How do you approach your annual or recurring projects?
I'm wondering if other people are using Kickstarter for annual project fundraisers and how it's working out.
I have a web series that we funded twice through Kickstarter. We make localized political satire so it's somewhat seasonal and fairly niche, an annual fundraiser makes sense in our case. The big thing I noticed the second time around was a lack of urgency. It seems like it's an uphill battle to get people into a project the second time around... or perhaps that's a referendum on the individual project? What are your experiences with recurring funding? What is some advice you might have for people trying to build and sustain an annual project?
I may be unique, but I view projects that do annual campaigns for the same project as poorly run businesses. I might cut you some slack if you do a second, but I won't support a third. I view Kickstarter as the place for raising the seed money you need to start something new.
My view on this is probably tainted by the fact that I run a monthly science fiction magazine and podcast that I have been trying to turn into a full-time career. Feast or famine fundraising just doesn't make sense to me (nor does the stress of an annual campaign). I think it is more important to build stability and with recurring projects, the natural way to do that is with subscriptions or recurring pledges. I save Kickstarter for new initiatives. For example, last year, we launched a campaign to help us fund the addition of Chinese translations to each issue. If that campaign failed, the project, not the magazine, would have been a bust. In the campaign, I promised not to return to Kickstarter to fund year two. That gives me one year to secure the recurring funds through expanding my business in a traditional way.
I love Kickstarter, but it's not always the best tool for the job. I think something like Patreon is better suited to funding the second, third, etc. year of a project. You can leverage each audience to promote or support the other and switch the Kickstarter campaigns to moving you forward rather than sustaining what you have. I think those types of KS projects are more exciting to your community.
Hello! I've done a bunch of recurring things for zines and books. I'm currently funding the third volume of my Bikes in Space feminist bicycle science fiction anthology. It mostly helps to develop each thing so that it can stand alone. If you're just running off the brand of your ongoing project, that'll always have diminishing returns. But having a new theme or angle each time will attract new people + keep your existing base engaged. Developing each thing as something that can stand alone if it needs to will also help with non-kickstarter promotion of your products.
This time my theme is Pedal Zombies. Will it work? I don't know yet!
If you already have a base and just need people to pay dues / membership, there are better (cheaper! less stressful!) ways to do that than Kickstarter.
Speaking in general (not just Kickstarter) I definitely think only the best creations deserve a sequel. But I have seen some sequels (books, films, photobooks and other projects) that were as good as the original (again, not speaking specifically of Kickstarter.) I would contemplate a sequel very carefully, based on some established criteria rather than doing it out of a lack of new ideas.