Final Day to Fund the National Tour

We're in the home stretch - help us spread electronics education across the country!

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Update: Well, we all gave it a valiant effort. But sadly, our National Tour Kickstarter did not get funded. Ultimately we raised $61,018. While we were a long way from our goal, the fact that the SparkFun community pledged this sum of money is nothing short of amazing. We still have some great educational endeavors planned for 2013 which we'll announce at a later date. Look for a summary post about the Kickstarter next week. Once again, thank you to all those who contributed or spread the word!

Today is the final day for the SparkFun National Tour Kickstarter. As it stands, we have raised nearly $60,000 and only have ~5 hours to go. While it looks like we will fall short of our goal, we're not ready to throw in the towel just yet!

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First off, yet another heartfelt thank you to all that have donated or spread the word. Although we still have a long way to go for our goal, $60,000 raised thus far is nothing to scoff at. Thank you all for your generosity!

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Check out the National Tour t-shirt!

If you want to donate, there is still time! Head over to the SparkFun National Tour Kickstarter page and check it out! There are a number of great backing levels, like a Special Edition SparkFun Inventor's Kit and an awesome National Tour t-shirt. Thank you again - and let's make one final push!

Comments 25 comments

  • I would be alright without Freeday this year if it could fund this.

    • Member #228967 / about 11 years ago / 5

      I love that idea. Instead of Freeday, "Free Education Day". The start of the National Tour!

    • TimZaman / about 11 years ago / 3

      my thoughts exactly

    • BB / about 11 years ago * / 1

      Good plan. Few by proportion benefit from the Free Day anyway, and as an added benefit we wouldn't have to suffer the endless news posts and "documentary videos" about it months after the event.

    • Member #74840 / about 11 years ago / 1

      I think that's a great idea. I would be down for that.

  • MicroClutter / about 11 years ago / 4

    It's too bad that the project didn't get funded. I thought that it was a great idea and I was happy to contribute. I wish more companies would get involved in community education. It must be a huge effort to organize and execute such a teaching tour and I appreciate Sparkfun taking that on. I wish the Education team at Sparkfun great success.

  • Member #185808 / about 11 years ago * / 4

    Am I the only one that doesn't get why SparkFun is asking for money? They make tens of millions anually, this tour could be funded by them easily. Not only does this help educate others (potential customers), it promotes their business (driving around with their logo, word of mouth) and boosts their image. Instead, they go the Kickstarter route and end up failing in the public eye. I want them to do this, and to succeed, but this approach has me confused...

    • A similar question was posed on our update post on Monday. Lindsay Levkoff, the SparkFun Director or Education, responded and I think her response fits here too. I'm just going to copy and paste it. Here's what she had to say:

      'We certainly understand how you feel though the Kickstarter campaign is a way to engage the community in bringing electronics education to learning centers across the country. While a large portion of the people have chosen not to receive the backing packages associated with the donations, our hope was that everyone donating to the cause would receive something to further inspire them to build, hack, or teach someone else! SparkFun is very grateful for our success and to be part of such an amazing community. More than likely we will find a way to self-fund a version of this tour if the Kickstarter does not succeed. However, sending out teams of trained instructors in RVs across the nation is not a small endeavor – even for a successful company. The tour will likely not be profitable, but we certainly believe it is well worth everyone’s investment to give students the opportunity to engage with science and technology in an affordable and relevant manner.'

      • I understand her response but it's not relevant to 185808 comment which I agree with. Analogy time... Toyota Kickstarter program to travel throughout the US to teach young adults defensive driving skills. Good idea. Toyota will only use their vehicles. What do you think? Definitely not intersting in funding. Now change it.

        Same senerio but instead Toyota will also use vehicles from GM, Honda, Porsche, BMW and other manufacturers. Now I may be intersted in funding a kickstarter project.


