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Parting Shot: The Salad Days of Fundraising

In July, Columbus’s Zach “Danger” Brown began a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad. Objective: Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet. In the weeks since then, the tongue-in-cheek project with absurd rewards (a potato salad-themed haiku, for example) raised more than $60,000 and made national news, including an in-studio interview on Good Morning America because, well, that’s a lot of coin for taters.

He was given tax advice from Forbes and Time, told to donate the money to charity by Slate, and told to keep the money by The New Yorker. The Internet backlash was swift and fierce. It was decried as a dumb project, as antithetical to crowdfunding, as stealing money from more worthy projects and causes, and looked upon by some as a blemish on Columbus, like the city will become known only as Potato Saladville. It’s a shame – I remember when this project was just about making average quality picnic foodstuffs for the people, not T-shirts and morning TV show appearances and culture critics flailing to make points about greater societal ills via undercooked potatoes* and fucking mayonnaise. You sold out, potato salad. Damn you.

In response to all that nonsense, or possibly because he’s a decent, reasonable person, Brown has been attempting to figure out how to do some good with the money, in addition to his Kickstarter obligations. We decided to pitch a few ideas his way, too, not necessarily all good ones, but better than making a metric shit-ton of potato salad or giving the money to John Q. Reddit and his band of internet trolls.


Buy a 2015 Chevy Suburban and fill it with $3,000 of potato salad. Call it an art project about American obesity. Win a prize and probably some grant money. Make more potato salad.

Stick the money in a paper bag, light it on fire, and throw it on E. Gordon Gee’s porch. He’ll think it’s poop and let it burn, and then cry forever when he finds out he let $60,000 in potential bowties turn to ash.

Purchase Idaho – potatoes for miles. You might not be able to swing Boise, but the rest of the state can’t be worth more than 35 grand. Sorry Nampa and Moscow.

Make Caprese instead. That’ll
show ‘em.

Invest it in stocks, maybe ETFs, perhaps a mutual fund or two… just kidding, that’s a pyramid scheme. Seriously, light it on fire.

Make enough potato salad to feed your backers, shred the excess money, sprinkle it over top ala scallions, and tell everyone you’re putting your money where their mouths are.

Send Ron White a bottle of fine whiskey with the note: From the other guy who made a boatload of money off one tater salad-based joke.

Use the extra funds to publish How to Create a Successful Kickstarter Campaign for Dummies and give it to everyone who complained about the stupidity of the project, because if it’s so stupid then why didn’t you come up with a better way to make $60,000? He did it with a joke about a damn side dish.