A panhandler asks you for some change outside the 7-Eleven, and you don’t give. If he offered you a walk-on role in a film he’s making, or if he promised to tattoo your initials on his arm, would you be more likely to donate to the cause? Or what if he’s trying to raise $6 for a sandwich, and you pledge $1, with the caveat that if he doesn’t meet his goal in an hour you get your money back?
It might be not be a viable strategy for the homeless and hungry, but on Kickstarter, a website for artists seeking to fund their projects, the incentive and money-back guarantee model has been working. Higher pledge amounts bring more exciting incentives, and potential donors know that if the entire amount is not raised (which would imply that the project cannot be completed) they are not charged.
Baltimore’s own Matt Porterfield is using the fundraising website to partially finance his upcoming film (set entirely in Maryland) I Used to Be Darker. The Sondheim Prize winner is asking for $40k, 40 percent of the film’s total budget. Over $27,000 has already been pledged, but if he doesn’t make the difference by Saturday, then it’s all a bust.
For I Used to Be Darker, incentives range from a thank you credit in the film ($5 pledge) to a thank you credit tattooed on the writer-director’s arm ($10,000 pledge). Learn more about the film at the Kickstarter page.