Thursday, July 25, 2013

KDHX does a Kickstarter slam dunk [Now THAT'S how you do crowd funding]

On July 9th, the St. Louis-based independent radio station/media organization KDHX 88.1 FM launched a Kickstarter campaign for $50,000 to complete the performance space portion of their new building. With the exception of some gaming-related Kickstarter campaigns, this was the largest Kickstarter attempted in St. Louis to date.  This morning, they passed their goal.

Here are 5 things that I think made this campaign a shoo-in (which, if you want to see it, I called the day they announced it in a timestamped email - I'm not just jumping on the bandwagon here :))

  1. The have a well defined existing and active community. They are, by definition a community. KDHX content is created by volunteers. People passionate enough to donate their time for something they believe in. And their content is music, arts and entertainment, products which have fans, people passionately connected. 
  2. Their community is digitally savvy. They are a radio station as much a digital property. Their website and social channels are robust, well used/followed and well integrated. 
  3. They articulated their project clearly and tied it in succinctly with everything that they are. They are in the process of completing a move to a new building, huge undertaking, but they focused the project on the stage. The public part. The part that those supporting it would get to use. Their campaign video articulated why they are different, why they are valuable, what they add to the landscape of St. Louis and its music scene. 
  4. They treated it like a campaign. It had a strategy. It had commercials. It had a PR effort. It wasn't just a daily drone of "donate now!" it was a conversation, it was fun, it had an event, it had commercials - it gave its advocates something to engage with and tools to engage others in their behalf. 
  5. They partnered. For prizes, commercial appearances, events and shout outs, they called upon some of their community to be part of the DNA of the project. 
There's been a lot of whining and complaining about crowd funding as of late as celebrities turn to these platforms to fund their projects. In my opinion that whining and complaining misses the point, which is that these platforms aren't one-way entitlement machines, they facilitate a conversation and engage communities and individuals around the making of things. It's not enough to just throw your project up, expecting the platform to be some magic pill. 

Because, really, the platform is merely a tool. A tool to leverage and expand on something and someones who are already and primed to be connected to your project. And that is where KDHX hit a massive home run. Congrats!