Take Off Your Fundraiser Hat! Kickstarter Tips with Stephanie Pereira


For those of you keeping score at home, Technology In The Arts is a research initiative by the Master of Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University. This gives us access to a pretty awesome speaker series. Last Friday Stephanie Pereira, the Art Program Director of Kickstarter, stopped by and gave an amazing talk. We opened this week with a great discussion from Sean on our Kickstarter panel – and you can watch the entire talk here! It’s about an hour long, so here’s a cheat sheet on how best to useKickstarter based on the talk (and a few questions I managed to sneak in after!)

Top 4 Tips for a Successful Kickstarter Campaign

1. An excellent video goes a whole long way.

Excellent doesn’t mean you have James Cameron quality, it means you’re showing and talking and providing a behind the scenes look into your project. This is a way for you to show your “studio to the public”. Create a story for your backers to connect with.

2. “No one cares about swag”

The rewards you offer your backers shouldn’t be the cheap things you create to give away for free – that’s the old model of fundraising and it isn’t Kickstarter material (just because other people have the logo tee and totes doesn’t make it right!) Instead, use your perks to truly reward your backers and provide something that’s valuable to you. This is a relationship, and your rewards should have value to the creator (you!) and the backers. They’re joining a special, exclusive club – offer them things they can’t get anywhere else.

3. Have a communication plan – and no, I don’t mean marketing. 

Yes, a marketing plan is very important, but that’s not what we’re saying here. Think “playfully” and tell a story that connects you with your backers. Know who is going to back you, how you're going to reach them, and the real story behind your project.

4. Be realistic with your goal

If your goal is too high (and there’s a formula for that, check the next tip), scale your project back. Maybe use your campaign only to fund part of the project. On the other hand, if your funding ends up much higher than your goal, scale that puppy up! Girl Walk // All Day  was originally a one city music video – it ended as an international dance tour.

What Should Your Goal Be?

How big is your network? Often most of your backers are straight out of your immediate network, so do some soul searching, and apply liberally to this calculation:

Your Realistic Kickstarter Goal = Average Pledge ($71) X Number of Backers Expected

Most Important Social Media for Publicizing Your Project

Facebook. The top traffic producer is direct email links, but Facebook is the second. If you're running a Kickstarter project, you can access traffic information in your dashboard.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Try again. Really. You’re likely to be successful the second time around – most projects learn enough about the process that when they relaunch, they have success.


Don’t Think Funds, Think Faith

Above all else, “take off your fundraiser hat”. This isn’t about investing funds – you’re asking your backers to invest their faith in you, in your project, in your organization. This is an opportunity to engage and reach out to your community. Don’t think of it as a grant – a Kickstarter campaign is a living project that changes as it goes on.

For some more amazing tips, watch our video with Stephanie Pereira and check out the Kickstarter staff blog. Good luck!