I recently had a Kickstarter campaign that failed, and I couldn't help but wonder if the main reason for that was because my target audience was people in their 20s.
The goal for the campaign was $4,500. The enthusiasm was there. On social media, it got hundreds of shares, thousands of likes, etc. However, something I noticed was that people just did not contribute, despite expressing interest in (even unbridled enthusiasm about) the project.
A comment I saw a lot was, "I'll definitely buy when it's published!" or "Tell me when it's published!" as if the Kickstarter being funded was guaranteed.
I also observed that people seem to think, "I don't (think I) have the money to contribute, but I'll share it!" When hundreds of people think this, then everybody passes it on with very few actually contributing. When I figured that money might be the problem (or a perceived lack of funds), I focused on emphasizing that even $1 contributions are helpful. (To be clear, I did have a $1 reward level.) That didn't work. Even though Kickstarter creators have outright said to not treat the site like an online market, I believe that that is the draw in most projects receiving sizable contributions. As in, most people don't want to contribute to a project unless they believe they will directly receive a valuable product in exchange. (Of course, it can be hard for a creator to come up with rewards that won't cause trouble later when fulfilling them - ya know, horror stories about successfully-funded projects not being able to give out the promised rewards.)
During the course of the campaign, I did try to create a sense of urgency. I posted limited time deals, etc. All that happened was the same as before: "This looks cool," "Let me know when it's published," "I'll share it."
When talking with my roommate about it, she thought it had to do with millennial stereotypes coming to life, i.e. "I'm too broke," "I don't want to make another online account," etc.
As a political activist, some criticism I hear thrown around is "keyboard activism" or "social media activist" or "hashtag activist" - directed at people who believe they're making a positive difference in the world by posting on social media. I tend to dismiss some of that criticism because, at least with political and social issues, sharing an article about a topic will educate people. Sometimes all of the difference can be made with enlightenment. But by doing this Kickstarter, I can really see how keyboard activism can create a false sense of accomplishment.
In this case, in order for the Kickstarter to be successful, it needed to reach $4,500. People actually needed to give money. People could read the campaign description itself or an article about it and think, "Wow, that's neat," but it actually won't make a difference in terms of whether or not the action was successful.
So much rambling, so many thoughts, but in a nutshell, this was what I was wondering:
1) How have you tried to target people in their 20s? What worked and what hasn't?
2) Do you believe that people view Kickstarter and Indiegogo as online shopping sites? How do you think that affects the crowdfunding community?
3) Do you think reluctance to contribute to a campaign but enthusiasm to share it on social media stems from keyboard activism?