Kickstarter Math

Okay, since we’re thinking of starting some crowd-funding projects in the future (box sets of Abby the Labby and Thomas the Watch-cat as well as our Fandom Universe series), I’ve been doing some research.

This article by Marian Call is excellent! She not only breaks down how to set a budget, but several tricky bits about how to manage stretch goals and public face. It’s a lot of good information and I think everyone should go read it, especially *backers*. This is information that anyone involved in crowd funding should think about. That way we don’t get nasty backlashes like the ones that hit Amanda Palmer.

This is just one section:

How much you can raise and how much you need to raise are totally unrelated numbers, sorry to say — you might need $100,000 but if you can only raise $5000, ask for $5000, and deliver what you’re promising to those backers. Or change what you plan to make.

Crowdfunding is not a magical wishing well, it’s a community. The “crowd” that you petition is a family you build over a very long time with very hard work. If you don’t have a crowd yet, fund your work some other way. You have to know who will be supporting you (their names and faces and kids) and you have to know what they want. You have to be able to estimate how much they will pay, individually and as a group.

I have done a lot of fundraising in the past, and I know my audience pretty well. But I still need to run a few different scenarios. I mean, think through all the things that can go wrong and right during your campaign:

  • What if my fans have crowdfunding exhaustion? They absolutely do.
  • What if a couple of reliable big donors don’t turn up like I expect? Do not assume they’re in; they don’t owe you, and they don’t always show up.
  • What if they’re not as interested in this project as they were in my last one? That is absolutely possible, there are newer shinier projects out there.
  • What if I somehow go viral and have thousands more backers than I expect — can I cope with the workload? Many Kickstarters tank even in spectacular success. A surprise $2,000,000 can bankrupt a project that would have been solvent at $2000.
  • What if the news is really awful when my campaign ends/when my record launches and I can’t promote? This happened to me during Hurricane Sandy; media outlets that promised coverage were literally underwater and of course did not run stories. Some factors are totally out of your control.

You never know exactly how much you will fundraise, even if you’ve done it before. So be prepared for every scenario.

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About Kate

I'm in my late 30's, living in the DC Metro area. I'm an author, a reader, a businesswoman, an investor, and an avid Alice in Wonderland fan. Occasionally, I have outrageous fits of productivity....

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