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How important are "coins in the hat"?

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I've just recently started a Kickstarter campaign for our animated science fiction web series Lunatics. This is my first Kickstarter attempt, and it's off to a bit of a muddy start. We're about 3 days in, and so far, there's just been a trickle of support.

This has made me wonder if this is what I should have expected, a sign that I'm doing something fundamentally wrong in my presentation, a sign that the project itself will not be very popular, or that perhaps I'm jumping the gun, trying to do crowdfunding before I've built up enough of an inside following to support the project .

One thing I wonder about is whether a slow start has to do with the "coins in the hat" or the "empty restaurant" phenomenon. I know I'm a little superstitious about this, but I learned as a kid that when you put out a hat asking for donation, you always throw in a few coins "for luck".

In reality, what you're doing is defusing the fear that people have of going first. When somebody sees absolutely zero donated to a cause, it makes them wonder if perhaps there is some reason they shouldn't contribute. But of course, everybody starts from zero -- so somebody has to be first. With the hat, it's often the performer themselves.

But my question for today is, how does this work with virtual systems like Kickstarter? You're disallowed from contributing to your own project by "credit card rules" according to the Kickstarter instructions. But, of course, most people have a few people they know they can rely on for a little boost at the beginning -- how important is this "inside" funding, and how much should you expect to need?

Is it more about the absolute amount, or about the percentage? Does it matter that we were slow getting those first few coins in the hat?

Win or lose, I expect I will be doing Kickstarter campaigns again in the future, so  I'm hoping to learn as much as possible from the experience.

initiated Nov 26, 2011 in General Feedback by Terry Hancock (1,000 points)   3 4 10

1 Response

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Hmmm, I've contributed to a few kickstarter campaigns and never really paid any attention to the money in the pot (unless it was already over the required amount - in which case I'd think a bit harder).

But then, I never used to put any money in my guitar case when I was busking either so I guess this response isn't actually much use...
response added Nov 28, 2011 by drew stephenson (3,370 points)   3 10 22

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