Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | March 16, 2013

So you want to run a Kickstarter campaign?

So you want to run a Kickstarter campaign?

I’ve been asked many times “How did you do it?” So I decided to write a post about the process. First, the plan is the most important part.

First campaign in 2011 for Freedom’s Children: The Celebration

Well, for my first kickstarter campaign I was not sure what was going to happen. I contacted different folks I thought would support the campaign. Some did, most did not. Within 24 hours of launching the campaign, I was able to raise $1,500.  But after a while, contributions slowed down. I tried asking businesses for support. No success. I tried doing fundraising concerts. Minimal success. The first campaign was a success because of offline and online efforts. It was hard, but I was able to raise $6,700.

Kickstarter and Amazon taking their cut

Now after I raised the funds, I took home a little under $6,000 (about $5,900). Kickstarter took their cut and Amazon (who processes payment) took theirs. What I did not expect were the credit cards that failed. Thankfully, I was able to obtain enough funds for most of the recording expenses.

The importance of reserved funds/offline fundraising

I quickly realized folks were not sure if the campaign could/would make it. So I used a separate account to boost support. Whenever contributions diminished, I would use offline funds to keep interest. Offline funds also helped with advertising.

 Free Promotion?

Kickstarter provided a unique platform to promote the upcoming project. Thousands of folks knew about the project before it was created or released.

Rewards

Supporters appreciate meaningful rewards…

2nd campaign 2012/2013 for Love Album

With lessons learned from my first campaign, I began writing about the Love album in May of 2012. I also contacted some of my faithful supporters and asked them if they would help me get the word out. Once all plans were in place, I surveyed my network. I figured probably 10 percent of my network would read my messages and 10 percent of that would actually support the campaign.

The plan

December 21 was the launch date. Why? Because of the winter solstice, the return to love and the Age of Aquarius. To me it was very important to attach levels of meaning behind the album and campaign. I also decided to lower the amount to $4,600. Based on my network, this amount would allow me to exceed my goal and not overwhelm supporters.

Guess what is the most popular pledge for most campaigns? $25. If $25 is the most popular amount (and I’m not close friends with wealthy folks), I figured I need to be reasonable.

Paypal/Western Union

Some folks do not like kickstarter or similar sites. Provide them with other options to support your campaign. Also, offer them the same rewards. Leave it up to them to turn down your offer.

Execution/Success

I used email, twitter, linkedin and Facebook to get the word out. Facebook was my best asset. I created a Facebook event for promotion. I knew from the last campaign that I was not guaranteed any support from the facebook event. But advertisement was the main purpose.

I asked individuals to share the kickstarter link on their pages. While folks were sharing the info, I began writing various blogs about the Love album. I gave readers the story and purpose behind the album. I also talked about crowdfunding and how artists throughout time have used some form or community funding. Once others saw the sincerity in my posts and writings, they shared the links.

Halfway through the campaign, I wrote personal letters to possible supporters asking them to pledge and/or share the kickstarter link. Folks gave as little as $5 and as much as $500. The response was amazing and humbling. Family, friends and strangers pledged and asked others to pledge.

Did every supporter pledge? No. Did 10 percent of my network support the campaign? No.  Did everyone who said they would support make a pledge? No.

Some shared their reasons of why they could not and others just sent well wishes. Of course many ignored the posts. But in the end, an amazing group of folks believed in the project enough to support in whatever way they could. I appreciate each one.

If you want to run a successful kickstarter campaign, do your research, support other campaigns and plan. The process takes time.

I hope this helps. Feel free to read previous posts on crowdfunding, kickstarter and recycling community dollars.

How much money did I have to invest into the Love album campaign? I invested less than $600. How much money was raised? $5, 578. How many backers? 85 people supported the Love album (58 backers for Freedom’s Children: The Celebration). How much money did I get for the Love album in the end? $4, 998.

Peace…

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