Sogen Con Looking for a Kickstart
Sogen Con has been a small anime convention in South Dakota for several years. The con averages around 600 or so people a year. It is run by Otaku Incorporated, a non-profit group. They are having a Kickstarter fundraiser to help cover their costs for this year. They are looking for $15,000 in donations. If they do not receive this amount the con will most likely not happen this year.
Kickstarter is a free service and 100% of the money pledged will go to support Sogen Con. It works by letting you pick the level (how much) you wish to donate to a group, person, company, or cause. Each level has benefits and as you pick higher levels to donate you receive the benefits of previous levels as well as the new one. Kickstarter will place a hold on your card for the amount you have chosen to pledge. No money will be taken at that time. When the fundraiser has ended, if and only if the total amount set is raised will you have to pay anything. If the target amount is not reached you do not have to pay anything.
This has been a controversial move among anime con organizers, with some wondering if it is just a way for a lazy con to get those to pay for their own debt and worrying that this will start a bad trend. Others understand how hard it can be to find funding for conventions and have already pledged some to the fund.
Sogen Con has stated that they have incurred a higher costs than usual this year. For what I have been able to learn about the situation, the reason for this extra incurred debt is that the parent company was involved with two other cons, both in Minneapolis. One was KakkoiCon and the other was a convention called Minneapolis Anime Convention, or M.A.C. for short. With KakkoiCon there was a break from the original group that left debt for Otaku Incorporated. M.A.C had problems with staff quitting and lower than expected attendees, creating a large bill for the parent company of both cons to pay. The money that should be there for Sogen Con is now lacking. Then the con chair was unreachable for several months, leaving his staff in a lurch.
Sogen Con would like it to be known they have worked out a plan to alleviate their debt and continue with the con this year. In a year they should be able to pay half of their debt from the two failed cons. Some of the staff members were against using Kickstarter, feeling that the con can cover their bills with registration. The rest of the staff decided to try using it to collect donations from friends, past attendees, and others in the con community who want to help the convention. This is to help guarantee the convention will meet its financial goals. The con organizers have also learned their lesson about overreaching themselves with new events and do not see this having to be done again.
Pledge levels are as follows and receive the following incentives:
• $10 & up-you will be listed as a supporter of Sogen Con and anime conventions on the con’s website and Facebook page
• $40 & up- you will be automatically registered for Sogen Con 2011
• $75 & up- (first 100 only) You will receive a signed limited edition print from Studio ONY to be picked up at Sogen Con
• $85 You will have the option to receive an artist alley table
• $100 & up- you will be registered at the Sponsor level for Sogen Con 2011 and will have reserved seating in Main Programming for the convention
• $500 & up- you will be given a lifetime registration for all future Sogen Con events.