The donation drive I started at the launch of Dark Acre has died a dignified death.
I learned a lot running the campaign, and I was extremely nervous prior to launch. What if no one donated? What if it made me somehow look bad or damaged the embryonic brand?
For anyone interested in running a donation drive themselves, either via IndieGoGo, Kickstarter or even just with a PayPal button, I would first recommend looking at the amazing success of Andrew Plotkin.
If you don’t have the time or interest to read about it and just want it in a nutshell, here’s the common sense rundown of running a donation drive:
- No one gives money to anyone without getting something in return. Having good incentives that are valuable to the target donor are critical.
- No one will trust a large sum to someone on the Internet without social proof. As an unknown, I received the most support from those who knew me personally outside of the Web.
- Have a good story, preferably backed up with years of suffering and a real need for donation. If it doesn’t seem like you actually need the money, and have no where else to turn, it’s unlikely that the drive will motivate people to donate.
- Have a good video, regular updates and personal contact with donors. The successful drives all have faces with character attached and make the donors feel like they’re part of the activity they’re funding.
- Deliver on any promises made.
Having just graduated from school without a body of work behind me, I pretty much flopped the social proof requisite. I’ve been building steadily since, but a drive of more than a $100 clearly requires more effort and greater exposure than I was able to lend.
I purchased Unity 3D professional, offset by the $94 that was so kindly donated. Although I’ve gushed and groveled and praised so many times before, I can never thank these people enough. Their early support of Dark Acre has helped motivate and uplift in the difficult launch period, when confidence is the most fragile.
If you’d like some singular piece of advice regarding getting funding for whatever endeavor you’re undertaking, I offer this: Produce something small that supports your larger efforts, and give it away until the social proof begins to build. Then create something larger and more valuable, and try to capitalize on it. It’s far more rewarding to earn the money needed to fund larger projects than being reduced to begging.