Someone form Croatia contacted me wanting me to answer a lot of questions about my experience with Kickstarter as they are thinking of getting it in Croatia. I did not have time to answer all the questions so I gave her a synopsis. I thought some of the points may be helpful for others as well so I am sharing my email to her below:
I spent one month researching all past campaigns of Kickstarter in dance and other areas as well. I looked for the commonalities of the successful ones and the unsuccessful ones. It is important to find the goal amount that matches the strength of your existing fanbase and the quality of your past work based on experience and recognition. Asking for what you need is not a good enough basis for establishing your goal amount.
In the video and the text, it is important not just to describe your artistic vision but to explain in the language of your audience and fanbase. Dancers more than many other the artists have a tendency to be a little self absorbed. Best advice I ever received from an artistic director of a major dance company was “what feels good doesn’t necessarily appear good to your audience”.
I think some people make the mistake that the general public and Kickstarter subscribers will become backers but I found that when it comes to the arts, 99% of the backers are existing fans, family and friends who are familiar with your work. I found 50% of the backers not wanting anything in exchange and 50% backed based on what they would receive in exchange. Even the 50% that backed without wanting anything in return were family, friends who already supported by offering donations, volunteer hours and attendance at all productions.
The video needs to be compelling in the first minute or interest is gone – do not save the best for the end. Keep text to the minimum essential important points. Visuals are better for arts campaigns. Kickstarter website had great advice for running a good campaign. I read their instructions on every aspect several times and implemented all of their advice.
The campaign was a full time job for a month for one person and some help promoting from other members involved in the project and now there is more work to be done to get the backers their rewards. Two months in total if you include research time and video shoot and setting up campaign. The time was worth the good amount we received (asked for $12,000, received over $15,000). However, it should made clear that the work to receive such an amount began 20 years ago with producing valued work and inspiring audiences at home around the world.
Hope this helps,