Here is the entirety of the response posted today by Susan Wilson, the woman who launched the project to fund her 9 year old daughter’s trip to RPG STEM camp. Check back tomorrow for our take on the matter.
1. The campaign launched late Thursday evening.
Please note AGAIN this campaign was approved by Kickstarter. If you have a problem with that, contact Kickstarter. On my end, as soon as it became apparent this campaign was resonating and we were going to surpass our goal (which was literally within 24 hours of it launching), I reached out to Kickstarter and people smarter than me (women in tech/gaming community) for their advice and guidance on what to do next?
Remember, this was a weekend project for my daughter and I for $800. We had no grand plan. And there were no big rewards initially. I was being told to add stretch goals and additional rewards because backers sensed something was happening and they wanted to allow room for that to happen. And while a few backers expressed an interest in Kenzie’s future (which I appreciate), I always knew the money would not be spent on my family and certainly not on Kenzie’s college fund (both are clear KS violations and would simply be a bad use of funds given what the crowd was trying to do). Kenzie’s campaign was to create an RPG Game – period! And she’s still jazzed to do that.
And while I appreciate the backer’s enthusiasm with respect to Kenzie’s future, if you’ll get to “the truth,” you’ll see I never expressed any interest in keeping the extra money. I immediately knew the extra money had to go to something bigger because it was clear something bigger was happening. And the truth is I knew I wasn’t qualified to figure it out alone.
THAT WAS FRIDAY! It’s only been a few days and most people aren’t even working on the weekend. But while the haters went for horrible personal attacks and death threats against me and my daughter, I found some great advisors to figure out the best thing to do with the extra proceeds and the campaign over the next twenty something days so that it can do something GREAT for girls (and boys) in tech and gaming.
2. Here’s the email I sent to Kickstarter Friday, March 22:
Mar 22 11:37 (EDT): My daughter Mackenzie and I have a live campaign that’s taking off. It’s good and bad and I’m working through the negative comments. I’ve been asked about stretch goals but I don’t want to violate any kickstarter rules. I’m hoping for some guidance b/c this campaign is becoming bigger than just being about Mackenzie and I want to maximize the opportunity to do the most good (without breaking any rules). I’m being approached by Adobe, Discovery and some other amazing people and I want to do the best I can with this to help Kickstarter too. So I’m really looking for some one-on-one help with this project at this point to figure out what next steps should be? PLEASE???!!!!!!!!!!!
3. And here’s the response I got directly from Kickstarter on Friday, March 22:
Mar 22 17:50 (EDT): hi Susan, This is john from Kickstarter. I sent out an email earlier in the day, I’m not sure you’ve seen it yet. I’m attaching it below for your reference – let me know if you have questions and I’ll be happy to help you out. hi Susan, This is John from kickstarter, we just wanted to get an email out to you with some quick thoughts. First of all – let me just say congratulations. This is an awesome project, and we love seeing such a positive outlook on creativity and ambition geared towards young people. You’re a very cool mom for helping her out…A couple of specific thoughts on what you can do to make the project more manageable: You don’t have to create stretch goals. It’s completely optional. If Mackenzie has something she wants to do for backers to show her appreciation that won’t be a burden on her and your family, she can do it. But please don’t feel obliged to create stretch goals…Finally, for all the folks in the comment section nitpicking, there are exponentially more that are rooting for you, Mackenzie (AND her brother!). You can count the folks at kickstarter in that crowd. Please let us know if you have any questions, John
AGAIN, I want to say the extra proceeds WILL NOT be kept by my family. What will happen with the money? I don’t know yet. But smart people are trying to figure out the best use to do the most good for the most people. It’s been a weekend. Give us some time please!
Though I don’t think it’s anyone’s business, to protect my daughter’s life, I’ve decided to disclose I don’t have a million dollars in the bank, I’m not rolling in cash and I’m not a highly paid business woman. Frankly, I’m unemployed at this very moment! Rumors or statements to the contrary are outright lies (TRUTH SEEKERS, here’s another to latch onto). Trace them back to their origin and find the “truth”…please! I don’t know why or what anyone hoped to gain but my hunch is someone latched onto something someone else said and took it to be a fact and then assumed the worst. That’s sad. And wrong!
Have I been successful in business? Yes, but success doesn’t equal wealth – particularly for women AND especially for female entrepreneurs. Do some research and get the real facts about female entrepreneurs!
Haters have been promising the truth will come out and I HOPE IT DOES! The picture of me with Warren Buffett is when I received an award from FORTUNE Magazine for being a Top Ten Female Entrepreneur – a judgment you’ll have to ask Pattie Sellers at FORTUNE about because it wasn’t a selection of the wealthiest female entrepreneurs – just the ones that were working hard to make a difference.
I certainly won’t apologize for my success! Nor will I apologize for making a small bet on roulette SEVERAL YEARS AGO and against all odds, winning big and then marching my butt over to the Christian LouBoutin boutique to buy a pair of the coveted shoes. I’m a 43 year old wife and mother of 3 and those self-indulging moments don’t happen often.
I have always been and remain intrigued and passionate about the power of the crowd! Why? Because it allows regular people to come together and do great things. Period! The crowd put this campaign way over it’s goal – not me and certainly not my 9 year old daughter. FundHer is a reflection of my passion with respect to women and entrepreneurship. And though I started FundHer as a passion project several years ago, it never got any traction and to date has garnered less than $100 in donations over several years but has given away far more. I encourage truth seekers to research this thoroughly because once again, I LOVE THE TRUTH! As for FundHer, I like the name, I use the email and I tweet because I remain hopeful that one day something will “pop” and FundHer will get some traction. I certainly didn’t manipulate this into happening with Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform and FundHer is a website. They are very different entities and engines.
Kickstarter is about the power of the crowd and though you might not always like what the crowd says, you can’t push the “It’s not Fair” button when you disagree. Though I’m not in the 1% club, I do find it sad many think Kickstarter should only be used for the downtrodden and the poor because it has the power to extend far beyond.
Kickstarter and crowdfunding have the power to change the way money is moved, allocated and ultimately shared. Veronica Mars raised millions recently which clearly proves what Kickstarter is about and capable of showing. It may flip the movie industry on its heels. Who knows? Monte Cook and indie game developers have certainly shaken up the gaming world via Kickstarter. And that’s the point! Did anyone know that would happen? No! And it could just as easily have gone the other way. It takes guts and courage to put yourself out there. But these people realize questions today are often far more powerful than answers.
I hope the backlash I’ve experienced doesn’t stop others from having the courage to put themselves out there, asking new questions – questions the crowd has the power to answer. The alternative is the status quo and that would be a sad use of the amazing advances we’ve seen in social networking and technology.
In closing, for the people that feel so violated by this campaign, I’d think the death threats against a 9 year old and her mother would resonate with your sense of justice as well. Perhaps in your free time you can research these two threats in particular and follow up with the FBI because I’m certain death threats, slander and libel are against the law (which equals even BIGGER violations of Kickstarter’s Terms of Service & Guidelines)!