Author: Danny Griffis, Studio Designer
Recently, #BringBackMST3K raised $5,764,229 and surpassed The Veronica Mars Movie Project ($5,702,153) to become Kickstarter’s most funded film and video project. In doing this, Mystery Science Theater 3000, a cult television show from 1988 to 1999, was able to bring back a full season of the show to new and loyal fans. The team at Mystery Science Theater 3000 was able to accomplish this goal in 30 days, all because of crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding has become what it is today because of companies such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, TeeSpring, Crowdrise, GiveForward, Spacehive and Kiva. These are all helped along by the constant use of social media to share projects and keep awareness of the projects trending. Users on Kickstarter alone have raised $2,157,437,856 for 98,994 projects.
As a company, how would you go about using crowdfunding?
There are a couple of different ways to use crowdfunding: rewards-based or charity-based. Rewards-based funding sites such as Kickstarter work with an “all or nothing” goal. This means that the person/company sets a goal and raises money toward that goal. If, at the end of the goal period, the goal is not raised, then the money is not collected from the users who pledged money. “All or nothing” goal projects have proven time and time again to appeal to a pledger’s interest, allowing the person pledging their money to have a guarantee of receiving the final product and not losing money to a fruitless goal.
Charity-based funding sites such as Spacehive seek to help improve local community efforts. This can be raising money for a new park, art space or community event. Charity-based funding allows an individual person or community leader to raise money for their cause. This funding has a goal, but it works on a “keep it all” basis. This means the organization or individual keeps whatever funds are raised, thus allowing the money to go toward the charitable cause. Local food banks and cause-awareness charities can use crowdfunding to gather attention on social media and help spread brand awareness.
Social media has become an integral part of crowdfunding over time with the help of hashtags and social integration. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was able to spread the word by using #BringBackMST3K. This connected people across the country and helped users easily find information about the campaign. This also allowed the word to spread about the campaign by introducing it to people not familiar with the campaign when they saw it on a friend’s social media feed or in the trending feed. Such a large number of people used the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook that #BringBackMST3K joined the top trending feed for weeks at a time.
When a person/company starts a new crowdfunding project, social media is foundational to the campaign. This will help increase awareness about the project and allow updates and information to be found in one place across all social media platforms. #BringBackMST3K used a Facebook group to release information and updates as well as answer questions about the campaign. They also used YouTube to share videos and do live-casts as the campaign counted down. During this live-cast, two of the final goals were reached, pushing donations beyond the original goal amount.
With the help of websites such as Kickstarter and Facebook, anyone can create a product and realize their goals, whether that goal is to relaunch a television show or raise money to renovate a local park. Mystery Science Theater 3000 shows us how a successfully run crowdfunding campaign can raise enough money to bring back a full season of a fan-favorite show from 16 years ago.
- “Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Kickstarter.
- “The Veronica Mars Movie Project.” Kickstarter.
- “Stats.” Kickstarter.
- Weisul, Kimberly. “In Crowdfunding, All-or-Nothing Campaigns Are More Successful.” Inc.
- Wu, Rob. “How to Use Social Media for Crowdfunding Campaigns.” Social Media Examiner, August 10, 2015.