July 26, 2012
I just took part in an interesting webinar set up by PRX to let us public media people know what it takes to mount a successful Kickstarter campaign. It featured a woman from PRX, a woman from Kickstarter and Roman Mars, host of the podcast 99% Invisible. He recently ended an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign where he asked for $42,000 and got almost three times that much. He hit his actual goal almost immediately. We were assured this is very unusual.
A few statistics:
- 44 percent of Kickstarter campaigns are successful
- If you get to the point where you're 30 percent funded, there's a 90 percent chance you'll make your goal
- Kickstarter takes a five percent fee from successful (i.e. fully backed) projects
- $25 is the most common pledge
Considerations: I hate, hate, hate asking people for things, so could I reasonably keep bombarding people I know with emails asking them to back my campaign? I know I have to get over this but 'bothering people' remains high on my list of cringe-inducing activities. I'd love to get some more 'likes' on The Broad Experience Facebook page, for instance, but I can't stand sending another of those 'please like my site' Facebook-generated messages. The people giving the webinar emphasised that a Kickstarter campaign is a story. I can tell a good story, including, I think, about the genesis of The Broad Experience. A point in my favor perhaps? Still, some of the examples they discussed of successful podcast campaigns are intimidating: 99% Invisible has been out there for a while and has an established fan base. Blank on Blank beat its Kickstarter goal too, and it's relatively new, but it's quirky and different in a way my show is not. That said, my show is different in other ways - take the fact no one else is producing smart radio content for and about women, content that's intellectually engaging without feeling worthy.
By the end of the call I determined that if I do a Kickstarter campaign it won't be for a while. Roman Mars encouraged us to put in some sweat equity first, build a fan base, and then go to the public for funding. I have more work to do.