A Tale of Classic Crowdfunding Overthinking: The Keytar Conundrum

Technically this project was a success, but Jay wonders why it didn’t do better.

It appears to me that this Kickstarter did exactly what it should have done considering it’s purpose (to buy a new Keytar).

For better results, Jay would have needed to consider these three key components:

  1. Purpose Worth Backing
  2. Flex Goals
  3. Clarity

Let me show you what I mean…

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”] VIEW PROJECT |  GOAL $2,500  |  20 DAYS  |  EMAILS 400  |  FB 686  [/box]


“While I’m glad we successfully funded, I honestly expected a much better response from the community.”

Jay raised $2593 of his $2500 goal to buy a Keytar for The Energy Commission’s keyboard player. You see, they’re an energetic band, and the poor keyboard player is stuck in one corner of the stage all night. That’s a problem that needed to be solved before their Chicago House of Blues show. That show needed to be, like, super legendary and extra energetic.

Your Project’s Potential Relies Heavily on Your Purpose

The Energy Commission has 400 people on their email list and 686 Facebook fans (as of today).

The size of their following can easily garner $4k to $10k with the right Kickstarter campaign, but this wasn’t the right campaign for hitting those kinds of numbers.

To me, the obvious limiter is the Purpose Worth Backing. If they were raising funds for a new record and needed $8,000, I think they would have gotten it.

Jay launched a pretty non-traditional campaign to buy a Keytar. Their community probably feels awesome about accomplishing the goal. After all, how much could a Keytar possibly cost?

Flex Goals Must Be Clearly Defined

Jay said that if they raise more, they can spend more on stage props and other stuff to make their shows even more awesome. But it’s not a true Flex Goal if you don’t give concrete details for the next tier of success. Hints and suggestions don’t work for this strategy.

If the Keytar was the $2500 goal and a 5 song EP was the $6000 goal, for example, we’d have ourselves a concrete Flex Goal.

Mandatory: Clear Purpose and Call to Action

Personally, I think this clever video, although very well produced and humorous, is just adding confusion to the mission at hand. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s a mock VH1 Behind The Music that takes place in the future, after this Kickstarter has already succeeded.

If it were half the length with the same humor and ended with a real person talking to the camera to explain exactly what the purpose is and exactly what viewers should do to help, I think that alone would have garnered an additional $500 to $1000 of pledges.

The Take Away

I see people putting WAY too much thought into their video. All too often it takes the focus away from:

a) the purpose of the project and
b) what the hell the viewer is supposed to do in order to support the cause (call-to-action).

I realize the need to be artistically congruent with your identity and what your fans have come to expect from you, but people who like to laugh still like to know what the f&*k is going on.

The Moral of the Story

Distraction free communication and laser focus is your friend when you’re trying to make a sale.

Also, If you’re expecting to raise more than your goal amount, ask yourself, what’s my fan expecting? At this point, you’ll realize that a Flex Goal is required in order to keep the viewer’s expectations for the goal in line with yours.



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