Crowd Funding – There Already! – Part 8

Part eight of our Crowd Funding Series co-producer David Mandel talks about reaching the Kickstarter goal – early in this case – and what’s next and what could have been done differently (if anything).

1. You past the all-important 30% threshold in less than two days of your campaign AND reached your goal in 12 days. Did you wish you had set your funding goal higher?

I think there’s been a mix of emotions since hitting our goal. Obviously there’s a ton of joy and relief at how successful it is, and how quickly we accomplished it. But your question gets to the heart of those little nagging doubts we now have in the back of our heads – should we have set a higher goal? Will wrote me on Dec. 9th, at which point we had raised $8,030, or 80% of our goal: “If I may, I think we couldn’t have picked a better goal. We definitely don’t want to already have passed it, but we’re in no danger of not getting it.”

I think that hits it on the head. We’re really happy that we hit our goal, and although it’s the minimum we needed in order to finish the project, we’re still able to raise more via Kickstarter. As Kickstarter points out on their website: “94% of successful projects raise more than their funding goal.” (source: http://www.kickstarter.com/start.

We’re now trying to do everything we can to keep getting the word out and continue to raise as much as we can. By reaching our minimum, we’re guaranteed to receive the money, and that is a huge win for us.

2. Did you find that there were peaks and lows in the funding cycle? I.e. a lot of backers in the first day or two and then a leveling off?

You can see for yourself the ‘slope’ the donations took in the attached screenshot, which is of the project’s Dashboard – or central control for your Kickstarter project. This user backend of Kickstarter was actually just recently given a major overhaul, and is filled with incredibly useful information – including the various sources of donors (e.g. Google, Twitter, Facebook), and what percentages they make up of the total pledged.

Getting back to your question, we hit a bit of a plateau on Day 5, where we hovered around the $7,500 mark for a few days. On Days 7-8 we had only a couple of small donations. Then things picked back up again on Day 9, and by Day 12 we broke the $10,000 mark!

I suspect that a lot of Kickstarter campaigns have similar-looking graphs. Maybe they’re not quite as steep at the beginning, but I have heard about the plateau and about the sudden rush towards that goal-line as people notice how close you are and want to help you break through. To be honest, this all happened much faster than expected, and so we were still in the planning stages of some of our next steps when we realized they might not be necessary.

3. What is your strategy to keep the momentum going?

We’ve always considered this Kickstarter campaign to have two goals: one is the money, obviously, which is pretty important; the other is to start getting the word out about Mulligan, and now that we’ve hit the financial goal, we can start to focus on this. So we’ve begun to reach out to blogs and other media that cover independent film in the hopes of getting some press coverage for the movie. That would be a big win for us. We’ve also continued to proselytize on Facebook and have focused a bit more on catching up in the ‘Likes’ department.

Aside from that there’s our wonderfully original idea of releasing clips of the film on Kickstarter – I think/hope that this is part of the secret of our success. Every backer who pledges any amount gets access to several scenes from the film that we’ll be releasing over the next two months – that’s right, long after the whole Kickstarter campaign is over we’re going to keep sending out these clips. But the only way to access them is if you donate before the deadline. We hope that this, both encourages more people to donate between now and Dec. 31 – and that it allows us to keep in touch with our supporters and build momentum for our festival release(s).

4. How do you feel about over reaching your goal (other than the fact that “it feels good”)? Any reservations about the justification, let’s say?

If anything, it’s a relief that we can focus our energies on the other tasks we need to do for Mulligan. We’ve started submitting to festivals, which is a crazy process because once again we’re trying to meet deadlines and get out DVDs of a rough cut of the film – this was sort of the issue that caused the Kickstarter campaign to delay launching. We’re also starting to coordinate the post processes that the Kickstarter campaign is for: color-correction and sound.

But it’s great to be worrying about this stuff and not be ultra-concerned about Kickstarter anymore. I’ve stopped hitting ‘refresh’ on the Kickstarter page 3,982 times a day – I sometimes go entire hours without checking it now!

We do feel as though we can still raise a decent amount more than what we have now – we’ve raised about $500 in the last week, so we’ve definitely hit another plateau. I’m hoping that with a little bit of media coverage we can hit 150% of our goal – $15,000. We’re only $4,000 away from that, that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what we’ve already accomplished!

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