Many people don’t know it, but there’s a kind of peculiar crowdfunding campaigns. They’re not usually the vast majority of cases, but they tend to occur without good results. It’s known as “pet project” and many of them become campaigns that don’t succeed. Today we’ll analyze the subject and discover what’s it about. And how can you avoid it.

What’s a pet project?

To begin with, we must define what we’re talking about. According to Wiktionary, a pet project is “a project, activity or goal pursued as a personal favorite, rather than because it is generally accepted as necessary or important.” But this makes one wonder, is it wrong to pursue a project that we personally like?

In general, there’s nothing wrong with it. Except when it comes to something in which we engage meticulously and capriciously. Imagine someone has an idea that instead of being born from authentic passion, came out of a fantasy. Something that you want to do to satisfy a whim. That’s what the pet projects are about. Now imagine that someone wants not only to make one, but to finance it through crowdfunding.

Your risks in crowdfunding

A pet project isn’t a term exclusively used for crowdfunding campaigns. It can be defined as any type of goal or objetive from several areas. But it doesn’t mean that one cannot become a campaign. This is particularly dangerous, since it entails losing the trust of the people. To insult the intelligence of the public is always a fatal mistake. Since if an idea isn’t genuine, it’ll hardly get money.

This usually happens particularly with celebrities. It’s not bad that a famous person wants to run a crowdfunding campaign, but in these cases people have more misgivings. There’s the case of the American actress Zosia Mamet, whose crowdfunding campaign to finance a music video was unsuccessful. Some suspected that it was a pet project and theorized that the failure of the campaign was due to this.

Darci's Walk of Shame
Celebrities are usually the most accused to carry out this kind of campaigns. Like the American actress Melissa Joan Hart, who tried to finance a movie with a goal of  $2 million but wasn’t a success. Source: Entertainment Tonight

Speaking of more particular cases

The case of celebrities is that it’s always assumed that they don’t really need the money. Either because they’re wealthy people or because their ideas lack authenticity. But in the case of non-famous people, the effect can be just as negative. Although to tell the truth, the “negative effect” implies driving away the interest of the people. How? Proving that the campaign is a whim and not something of true value.

Let’s put a radical case. Remember Zack Danger? The man who created a campaign to finance the preparation of a potato salad in 2014. He started with a goal of $10 and ended up raising about $50,000. How is this possible…? First of all, the campaign managed to get people’s attention because it made them laugh and it showed that it didn’t really expect to raise a lot of money.

kickstarter potato salad zack danger
The success of a crowdfunding campaign lies in its ability to encourage people. As Zack Danger did unintentionally. Source: Toronto Star

Everything that started as a joke in one way or another won the hearts of the people. It wasn’t a pet project, it was something that its creator didn’t take seriously. On the other hand, a pet project in crowdfunding is a campaign whose creator wants to be taken seriously but which only seems to benefit them the most. This is what many criticize as “wanting to try to milk people’s money” out of pure personal wishes.

If you really want to ignore all this and finance a pet project, you can do it. Don’t forget that you’ll have to give people good reasons to contribute. And above all, convince people. In this case, if you suspect that your campaign looks like a pet project, consider making some changes. Focus the campaign more on what the people would like and on something that motivates them to give contributions. Always check your campaign before publishing it.

pet project crowdfunding campaign
Even if you’re not a celebrity, you should always take the time to review your crowdfunding campaign. Making sure you have passion and authenticity. Do you have everything you need to reach people…?

We thank you very much for reading this entry, we hope you liked it! We invite you to share it with your friends. So you give them something interesting to read and help us reach more people.

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Think very well before creating a campaign!