects for the first time.

A growing number of users on KickstarterForum.org (not affiliated with Kickstarter) have launched multiple campaigns. You can now join the forum and gain access to key resources.

5. More than 19,000 of 57,000+ total Kickstarter projects were successful in 2016. Kickstarter works hard to communicate to creators that raising money online isn’t easy and many projects fail. Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing model makes it easy for creators learn from their mistakes and try again.

6. Kickstarter does everything they can to protect the safety of their community. In 2016, accepted 80% of campaigns that were submitted, with an average response time of fewer than 24 hours. They suspended 377 projects and banned over 86,000 users for violating their Terms of Use.

New Initiatives

7. Kickstarter launching The Creative Independent, a resource for creative people that provides practical and emotional advice. The Creative Independent interviews one artist every weekday and hosts events.

8. Kickstarter successfully launched their new live streaming service and put together a directory of resources for creators.

9. All the interns that joined Kickstarter in 2016 came to them from New York-based organizations dedicated to fighting inequality.

10. Kickstarter donated 5% of their after-tax profits to 6 organizations working towards a more creative and equitable world:

11. Last year, Kickstarter hosted the first Kickstarter Summer Festival in Fort Greene Park.

Things That Set Kickstarter Apart

12. Unlike many companies, Kickstarter doesn’t include a forced arbitration clause or class action waiver in their Terms of Use.

13. Kickstarter supports public policy issues that impact the community. In 2016, these issues revolved around immigration, LGBTQ rights in North Carolina, and net neutrality around the world.

14. In 2016, Kickstarter fought alongside Apple for internet users’ privacy rights and filed with New York state court in favor of online services’ rights to notify users when the government requests access to users’ private information.

15. The crowdfunding platform has also been working towards limiting the environmental impact at their headquarters.

16. After two tax credits, Kickstarter paid 25% income tax in 2016, compared to an average of 14% for comparable companies. Not to mention the fact that 2/3 of active corporations don’t pay federal income tax.

17. Part of Kickstarter’s Public Benefit Charter was to be more equitable. In 2016, their CEO’s total compensation was 5.52x the median on all non-CEO, non-founder employees. This is compared to 204x for the average CEO, as data from Glassdoor suggests.

18. As of December 2016, 53% of Kickstarter’s team were women. Women made up 61% of the Senior Team and half of the Executive Team.

19. Kickstarter provides staff with a yearly Education Stipend and 25 hours a year of paid time off for volunteering.

Conclusion

Kickstarter’s 2016 Benefit Statement shows that they had another amazing and innovative year. They achieved a lot since becoming a PBC and are working to find more ways to help the creators on their platform succeed.

From this update, the public can see that the popular rewards crowdfunding platform is really thriving. Kickstarter’s actions show how much they truly support and promote their core beliefs.

Kickstarter reincorporating as a Public Benefit Company has spurred a lot of interest and questions from companies about how to become a PBC themselves. Startups on Kickstarter are often trying to pay it forward with donations to charities or find ways to build more ethical and sustainable business models.

In 2017, Kickstarter plans to work with other PBCs to make resources available to companies who want to adopt this progressive way of doing business.

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Krystine Therriault

Journalist & Blogger at CrowdCrux
Krystine Therriault is a journalist, blogger, and the community manager for CrowdCrux. She loves learning about new trending projects and dissecting them to bring new tips and information to creators.
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