Summit to Sea Fundraising Has Begun!

Yesterday our bank verification came through, so Lorie and I were able to hit the big green “Launch” button for our Kickstarter campaign! The Summit to Sea project is officially raising funds now, and as you can see, we’ve already had few donations in first 24 hours of the campaign. Thanks, backers

Now that the project has launched, the video we’ve been working on for the last week or so has also been premiered, so have a look at that too. It’s a rough effort, I know, but it is the most complicated video I’ve made so far– and one of the longer ones too. Oh, and I can’t take credit for the awesome art animations or the text parts– those are all Lorie’s efforts, and I particularly like the map route animation, so watch the video if you haven’t seen it yet.

We even had a impromptu “drink & drive” last night, where we indicated on Facebook that we’d do shots for each backer we got that evening. We did a few, but fortunately our backers were well within my tolerance, and there were no lingering after-effects of the drive. And, as a point of clarity here, I mean “drive” as in fundraising drive– we were at no point operating vehicles last night, since this all happened in the safety of home! If you feel like you missed out, keep an eye on Facebook or, well, Twitter, I suppose, since technically I’m on there too. I don’t know if we’ll do that again exactly, but if we do another entertaining pledge drive, that’s most likely where we’ll spread the word

As I write this, we’ve managed to get backers for 3% of the $8,500 we’re trying to raise, which translates to $290 dollars. We’ve still got a ways to go, though. If you’re interested in backing us, here’s how it works

We’re raising funds through a website called Kickstarter, which has really taken off as a web-based fundraising strategy over the last couple of years. If you like to contribute to our project, or any other project for that matter, you simply click the large, green “BACK THIS PROJECT” button. Payments to Kickstarter are processed by Amazon.com, so you’ll be prompted to login to your Amazon account… or start one, if you don’t already have one.

Now, here’s an important part: you won’t be charged for the funds unless the project is successful. Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing ventures, so if we only get funds if we reach our goal of $8500. If we successfully drum up support for $8,499, but are just one dollar short, no one’s cards are charged, and the project is unsuccessful. Until midnight of February 29th, we’re only raising phantom money here… sort of like a digital I.O.U. If we’ve reached or exceeded our goal, it’ll turn into real financial assets, and be available to help us on our voyage, but if we’re short, it will dissolve into the land of wind and ghosts, and we’ll have to figure out a different means of funding the Summit to Sea project. So, if you believe in our project at all, become a backer by contributing any amount to the campaign, even if it’s just a dollar.

I should point out, though, that for any contribution at or above $10, we have rewards to send you. Lorie will be silkscreening a special batch of Thank You post cards, that we’ll be sending out to backers, and we’ve got things to add to the backer levels from there. We’re making a special ‘zine that will be sent to backers at the $25 level, and at the $35 level, we’ll be adding your choice of 8×10 photo from the Flow photo series. Check out the project page for a description of all the backer rewards we have available.

We haven’t gotten this question yet, but I’ll go ahead an answer it here, just in case you’re thinking of it: “I’d like to back you, but I don’t have or don’t use a credit card and/or Amazon.com. How can I help?” As I mentioned, only contributions made through the Kickstarter infrastructure will count toward our fundraising goal, and Lorie and I are forbidden from contributing to our own campaign. I think the only way one could back us without using a credit card or without having an Amazon account is to essentially use a trusted friend who has one or both of those things as a proxy… as in “hey, Mort, I don’t use credit cards– can you back the project for me, and I’ll give you $25 in pennies if they’re successful?” It’s a little convoluted, I know, but the procedure is really geared toward credit cards and Amazon at the moment. If it’s a problem, though, go ahead and e-mail me, and we’ll do some brainstorming.

And, of course, if you’re unable to back the project financially, you can still be an invaluable contributor to our efforts by spreading the word! If you or someone you know has an interest in the communities and places along the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Pend Oreille, or Columbia Rivers, tell them about the project! Does someone in your life have a personal connection to the rivers, or a place near them, or a livelihood tied to the water? We’d like to hear from them! This venture isn’t just about travel or the contemporary landscape of the American West– our goal is to talk to people along the way, whether they’re friends we already know, or folks we’ve never met. So pass this message along to that fly-fisherman in Missoula, that irrigation district manager in Wenatchee, or that cartoonist in Portland. We want to see not only how water has affected the landscape, but how it has shaped individuals and communities too.

Alright– hopefully I haven’t worn you out too much on this thing already! Thanks again to those of you who have already become backers, and if you have any questions, be sure to contact me, either by e-mail or through Facebook, and I’ll answer them for you!

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