Analysis of ‘Save Snapshot Serengeti’

I did some analysis of what happened during our recent crowdfunding campaign that I want to share.

But first, I want to note a couple things that do not appear in the numbers. Several Snapshot Serengeti fans told us that they wanted to donate, but could not. This was because the Indiegogo site is set up to only accept major credit cards, and will not accept PayPal payments for campaigns (like ours) that send money to non-profits. As many folks outside the U.S. do not have credit cards, this was a barrier. We were unfortunately unable to figure out an alternative method of donation during the campaign, and as a result, a number of you couldn’t donate (or get the perks). And we’re sorry for that; lesson learned.

There were also several people who found our campaign after it had ended. They, too, couldn’t donate via the Indiegogo site. But we do have a webpage set up to accept any future gifts you might like to make. Donations go directly to the University of Minnesota Foundation; simply write “Snapshot Serengeti” in the text field after checking the “yes” box, and we’ll get the money.

And now for the numbers.

We raised $36,324 on Indiegogo, with 701 donors contributing. Of these 701, about a quarter (187) provided a mailing address for their perks. These 187 donors hail from 18 countries and 155 cities, most of them in the United States. We had donations from 27 U.S. states plus the District of Colombia. Here are some maps of where they are. Don’t forget that this is just a quarter of our generous donors! (And also, I just fell in love with MultiPlottr. It took me about a minute to make these maps.)


World map of (some) donor locations.

Close-up of the U.S. and Canada

Close-up of the U.S. and Canada

Close-up of Europe

Close-up of Europe

When we look over time, we see that some interesting things happened. This graph looks a bit busy, but hang in there while I explain it. (And many thanks to Rob Simpson, who helped put this graph together.) Click for a larger version.

DonationTotalsPerDayAlong the bottom, we have the days of the campaign, starting on July 14 and running to August 9. The dots along the lines are daily dots. The green line shows the total dollar amount raised that day, and you can see the dollar values on the left side of the graph. The red line shows the total number of (unique) visitors to the Snapshot Serengeti site on that day. And I got Indiegogo to send me the data on visitors to the Indiegogo webpage; that’s the yellow line. You can see the values for the red and yellow lines on the right side of the graph.

So what do we see? Here are some things I’ve noticed; maybe you can point out some others. Our initial donations came from our hardcore supporters in the first few days – those of you who read this blog or have liked us on Facebook. The National Geographic article that came out the same day was cool, but didn’t have any links to our campaign for several days.

On July 26, we sent out a newsletter to everyone who’s ever worked on Snapshot Serengeti, announcing Season 6 and our crowdfunding campaign. You can see an immediate uptick in donations (green line) that remains elevated for the next few days. Traffic to Snapshot Serengeti (red line) also increases, but not by a lot. On July 29, we got some coverage at KSTP, our favorite local Minnesota TV station, which may have contributed a little.

But the big event was the following day, when the Zooniverse sent out a newsletter to all of its users. You can see the impact. Lots of folks rushed over to check out Snapshot Serengeti (red line), some of them also checked out the Indiegogo page (yellow line) and 107 of them contributed $4,700 (green line).

All that activity, helped secure us a spot on Indiegogo’s front page on August 1. You can see that for the next few days, visits to our Indiegogo site (yellow line) – and funding (green line) – increased, while attention over at Snapshot Serengeti itself waned. This suggests that being on Indiegogo’s front page was useful and helped keep donations flowing.

On August 4, National Geographic gave us some more great coverage, this time with appropriate links to our campaign. And on August 5, a piece I wrote about the campaign was published on a blog that is frequented by scientists interested in crowdfunding. Both things appeared to give us a boost.

On August 6, we marked down the damaged camera traps, and had a bunch of takers. We also had coverage on BoingBoing the same day, but they initially linked to our About page, so I’m not sure how much impact that had on our fundraising.

It was August 8, our second-to-last day, that sealed the deal. We made Indiegogo’s top “Last Chance” projects. And the Zooniverse sent out another newsletter asking for help getting us the last part of the way to our goal. And the Zoonites (Zoonorians? Zooners?) responded. That day, 219 people gave almost $10,000!

Thanks again to everyone who contributed and also to those who tried but weren’t able.


Tags: ,

About Margaret Kosmala

I am an ecologist exploring the complex dynamics of plant and animal systems. I am especially interested in understanding how species communities change over time and how humans impact them.

3 responses to “Analysis of ‘Save Snapshot Serengeti’”

  1. momandpop71 says :

    hay I made a donation it was only a small one but I live in utah and there’s nothing on the state of utah but then maybe I didn’t give an address??

    • Margaret Kosmala says :

      Hi. Only people who gave their address to Indiegogo are shown on the map (about 25% of all people who made donations). For smaller donations, we only asked for your email address and not your mailing address. So it’s likely you didn’t give us your mailing address, and so we didn’t know where you were. But now we do! Thanks for representing Utah. And thanks again for your gift!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: