No one denies the revolutionary nature of Kickstarter. It is powerful, it often works, it sidelines the “middle man” (or morphs him or her into Kickstarter), but it also has faults, though they don’t outnumber the obviou$ advantage$.

A recent batch of infographics (1, 2) from highlights some of the interesting realities of Kickstarter as told by its stats. According to the findings, which looked at 45,815 projects published on the site as of June 2, 2012, the success rate is a lot higher than you may think.

Some notable numbers:

  • 50% of projects were successfully funded,
  • 57% of art projects were successfully funded, while design and photography projects had a 47% success rate, film and video project clocked in at 51% and comic-related projects succeeded 54% of the time,
  • Art was the fourth most popular category of project (3,985) and only behind publishing, music and film & video,
  • shorter projects tend to be more successful,
  • projects seeking $100,000 or more have a 7% chance of success, while project that are $10,000 or less have a 38% chance to achieve that goal, and
  • 8.5% of projects received more than double their goal — but in a strange twist of fate, the more a project exceeds their goal the higher the possibility that a project will deliver your prize or gift in time diminishes.

There’s obviously a psychology to Kickstarter and why it works, and the projects that tap into that complex mental responses always appear to do best.

Looking at my own behavior and why I choose to support certain projects and not others I noticed that there is a very personal process I tend to follow, which is probably true of most other backers. It goes something like this:

  1. Will the new idea/project improve the world in some way? Or better yet, will it make it suck less? If I decide it will and I can afford to give, I donate.
  2. Is there a great prize/gift I want (cool tshirt, great product … ) in the reward list? If there is, I give and don’t really consider this a donation.
  3. Will this encourage the artist/maker — and this is particularly true when I know the person — into growing and developing as an artist/writer/etc.? If yes, I donate.
There are some projects that immediately make me want to NOT donate. For instance, why should I support your nebulous exhibition? There are MANY opportunities to show work (open studios, group shows, DIY spaces … ) that the thought of donating to a $10,000 fund for you to exhibit and possibly create a catalogue without a clear goal or business plan in how you will sustain or develop the project is not going to cut it. I will wish you the best, but I just don’t see why you need my donation. Some others may donate to a vanity project like this, but I almost always vote no.

My process, which is hardly scientific, suggests part of the appeal of Kickstarter is the belief that we count, we can make a difference and by giving we associate ourselves with an interesting independent project. Donating even $10 can allow you to reap a prize or watch the dollar amounts inch higher towards the intended goal.

h/t Mashable

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.