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.)
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.
Along 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.
Hi everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Minnesota Public Radio will be doing a short follow-up piece to their December 2012 story tomorrow at 9:50am Central Time. You can listen to MPR live here or tune into the site later — we’ll put up a link once it’s posted.
Also! Check out Margaret’s guest post on the Scifund Challenge blog. The Scifund Challenge is a group of dynamic and dedicated scientists trying to bring science to you through outreach, citizen science, and crowdfunding projects.
Finally, Margaret and I will be at the Ecological Society of America conference all week – so if you’re here too, please come say hi!
Happy Monday 🙂
I recently returned from Serengeti with all of my limbs intact and hard drives full of camera photos in tow. The images on these drives comprise Season 6 – the season I welded spiky nails to the cases to discourage hungry hyenas from chomping on them, didn’t get stuck every 3 days for a change, and also my last trip as a Ph.D. student. (Now I’m back in Minnesota trying to make sense of all the data and write my dissertation!) The Season 6 images are slowly making their way through the cloud to the Zooniverse team, and we’re expecting to have them online by the end of the month.
Unfortunately, things are not all butterflies and rainbows for us. In fact, Season 6 will mark a rather dire situation for Snapshot Serengeti. As Margaret wrote back in May, our National Science Foundation funding has run out – and our application for renewed funding was rejected. Unless we raise enough money to keep our Land Rovers limping along, our cameras will turn off, and we’ll lose our secret window into this incredible world.
The good news is that we have a plan. Today we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, our first step in keeping the project going. We are asking people around the world to help us raise money to keep the Snapshot Serengeti cameras clicking for another three months after our funding ends in September. That will get us to the end of the year and give us a Season 7.
So, if you love Snapshot Serengeti and are able to contribute something, we’d love your support. And check out our perks. We’ve got some fun ones you might enjoy! If you’re unable to help out financially, please spread the campaign link around to your friends and family. The more people we reach, the more likely we are to make our goal. The link is
And meanwhile, happy hunting in Season 5. Thanks!