Kickstarter just released a report on the projects launched and funded in 2012.
What happens when a state closes the park next door? California identified 70 of 279 parks to close to save $22 million. Are parks expendable assets or national treasurers? The First 70 documents the closing of the California state parks and the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign. What are you willing to save? How do your connect with those who share your belief?
The topic of fundraising receives proportionally less time than is actually committed by organizations on the typical nonprofit board meeting agenda. Most causes certainly report on their development/fundraising efforts but what does not get discussed is the amount of time the enterprise attributes to the effort of securing funding on a daily basis. What if our enterprises ran like a Kickstart campaigns? You complete a form, uploaded an introductory video, outlined your purpose and business plan and let the market place determine your viability? If you campaign reaches its goal, you are funded and proceed; if not you work on obtaining other sources of financial backing. The freedom that the Kickstarter model offers is tantalizing. You make a heavy investment in fundraising upfront but then have the financial security to move forward with your project, instead of making little steps in-between runs to solicit contributions. Nonprofits, politicians, artists, researchers, educators, and doctors should all be able to focus the majority of their time on their craft. Of course connecting with those who invested in your dream (and their dream) is vital but it should not keep one from practicing your talent.
How would your cause operate if you knew your revenue stream was secure for a year? What would it bring into focus that is currently blurry?
One of the great rewards that comes with investing in a Kickstarter project is that the updates from the project mangers are frequent, creative, meaningful, and typically deliver clarity about the impact of my investment. I think this model provides a template for many social sector organizations. I am often struck that a $50 investment in Kickstarter project provides me with a behind the scenes looks as the projects develops. It is not always pretty but you see inventors and creators sharing their journey. Compare this to a $500 contribution to a nonprofit that may get me a form letter recognizing my donation and perhaps mention in the annual report. Which one do you think a philanthropically minded investor is most likely to recall when it comes time to reinvest?