A backer commented:
Unfortunately, I think a contributing factor is the lack of material rewards at what I'd consider 'reasonable' pledge points. Starting at $100 for a single print, or $250 for a calendar isn't going to attract a very large pool.
I don't disagree that I'd probably have more backers if I gave away prints, books, and calendars at a lower pledge level. The problem is that I'm not just trying to find a reasonable price point for prints, books, and calendars, I'm trying to raise money to invest separately in exhibit prints, printing for calendars and books that don't have guaranteed buyers, a well-designed website, etc. So I had to find the levels of pledge at which I can send a free print, a free calendar, or a free book, and still result in a non-trivial amount of money left over.
These are fairly good prints, too (and not wallet-sized!), so I estimated I'll spend about $22 to print and ship each one. If I give away a free print for every $25 backer, I will end up with about $3 afterward. So if I actually need to net $6,000, I need to get 2,000 backers at $25 - or if I give away $22 worth of print and shipping only to $100 backers, I need 77 backers at $100 to net $6,000. I felt (perhaps foolishly) that I was more likely to get 77 backers at $100 than 2,000 backers at $25 - and I also felt I was more likely to have the time to ship 77 prints than the time to ship 2,000 of them.
Maybe there was a happy medium to be found here - a free print at $50? Then I'd need 215 backers at $50 to net $6,000.
The point has also been made to me privately that people are unlikely to pledge $25 or $40 in order to get invited to an opening in Brooklyn if they don't live in or near NYC. Another lesson learned. :-)
Either way, at 6% of my goal with six days left, I don't think we're going to make it this first time around, so I'll likely relaunch at some point after this run is over. Then I'll have to hope that everyone who pledged the first time will do so again, with a lower goal and more sensible reward levels - and that I can attract new supporters as well, even without the publicity provided by several web articles and blog posts that got published in late May and early June. I will be grateful to each and every one of you if, when I notify you I've relaunched, you spread the word to all your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or any other means you deem appropriate.
Thanks again for your support, and I hope we'll finally make it there next time!
Jeff, Topless New York