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Kickstarter and Dance Funding

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Sarah Kaufman has written an article in "The Washington Post" about the impact of Kickstarter in dance. The most striking numbers are:

Dance is the most successful Kickstarter category of all (and that includes theater, music, film, design and technology). As a result, $2.36 million has come into the dance world through Kickstarter.
“It is probable Kickstarter will distribute more money this year than the NEA,” [Kickstarter co-founder] Strickler told Talking Points Memo earlier in the year. He said the site was on track to funnel $150 million dollars to its users’ projects in 2012, which would top the National Endowment for the Arts’s $146 million budget for the fiscal year.


But less publicized is the fact that the odds are against you on Kickstarter. Fewer than half of Kickstarter campaigns succeed... More than 60 percent of film and video campaigns fail, for example.

Here’s where dance is different — vastly different. More than 70 percent of dance campaigns on Kickstarter succeed.

She then goes on to discuss why this is so, but it certainly bypasses traditional grant committees and large donors, exposing standards, taste, and levels of expertise to the marketplace.

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Very useful story, Helene. Thank you. I was interested in the question, WHY do dance-related projects succeed more than other projects. Kaufman does attempt to answer this.

Theories abound. Dancers generally seek modest sums. (Oleson’s goal was $4,000. She raised $4,030.) Strickler thinks the success has to do with “how community-based they are. A dance troupe is going to have maybe a dozen members, so there’s a lot of support around them.” Cast, crew and designers can spread the word of a Kickstarter campaign, widening the pool of possible donors.

I can see that these two variables -- lower cost, more people personally involved -- which would give dance-related projects an advantage over, for example, "film and video campaigns," with their 60+% fail rate.

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An interesting stat would be dance films/video projects. So far, I'm two for three as a backer, but that's a very small sample. I'm very sorry that Chelsea Wayant's post-production film project on NCDT wasn't funded; she was asking for a relatively modest sum.

A PNB dancer, Ezra Thomson, is trying to raise funds for a family-run cafe, and the goal is $75K, which isn't a lot for the business concept, but much larger than most dance-related project goals. It's more than twice the target for the Marcelo Gomes doc, which was marketed to his substantial fan base in the US, Brazil, Japan, and Russia, but it doesn't make sense to set too low a target, especially with 8% or so going to campaign costs.

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