I feel like I just finished a sprint, the race is still going but we’ve already won. I had no earthly imaginations that when I drafted yesterday’s post about our DS106 Kickstarter project I’d be able to write an update saying we were fully funded just 24 hours later (19 hours actually). What has happened is a true testament to the power of the community and the commitment to keep this thing not only alive but strong. To build and grow and connect in new and greater ways. You all kick some serious ass.
I should also take a moment to mention the large number of “unknowns” out there. It seemed like every 15-30 minutes we’d throw out a name of a recent donor to see if anyone knew who they were. I expected the DS106 community to step up (and they went above and beyond), but I never could have imagined that strangers who believe in what we’re doing would come forward to give generously.
Before we began this I was excited to see what was going to happen, to analyze to death the stats, the momentum, the psychology of donors, all of it. Perhaps it’s a bit tacky to talk about this stuff before it’s over, but I think the last 24 hours represents a pivotal moment for the campaign so I wanted to break out some of those stats while they’re fresh.
When Jim and I began brainstorming reward tiers and how to price things we planned on a graph that would look very much like the one above. The t-shirt was going to be the most popular item and although we originally had the calendar at $25 and the shirt at $50 we decided to swap those two. Because of that I assumed we’d have a high number of t-shirt orders, but lower numbers of the higher tiers. What did throw me off was how strong the $50 and $100 tiers are. We were conservative in our estimates but you all have blown those away. At the moment the average donation is $48.78
Social media has played a huge role in the momentum of this campaign. $2,421 of the total given so far was backed as a result of people who came from Twitter alone, making up a little over 40% of donations pledged. Facebook, Google Plus, and a few blogs made much smaller marks with 1-3 donations each. Another notable driver appears to be the Chronicle article, which has brought 18 donations making up 10% of the total money earned. Press never hurts in a Kickstarter campaign but I had more expected folks from the Chronicle article to tell others rather than directly donate.
So where do we go from here? We have 16 days remaining on our Kickstarter campaign. In hindsight we may have made that length too long (or maybe our goal was too small?) but at the time it made sense to give folks on a biweekly pay schedule some time to come up with money for a donation. Jim and I have talked a bit about what we could do if the campaign continues to bring in new donations. At the time of this writing we’re already almost $2,000 over our initial goal so some of those dreams will become realities.
The DS106 Radio server is just one opportunity. That has been funded in part from the telethon we held last fall, but I have no doubt Grant Potter may be footing much of that project still. It will be great to give him the money to run it for the next year, and maybe build on it with some new and interesting developments. Imagine if we hired someone to develop iOS and Android apps to broadcast directly to DS106radio bypassing any need to put settings in. iOS users comfortable in Papaya are used to this, but Android users are still left a bit in the dark and for both sets of users there is a long list of settings to get that going. Just one possibility.
Heck, speaking of mobile apps what about a mobile app for DS106? What would that look like? Could we develop a fluid way to view digital storytelling work that feels like Flipboard?
Another area of DS106 that sorely needs attention is the whole process of signing up and getting fed into the site. We use FeedWordpress and Buddypress in conjunction to build that community architecture, but the two don’t play together and setting it up is a manual process that we could pay a developer to make more seamless. And of course those kinds of things benefit not just DS106 but the larger open online community of learners because we can open source those changes and help build a better framework for running these types of courses.
I know Jim has a lot of amazing ideas for what’s possible and will likely blog about them soon, but all this is to say to those that have given “You guys are amazing, incredible, generous, and kind people” and for those still deciding if it’s necessary “Yes, we can use you to do some incredible stuff in the next year. Your donation would not be a waste.” The last 24 hours has been a wild ride and I’m blessed beyond belief to get to play along with you all. Thank you thank you thank you. Let’s keep making art and magic.