Hey Debbie, Kickstarter has a lot of limitations. It can't engage very well beyond family and friends. The main reason I like this article is this top comment (I should have highlighted this) http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/the-failures-of-crowdfunding-no-kickstarter-cannot-support-an-opera-company/280118/#comment-1064687084
I disagree that the City Opera's failure reflects on the limitations of Kickstarter in any way--it reflects on the failure of the City Opera's development staff to accurately identify their prospects using Kickstarter and its purpose.
For philanthropy, you cannot sell obtuse goals, like supplementing your annual budget, to Kickstarter. You can sell programs, and only programs. And people like dreamers. See the +Pool: http://www.kickstarter.com/pro.
.. It's also not in any way surprising, I think you'll find, that the +Pool raised close to what City Opera has.
This is pretty basic fundamentals for fundraisers! Programs always sell well. Would you rather keep the lights on for Heifer International, or would you rather buy some needy family a cow? The answer is pretty obvious.
City Opera could have run a number of separate Kickstarters, each with far more modest and reasonable goals, for people to back each one of their shows. I imagine Anna Nicole would have cleaned up, actually. Instead, they treated Kickstarter as some sort of old Annual Fund drive. It's a fundamental mischaracterization of the platform and it led to this Kickstarter's failure.
Crowdfunding is about "programming" not fundraising.