Kickstart(er) My Heart

Oh, that’s right.  I’ll reference old Motley Crue songs.  Yeah, I will.  Our last talking tech was about one of those modern things that everyone knows about except Dark Ages Melinda:  Kickstarter.com.  We heard the stories of three children’s media-related projects that successfully got funded using Kickstarter.  Our first speakers were getting their children’s book off the ground (http://www.psnqs.com).  After realizing that self-publishing would take away a lot of their profits and that the book wouldn’t look as nice as they wanted, they decided Kickstarter was the way to go.

So (and this is for all the speakers of course) here’s how it works:

You apply at kickstarter.com and you have to create a video outlining your project.  Everyone agrees the video is key to getting people to donate.  You also set up a timeline for raising your funds (30 days to 3 months) and you offer rewards for folks who donate.  The rewards can be whatever you like:  a shout out on Twitter, the product you’re trying to get money to make, etc.  The old adage you have to spend money to make money holds true and in your project cost you should remember to take into consideration the creation of the video and shipping costs for your product and rewards.  Everyone in the group agreed a shorter timeline was better, not only for your own sanity but the sense of urgency is what gets people to donate.  One project was only ½ way funded with only 5 days to go but they made it, ‘cause people like to donate last minute.  Of course, Kickstarter will take a percentage of the money you raise, too, they are a business after all.

So, you set up your video, your page, your rewards and now what?  Well now you start the full time job of hustling for donations.  Prepare to Facebook and tweet and whatever else, everyone you know to gain momentum for the project.

Julie Griffith raised $75K (or 75-large as we people who watch “The Wire” say) to fund an anti-bullying interactive theater project for schools.  Alexandra Conn raised money to fund an iPad app “Puppet Masterpiece Theater:  The Circus” based on a puppet show she and her sister created when they were 11 years old.  Everyone agreed that raising the funds was a full-time job, don’t expect that people will seek you out and find you on Kickstarter, ain’t gonna happen.  Ps & Qs reached out to Rosario Dawson and other celebrities on Twitter to try and get momentum going.  Alexandra had Danny Elfman doing the music for her app through a personal connection but it was too late to get that out on Kickstarter.  Doh!  That surely would’ve generated a lot of interest.  The bottom line:  Kickstarter works but it’s not easy.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free iPad app, theatre piece or self-published book.
If you want to check out the projects we heard about that raised their funding through Kickstarter, check out these links:

http://www.psnqs.com/   – Check out “Charlie and His Imaginary Friend” the Kickstarter-funded book.

http://www.makingbookssing.org/ – Check out Alice’s Story!

http://www.organa.com/apps/puppet-masterpiece-theater-the-circus.html – See what’s going on at the circus without that annoying zebra!

Main Takeaway:  So the question that echoed in my mind, especially since everyone said most people who donated were people they know was “Then why bother” but the deadline and the fact that you don’t get ANY money if you don’t meet your goal is a real ticking clock motivator and what sets Kickstarter apart from Indiegogo.com, a similar site.  On Indiegogo, you get whatever money you raise regardless of whether you meet your total goal.  People want to be the donation that makes the difference between funding and nothing.

A battle to the pain!

Personal Takeaway:  My hats off to anyone who has the stamina and willpower to do this.  It is hard.  The constant hustling and asking for donations is just not for me.  I was also terrible at those wrapping paper/candy drives we had to do in school when I was a kid – I just didn’t want a Huffy that much.

Some things never change.

Inappropriate Takeaway:  Danny Elfman!!!  Now an Oingo Boingo reunion, that’s a Kickstarter campaign I would get behind.

Dead Man’s Party Indeed