SciFund week five: in the homestretch

Jai Ranganathan

#SciFund Challenge projects close on December 15th: a little more than two weeks to go! How are the projects doing? We have now cracked the $60,000 mark across all projects. Amazing! What a testament to all of the work that SciFunders have been doing to get the word out.

#SciFund contributions
#SciFund Challenge contributions as of Nov. 29 (click for larger version).

As you can see from the graph above, the pace of contributions has slowed down a bit in the past week or so. This is to be expected, considering the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, there tends to be a lull in contribution activity in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign. The crowdfunding site Kickstarter found that most of the contribution action for their projects takes place at the beginning and end of campaigns.

Distribution of Kickstarter contributions
Contributions to Kickstarter projects mostly come at the beginning and end. Click for larger image.

So, we can expect a big spike of #SciFund contributions ahead, if we continue to get the word out. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline!

In other fabulous news, 1108 people have contributed to #SciFund projects, as of this morning. To me, this is the most astonishing fact so far about #SciFund. Together, we are disproving the old canard that science is only compelling to a tiny club of eggheads. Well over a thousand people – of all stripes and backgrounds – have already donated because they were compelled by the scientists of #SciFund and by all of our amazing stories about science.

Can we hold on to these backers of our science once the Challenge is over? Is it possible to increase the number of people who we are touching with our science message? The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes, if we continue to reach out to people – not to ask them for money, but to share our incredible science stories with them.

Take, for example, SciFunder Kristina Killgrove, who is behind Ancient Roman DNA. She has been posting regularly for years at Powered by Osteons, her anthropology blog intended for general audiences. It’s no surprise that Kristina’s project is just about to crack the $10,000 mark, as she has been sharing the wonder of anthropology with lots of people for a very long time.

But reaching out to audiences doesn’t have to be done just with blogs. For some SciFunders, frequent public talks about science might be the right way to engage. For others, giving tours of nearby research sites might be appropriate. The bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter how we continue to engage with the supporters of our science – it just matters that we do it.