Here we Indiegogo

Screen shot 2013-01-06 at 11.07.01 AMIn the fall, I wrote about plans to run a Kickstarter campaign to help promote and expand the reach of my news site. An update on that adventure is long overdue.

On the post about my plans, a friend commented and suggested I go the route of Indiegogo. I wish I had taken that advice sooner because that is what I ultimately went with. With Kickstarter, you only get to keep the funds you raise if you meet your goal — Lisa pointed out that Indiegogo lets you hold onto what you raise. You’re just penalized with a 9% fee to Indiegogo, rather than the 4% you’d owe them if you met your goal, upon the end of your campaign.

I deliberated for weeks on the elements of my Kickstarter campaign, which involved telling the story of my project and showing examples of my work. Kevin helped me make a video of me talking about the news site, and once that was edited, I submitted my campaign for Kickstarter’s approval.

It was curtly rejected two days later. You can’t use Kickstarter solely to promote something, especially a something that already exists. Kickstarter funds must be used, from what I gather, to create and distribute a thing: a film project, printed copies of a book or art print, etc. Discouraged, I resigned myself to putting my own money toward my needs, but I wasn’t sure how long filling them myself would take on a limited income.

Then I heard a local radio interview with the co-founder of Latitude, a non-profit that lets people come in to use their photography and digital media equipment. They were running an Indiegogo campaign at the time to purchase equipment. I remembered Lisa’s comment, and checked out the site again.

A few days later, I re-purposed my text, photos, and video from my rejected Kickstarter venture and launched my Indiegogo campaign. To my surprise, it didn’t need to undergo a review process, and off we were toward a $500 goal.

I have to admit, I didn’t do a great job of soliciting contributions at first. It felt a little uncomfortable because, unlike the funds I raised last spring for a 5K to benefit brain tumor research, the benefactor was my borderline-vanity project. However, an early and extremely generous donation from Kevin’s mom got me more motivated, and as of this past Friday, I have not only met, but exceeded, my $500 goal, with a week to go.

Now I can put together my Vistaprint order and plan a meet-and-greet event for my Facebook fans and their neighbors, hopefully getting more followers as a result. I ran a very successful Facebook ad campaign in December and nearly doubled my number of fans as a result, so I will probably fund one of those again soon to coincide with my event.

Things I could use help with and/or advice on:

  1. What kind of camera can I get for between $150-$200 that works well in low-light settings? Does it even exist?
  2. What kind of event should I plan? I had the idea of setting up a table in one or two locations within my zip code (most likely one in Lincoln Square and one in Albany Park) and handing out donuts and business cards. Does anyone do promotional events regularly? Do you have any tips for getting the attention of passers-by?

Ironically, I’ve been too busy promoting my site to spend the time I need to be actually generating content. It’s been a slow past few weeks for my site, but I am lining up some interviews and meeting coverage for stories for the coming days. Thanks to everyone for your support of this project! I wish I could find a way to make it my full-time job.

4 thoughts on “Here we Indiegogo

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