I’ve been working on a new version of the main funding chart for a few months now primarily to get rid of the focus on trends as a lot of folks don’t understand what they mean and how they should be used.
One of the variations of a chart I’ve been toying with, I lovingly dubbed the “envelope”. The TL;DR of this chart is that it takes all successful projects, normalizes them so we can use them on a day-to-day scale, then applies them to the current goal of the project and gives a dot for the beginning of each day of those projects with the goal to be above that dot before you end the day. I’ll cover it in more detail once it goes live as I’m still tweaking.
The reason I started working on the envelope chart was something I observed when folks were using the mini chart and would get discouraged after the first 1/3 of their campaign when the day-to-day started falling below the linear trend for success even though they were doing fine overall and their movement followed the normal swoop of campaigns. Here’s why.
If I showed you this chart, what would you think?
For those who aren’t familiar, how do you easily describe at a glance “yeah, even successful campaigns have this swoopy thing that happens in the middle and it kind of looks like this…” <insert inadvertent inappropriate gestures>. But in all seriousness, I wanted a clear at-a-glance “how do we compare” kind of chart.
Now, what if I showed you this new chart that showed the average daily growth of most successful projects (grey dots) and the funding line above them (blue dots). Now what would you think?
This is the issue I’ve struggled with and didn’t have a good way to describe it until now. Here they are (visually) together:
Notice the gap between the top of the linear trend (red) and the top of the grey line even in the first week, even how it continues to spread until the last 3-4 days where it slowly creeps back together a little. This is why using linear trends to project the likelihood of funding is bad. I’ve said it a thousand times, trends are NOT projections. The best use for the trend chart is to judge momentum over time which is why the updated trend-specific chart has the day-to-day movement.
My goal in using the trend chart initially was to give projects a tool to encourage backers to reach daily manageable goals and have some tool that broke it down day to day instead of shooting for a large unobtainable number, and while I’ve heard wonderful feedback that it’s helped folks – at the same time I’ve gotten frustrated comments from folks who think it’s a bad thing too because people who don’t know any better assume it’s a projection of the final outcome.
As much as I’ve tried to educate to the contrary, it’s done little to change the perception as people keep tweeting the trend # as a projection nearly every day. It feels impossible educating folks to the contrary, so I’ve decided to just stop using the trending number front-and-center all together because people continue to assume regardless – and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is (a) is the grey line descriptive enough on it’s own without being confusing and (b) what would people like to see in the upper right hand corner for the summary? Funding Percentage? Days left? Distance from success average? Let me know in the comments.
Oh, and the project above funded masterfully. Well done Michael Brown & team: