The Power of Asking

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A good friend to Kickstarter once shared an anecdoate about a poll where respondants were asked why they had not given to charity the year before. Something like 95% said it was because they were never asked.

Now part of this is being self-serving — how many of those folks would have simply said “no” when asked? — but there is an indirect truism here, especially when it comes to Kickstarter.

When you are involved with a project on Kickstarter the most important thing to know is that you’re not going to get anywhere without asking for support. It’s on every project’s creator and backer to get the word out, however they can.

Today a new project went up called “Produce My Play” about a guy raising money so his local children’s theatre troupe could put on a show. (It sounds suddenly like a Christopher Guest movie; it’s not.) It was posted by a guy named Haden Polseno-Hensley, one of my oldest and closest friends in the world. I know his play will be successful and I know his project will be successful. He’s a really effing smart, capable dude.

But there’s another reason why I know Haden will succeed. Because tonight, about a half hour after his project went live, I — and about 30 other close friends and family — got this email from Haden:

I recently wrote a play for my local theater children’s theater. I’m in the process of trying to help the theater become nonprofit, but until then, they have to rely on private funding for sets, costumes, performance space rental, etc. If you follow the link below, you will find my new post on a unique fund-raising tool called Kickstarter, which was recently launched by my friend Yancey Strickler. Thanks for your time and hello to all of you (especially to those of you I haven’t seen in ages and now here I come out of the blue asking you for money…who do I think I am…etc.)

PS. I’ve posted a very low quality video on the site. For some added entertainment value, note my stronger southern accent at the beginning.

A simple sentiment, honestly stated. It’s going the extra mile to write emails like these so that the people who know you best, who are most likely to support you and tell their friends and family about you, can pitch in. It’s an important part of launching a successful project. Just ask Laura Kicey, who has raised $490 in a day all by getting the word out about her project to her friends.

It’s easy to get tempted by the lure of “going viral” and striking it rich. But those things don’t happen often, and when they do, it’s almost certainly happening to the folks who put in the extra time to spread the word, beat the bushes for their cause. If you can do that, you can be successful on Kickstarter.