Friday, May 02, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

This year's Shakespeare is Universal fundraiser is off to a slow start, and I admit that I'm a bit stumped as to why.

Last year we made our goal, when I had no idea what I was doing. This year I took to heart the advice I got:

1) Focus on an image, not on text.  Done.  My friend Peter Phelan and I worked on a "cut him out in little stars" image of Shakespeare cast as a constellation, which we then decorated with many of Shakespeare's famous "star" quotes.
Buy a t-shirt, support cancer research.

2) Donate to charity. Again, done. I'm not going to lie and try to claim that this isn't a fundraiser - it is. I have costs to pay to keep my little empire running, and while there's a variety of dinky little ads on the pages, this is my one shot during the year to bring in enough to foot the bill (or at least put a dent in it). But this year I really wanted to get behind the "Shakespeare makes life better" mission and do something real with the money.  So yeah, I bumped the price and the goal a bit so that we're talking about a bigger chunk of money, because when we hit our goal I wanted to be able to send off a nice check. Whatever we get, should we meet our goal, a substantial portion of it is going to the American Cancer Society.

3) Advertise. Right now I'm paying up front to advertise my campaign. Usually I'm very averse to doing that, because if I drop a few hundred dollars on a campaign that fails to then bring in a few hundred dollars, well guess what? I'm out a few hundred dollars. That's like the opposite of fundraising, that is fundspending. But, nothing ventured nothing gained, right? I have to have confidence in my ideas and my mission and it's not going to be the end of the world if it doesn't happen. I'm going to be sad about it, sure, but it's not going to break me.

4) Not a fan of the black.  Check.  Lots of people told me that they don't really do black t-shirts. I had no choice to get started because the star background in our image was black. But that's been changed and colors are now available.

We were late on the design this year, I acknowledge that. I really wanted to get it out there for Shakespeare's Birthday, and while it was technically there, the initial image was not ready for primetime. I've since gone over it with the professional designers at Teespring (great, great company by the way.  Exceedingly helpful!) to create something that I think is an excellent final product. It also comes in a variety of styles this year, so you can choose from traditional, women's style, v-neck and long sleeve.  Each style has its own choice of colors as well.  My kids all have the red from last year, but I think I'm going to get blue for mine this year.

There's about a week and a half left on the campaign, so maybe we'll surge before the end, I don't know. Everybody I speak with says that they like it and are in for one, but I don't always see the numbers go up when they say that, so maybe everybody's waiting for something. If so, I'd like to know what. Is the number of pre-orders too low and you're waiting for it to get higher? That doesn't make any sense, your order is what's going to help it go higher for the next guy. If everybody thought that way we'd never get out of the single digits.

Maybe it's the image, which would be unfortunate. We wanted to keep with the "universal" theme, and the "cut him out in little stars" thing made a perfect opportunity.  The question is, does that translate into a t-shirt design. I think it does. It's subtle, but I like it that way. Makes the other person stop and pay attention to your shirt, instead of just giving it a passing glance.

Are you waiting until just before the deadline? Again, not really sure why. If we don't make the goal then nobody's getting charged, so it's not like you have to wait and see if we're going to make it. Failing to pre-order just makes it more likely that we won't hit it, so it's a bit self-fulfilling.

Even if it's not for you, for whichever of those or other reasons, maybe you could at least visit the site and hit those Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest buttons so your friends see it?  This game is all about eyeballs, and just because it's not for you doesn't mean your friend wouldn't love it.

Ok, rant over. I'm not going to whine and cry and imply that I'm going to shut the site down like I did last year.  Last year was something of an identity crisis, I completely admit. I was questioning whether there were enough people out there even listening to what I had to say. I know you're out there. This year I wanted to turn that into doing some good.  Maybe it'll still work, maybe it won't, I don't know yet.

Shakespeare makes life better.  Buy a t-shirt and support cancer research.

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