        • SPCO / about 11 years ago / 1

          That's an interesting analogy... Although I hope for Toyota's sake that they don't include any BMWs or Porsches. That would show up Toyota's unsafe, non-driver-centric, understeering FWD cars pretty quick. :)

          • Toyotas cars, for the most part arent meant to be sports cars. The Scion tC and FR-S are sportier, and the FR-S is even rear wheel drive. For a sporty Toyota get a Lexus.

    • sgrace / about 11 years ago / 1

      Look at it this way. They didn't fail at providing education, they found the places in the nation that want it! Think of it as research. They are identifying areas where they're needed, and now they can tailor the Dept of Education to focusing with those individuals on future work.

      • One more thing, what does Kickstarter take off the top? 10%? A project like my car senerio they should comp at best or a small flat charge. Perhaps a charity kickstarter site. They way I see it...

        • BB / about 11 years ago / 1

          Well Kickstarter is a business, and they don't care what lofty goals your project is supposed to contain. They'd need your non-profit paperwork too.

          I think Kickstarter's cut is 5%. If that Kickstarter had gone through it would've been $7,500 right into the pocket of Kickstarter.

          Really, the donation system should go through this site's merchant system directly. Money-grubbing organizations like the IEEE do this all the time with their membership forms. This would be for a more worthy cause, and the infrastructure is already there, with no time limit imposed. Special "donation products" could be made, fixed percentages donated, or just some donation form on the shopping cart added.

  • I can't get behind this project. I agree with some comments from the other day but Sparkfun, you are a good company with good core values.

  • Gerdid1 / about 11 years ago / 1


  • crlanglois / about 11 years ago * / 1

    Something I mentioned in one of your previous update posts is that typically Kickstarter campaigns offer the product that they are trying to promote via the Kickstarter, almost like a pre-sale to establish capital. I noticed that none of the funding options were for an individual to buy a seat in a class and/or class materials. I think you might have gotten more funding if you asked people to essentially pre-order a seat in the class if you visit their state, pre-funding the tour itself.

    • The $2500 tier reward was "Book a Workshop," featuring a lab pack and SparkFun's educational crew to come and teach. Sure, no single seats, but they have to be sure that night in the Winnebago is worth it, so the pre-order classroom seats came in ten packs.

      • crlanglois / about 11 years ago / 1

        Yeah true, I just think that it would have gone better if individuals could have signed up, the all-or-nothing approach of Kickstarter is a bit of a mismatch for your needs in this case, almost need a Kickstarter per state or maybe start a few Kickstarters in the states where you saw more interest and then add an individual sign-up option, I'm sure they'd fill up fast.

  • LightManCA / about 11 years ago / 1

    :(. This was the first Kickstarter I participated in. I'm guessing there's no way to use the money you collected so far to have a mini somewhat national tour.

    Sure would like you guys to come to Seattle. I'd like to learn how to teach this stuff, and then teach others :).


    • We did get some really great info and made a lot of good contacts, however, so we're not empty handed. All of you guys and gals who contributed gave us really good data that will help us figure out where to better focus our efforts. We've enjoyed some great success so far thanks to all of you but it's still a strain to put on these traveling expos, so reaching the most people while spending the least resources just getting there is the name of the game.

      We totally appreciate everyone who pledged and, as I understand it, our Education department got a lot of supportive emails and made some connections on which they will certainly follow up. Failures of this kind are rare in business: minor losses and massive transparency. We'd like to think that as long as we can learn from these failures, they're allowed to happen from time to time. I think soon we'll figure out how our dream of teaching the world electronics fits into the big picture. Until then, we're lucky to have such a totally kickass community to support us, critique us and keep us heading in the right direction.


    • The thing about Kickstarter is it's an all-or-nothing type of thing. If the Kickstarter isn't fully funded (it wasn't), then no one gets charged.

  • LightManCA / about 11 years ago / 1

    Yikes! Come on spark fun. Maybe start smaller next time.


  • Hold on, I thought it had to be fully funded to receive any money. All or nothing.

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