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How to Get Someone to Donate to Your Kickstarter Campaign

Reading Rainbow

No, it wasn’t 80s nostalgia. It wasn’t La Forge’s famous visor. It wasn’t even the star power of LeVar Burton himself.

The “Reading Rainbow” page on Kickstarter raised a stunning $1 million in the first 11 hours because of a subtle feature that should impact your own crowdfunding or donation campaign.

The Opening 100 Words.

The introduction to a donation page is a gateway into a person’s heart, mind and pocketbook. Burton and the “Reading Rainbow” team realize if they can’t hook you right away, you won’t read further, engage with the mission and ultimately donate… EVEN on a project as warm and sentimental as “Reading Rainbow.”

The world moves at lightning speed today, and attention spans come at a premium. (See: How to Improve Everything You Write in Three Minutes or Less.)

Unless you first explain yourself in a concise, focused way, few people will give to your campaign.

OK, let’s dive in. Below are the first 100 words on the Kickstarter page for “Reading Rainbow” (technically 138 for those keeping score).

Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from ROOTS, or Geordi La Forge, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

You also may have grown up with me on Reading Rainbow.

It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could “go anywhere” and “be anything.” Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.

Over the past year, I have watched Kickstarter bring communities together to support artists and inventors. Again and again, I have been inspired by watching like-minded people team up to accomplish impossible dreams, and to change the world.

Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.

How “Reading Rainbow” Can Help Your Own Donation Campaign

Let’s examine the 138 words up above. LeVar smartly touches on three points to win your attention:

  • LeVar introduces himself so the reader connects with another person and not a company or concept, which is vague and unfeeling.
  • He explains his deep connection to the mission (“my mother… taught me”) and why it’s so important to him; again, to humanize the project.
  • The final line in bold clearly and unequivocally states the purpose of the campaign.

The “Reading Rainbow” people designed a beautiful infographic with facts and figures on childhood literacy. Yet without the brief, effective lead-in, the reader might drift away and never see the colorful information down below.

Plus, the creative Kickstarter rewards! Like $400 for LeVar to record a personalized voicemail for your incoming calls. Imagine if you never read about that!

Remember the Audience

You have a passion for a certain idea, product, movement or cause and plan to ask for donations. That’s wonderful. I hope everyone finds their purpose and fights hard to make it a reality.

Still, projects with the best intentions may go unnoticed if the writer fails to make an immediate connection with the reader.

Hone your first 100 words (never use this phrase), and use the opening lines to humanize the effort and make the reader feel something. (Oh, and the same goes for every cover letter.)

If you want our money, then first respect our time and attention.

And since I value yours, I’m done writing.

Here’s a little trip down memory lane!

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.