Follow the Rainbow: Reading Rainbow is a Leader in Kickstarter Success


I have fond memories of watching Reading Rainbow as a child, tuning into PBS to see the latest books LeVar Burton and his team of young readers recommended. Together, they inspired a generation of children to open their imaginations through reading. Now off the air for five years, Reading Rainbow is slated to make a comeback, but they have their sights set higher than public television.

Reading Rainbow recognizes that technology has come a long way since pint-sized Millennials huddled in front of the television to discover their new favorite reads. Children are now adept at navigating computers and mobile devices as if they were born with iPads in hand and in order to reach this new generation, Reading Rainbow knows they have to get on these platforms and in the classroom. Though they launched an iPad app in 2012, they now like to make their content (such as books and virtual field trips) available on desktop computers and to classrooms in need (for free)!

In order to make it happen, they took to Kickstarter to raise the funds they needed – $1 million, by July 1st. This goal was shattered more than a month before the end date, raising over $1 million by day’s end on May 28th. Currently, the campaign is at $1.75 million and counting with over 38,000 backers.

Writing the Book on Successful Kickstarter Campaigns

Reading Rainbow is by no means the first cause or company to raise funding via crowdfunding on Kickstarter. GoldieBlox launched with funds raised on the platform and Veronica Mars collected over $2 million to produce a movie continuation of the series. However, their case does give us some direction in creating effective campaigns on Kickstarter.

  • Entertain and Educate:

    The video promoting Reading Rainbow’s campaign leads with a silly bit where LeVar Burton walks into a school to film the commercial, finding students and teachers alike dumbfounded by his arrival. Tying humor into your campaigns makes it more likely that potential donors will take the time to listen to your whole message.

  • Make a Connection:

    Reading Rainbow made it clear that this was a partnership – “together, we can bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.” They made a connection with potential backers by not only capitalizing on the nostalgia factor, with footage from past shows they’d watched as children, but also showing them how they can make a difference.

  • Take to Social Media:

    Social platforms allow you to spread the word quickly and effectively. Follow Reading Rainbow’s lead and appeal to other to help share your cause, especially leaders in the community. Be sure to let them know how your initiative will improve the community as a whole.

  • Share Your Goals:

    Donors like to know exactly what you’ll be doing with the funds you raise. Reading Rainbow clearly stated their three main goals: 1) Develop a web-enabled Reading Rainbow for the home; 2) Create a classroom version with the tools our teachers need; 3) Subsidize the cost so that the schools most in need can use Reading Rainbow for free!

  • Emphasize How You’ll Help Backers:

    Increase access had obvious benefits for donors with children, but Burton also threw in additional rewards for those who donated: books, a chance to dine with Burton himself, subscriptions to the Reading Rainbow app, autographed memorabilia, and even the chance to wear his Star Trek visor!

lamarWe couldn’t be more thrilled that Reading Rainbow has reached their goal and is set to inspire a whole new generation of readers! If you’re looking for a creative way to raise funding for your business, follow Reading Rainbow’s lead with a well thought out Kickstarter Campaign!

Follow the Rainbow: Reading Rainbow is a Leader in Kickstarter Success
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Follow the Rainbow: Reading Rainbow is a Leader in Kickstarter Success
Over a month before their end date, Reading Rainbow reached their goal of raising $1 million on Kickstarter. Learn from their success.

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