Yes, you read that correctly, 2600%. The little Kickstarter campaign that aimed to raise $25,000 to create “the board game for little programmers” is about to pass $600,000 with still a few hours left to go.
Robot Turtles, the board game that sneakily teaches programming fundamentals to kids ages 3+ is the most-backed board game in Kickstarter history. Now, a big part of that success goes to the fact that the inventor of Robot Turtles, Dan Shapiro created a great product, but a significant part of that success also goes to a perfectly run crowd-funding campaign.
So, when trying to figure out what made this campaign so successful, I started with my own motivation. I’ve donated to Kickstarters campaigns in the past, but I never sent as many e-mails, posted as many facebook messages or simply talked about a campaign to as many friends as I did for Robot Turtles. Why?
I think there were two things that really stand out for me.
- My happiness was tied selfishly to the campaigns success. The majority of kickstarter campaigns I support are things that I have a vested interest in being successful (it’s my friend’s campaign, it’s a cause I’m passionate about, I REALLY want that Tesla museum built), but Robot Turtles took that a step further.Every supporter got a copy of the game and because as more money was raised, the better the game became; I selfishly wanted to help them succeed. The campaign made it clear how each new fundraising goal met, meant a better product for me. Pass $100,000… better quality game board. Pass $200,000… double-sided cards. Pass $300,000… longer game play, etc. etc. etc. Once I’d backed his campaign and pre-ordered my game, it was in my best interest to help fundraise on their behalf.
- Frequent, sincere, personal updates. I’ve never met the games inventor but I feel like I know Dan Shapiro personally. Nearly every day, supporters got a personal message from the campaign updating them on what goal we met, what new feature we’ll now enjoy and what meeting the next goal meant for the campaign and US. Yes, these messages were subliminal reminders to promote the campaign, but they were also very real, very personal updates from Dan and his passion to create the best Robot Turtles for all of his supporters.
Now, to be fair, not every campaign has something as tangible as a board game to get their supporters personally invested in. As my co-worker Paul (who introduced me to Robot Turtles) said, it might have succeeded mostly because “people who learned to program with an Apple II and LOGO Turtle graphics are the people with young kids now” and Dan Shapiro has a big social media network. However, I am certain that nearly every crowd-funded campaign, can learn a few lessons from Robot Turtles. It might not be enough to ask supporters to promote your campaign because they care about your cause. You may want to step back and think about how you can tweak your campaign, to ensure that your supporters become personally (and selfishly?) invested in your success.