Project, Crowdfund Thyself

The anatomy of a successful Kickstarter campaign

Neuroscientist Stephen Larson wanted to make OpenWorm, the world’s first open-source digital organism, available for Web browsers. So he and a small team of scientists turned to crowdfunding. With four days left in a 30-day funding window, things looked grim: The project was only halfway to its $120,000 goal, and falling short would mean getting no money at all. The team rallied supporters, obtaining more than a pledge per minute in the campaign’s final hours. Below, three lessons to keep in mind for your own crowdfunding projects.

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* The 30-day OpenWorm campaign started and ended at 9 a.m. Because Kicktraq records campaigns’ statuses at midnight, 31 data points appear on this chart. Graphic by Katie Peek; Data courtesy Kicktraq and Stephen Larson
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Timing is everything. Galvanize support through social media at the beginning and end of a campaign, when most people are paying attention.

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**More time ≠ more money. **Extending a funding window only lengthens the lull in pledges seen in the middle of most campaigns.

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It’s not over till it’s over. Really. Hang in there.