Before Twitter locked me out the other night, I was trying to participate in the Healthcare Crowdfunding Twitter chat, #HCCF. I’d mentioned that I’d learned so much about crowdfunding from supporting campaigns. That led to the obvious (in retrospect) question.
— Molly Lindquist (@ConsanoMolly) June 12, 2013
Interesting question! I thought other folk might be interested as well, as I stumble through some of my personal experiences with supporting crowdfunded projects.
Projects supported: 52
Types of projects: 2 art; 4 books; 1 event; 3 “feel good” or activism; 5 film; 3 folk I know; 1 font; 1 food; 6 games; 8 gifts; 5 health; 24 hobby ; 5 local; 2 music; 6 science; 5 tech (most are in multiple categories)
Crowdfunding platforms: 44 Kickstarter; 6 Indiegogo; 2 other
NOTE: I did not actually crunch the numbers, so this is by 'feel'.
Success: 94% of the campaigns I’ve funded so far have succeeded. This does not include the 6 that have not yet concluded their campaigns.
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Why did I choose one campaign and not another?
Sometimes a friend asked me to fund their campaign, and I did. Other times a friend asked and I didn’t. Usually, I chose campaigns that had good swag for relatively small contributions, but not always. I like to contribute to small companies that might not make it in traditional ways. I like to feel that my small “widow’s mites” make a difference, have meaning, and contribute to something worthwhile. I don’t know if it is just me, but I want SOMETHING to show for my contribution, whether it is a bookmark, a download, a PDF, a postcard, a print, SOMETHING. When it is a campaign where it is ALL about the swag (what I’m going to get), I tend to choose campaigns that are providing something fun or inspiring. Something with beauty. Something that creates excitement and learning. Something that makes me feel like I want to write poems, make a quilt, play with my kids, talk to my friends.
For the science and research campaigns, I’ve tended to fund fewer of them, but at a higher level. Each one has been something I’m passionate about, and connects with my own personal life in some way. I funded a research project in how to diagnose a dread disease that I turned out not to have after all. I funded three science education projects on topics where I once wanted to be a professional in the area, and I still have love and fondness for them. I am a big fan of science crowdfunding projects that are ALSO crowdsourcing science projects. That intersection is very attractive to me. Not only am I helping to support new discovery in general, but I am also getting to learn and do something new myself, and usually getting some swag at the same time. Triple threat. I love those projects.
For health campaigns, they are even more diverse. That same diagnostic research project. Getting new health tech (smart thermometers, tricorders, that sort of thing). Developing a mobile health app I’ve always wanted. Projects that promote health literacy or provide insight into disability and stigma. I even contributed to two projects to fund medical treatment for someone without insurance. Did I know the person? One, yes, the other no. No? So why did I fund it? Good swag. Am I likely to ever see that swag? Nope. He had the surgery, but isn’t doing well. But I’m OK with that, and knew it was a possibility.
For both science and health campaigns, often I become a backer just to stay in the loop on the project. Yes, I pay $1 to join your email list and get the announcements. Surprising, isn’t it? Interestingly, I am more likely to read the announcements if I’ve paid a small amount than if I just click to join on the website. I am also less likely to click to join if it costs me even a small amount. I’m not sure how long this will be true. Paying a dollar to join an email list is not something I’m willing to do a lot, and I’m surprised how much I’ve done it already.
More information I’ve collected on crowdfunding:
Crowdfunding for Science (HOTW #AAASWebinar): https://etechlib.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/crowdfunding-for-science-hotw-aaaswebinar/
Crowdfunding for Science & Research: http://www.mindmeister.com/291752033/crowdfunding-for-science-research