Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Ava DuVernay Won Ava DuVernay Won Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN Former 'Living Single' Castmates, Erika Alexander and Kim Coles, Launch New Web Series 'The BFF Chronicles' Former 'Living Single' Castmates, Erika Alexander and Kim Coles, Launch New Web Series 'The BFF Chronicles' Here's One Reason Why 'Selma' Probably Won't Win the Best Picture Oscar... Here's One Reason Why 'Selma' Probably Won't Win the Best Picture Oscar... What Critics Are Saying About 'The Book of Negroes' Miniseries, Which Premieres Tonight on BET What Critics Are Saying About 'The Book of Negroes' Miniseries, Which Premieres Tonight on BET Growing Resentment Of Oscar Campaigns Recalls Mo'Nique's Controversial 'Precious' Choice Growing Resentment Of Oscar Campaigns Recalls Mo'Nique's Controversial 'Precious' Choice Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed...

The Perfect Kickstarter Campaign? LeVar Burton's 'Reading Rainbow' Project Closes in on $3 Million

Photo of Jai Tiggett By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act May 30, 2014 at 6:26PM

LeVar Burton's Kickstarter campaign to fund a global digital version of Reading Rainbow has far exceeded its goal, with over $2.8 million raised at the time of this writing and 32 days left in the campaign.
2
Reading Rainbow Kickstarter

LeVar Burton's Kickstarter campaign to fund a global digital version of Reading Rainbow has far exceeded its goal, with over $2.8 million raised at the time of this writing and 32 days left in the campaign. 

Over 64,000 people have chipped in to revive the children's reading show as a web program that can be accessed by classrooms around the world. The fundraising team met their original $1 million goal in less than 12 hours, and have continued gaining support since. 

See Burton's reaction to meeting the fundraising goal HERE (thanks to Sergio for the link).

Celebrity crowdfunding has been the subject of much debate in the past year or so, ignited by the wild success of projects like the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter and Zach Braff's campaign for his film Wish You Were Here. In light of this most recent victory, it makes sense to look a closer look at the Reading Rainbow revival.

Dare I say, this might be the perfect Kickstarter campaign. Besides LeVar Burton's notoriety as an actor who's starred in a few successful TV series, the campaign has several other ingredients intrinsic to viral campaigns:

A built-in audience from the 23 years that Reading Rainbow was on the air, many of whom are nostalgic to see the show return. 

A funny, engaging and well-produced pitch video. While Burton could have simply appeared on camera with a straightforward ask, he and his team put work into entertaining people and bolstering their cause. 

Appeal to a real social issue that's timely and resonates with an audience. This is where the Reading Rainbow campaign diverges from many others. The team isn't simply looking to fund a celebrity vanity project. They're asking us to help teach the babies to read. And who can refuse that?

Cross-cultural and cross-generational appeal, as generations from young to old are connected to the Reading Rainbow brand, and the project is intended to be accessible to every child across the globe. If executed properly, it benefits everyone.

A well-designed campaign page with snazzy graphics, targeted facts and research demonstrating the issue of illiteracy and the need for the project.

Innovative technology. The reason for the project isn't just to revive the TV show, it's to respond to the needs of today, using digital media and the web to reach modern audiences in a way that works for them.

Aside from Burton's celebrity, all of these things - aligning with an established brand, creating an effective pitch video, appealing to a social issue, reaching a certain audience, etc - are best practices that can be achieved by smaller, independent crowdfunding campaigns on a proportional scale. So hopefully other content creators are taking note.  

While you could argue that special perks made a difference in Burton's success, the really high profile perks don't kick in until the $250 giving level. About 85% of the donors thus far have given at the $200 level or below, receiving perks like bumper stickers, calendars, t-shirts and digital downloads - the same rewards as most other campaigns.   

And speaking of other campaigns, I'd urge anyone giving to Burton's campaign to follow a practice mentioned by Tambay in a previous post - don't forget the little guy. If you're going to donate to a celebrity campaign, try to find at least one other, worthy non-celebrity project to donate to as well, a project that truly needs your funds. 

Here are a few campaigns to consider: 

Caroline's Wedding, a feature film adaptation of the novel by Edwidge Danticat 

Negrita, a documentary on the Afro Latina experience in the United States

Papa Machete, a short film about Haitian machete fencing 

Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project, a feature length profile of the famed playwright and activist 

Eye of the Storm, a 3-part multi-media project on the concept of self 

Find Burton's Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign HERE

This article is related to: Crowdfunding


Shadow & ActNewsletter