Kickstarters, Indiegogo campaigns, and all those great crowdfunding tools are fantastic ways of garnering some funding and attention for your passion project, and have proven to be super successful! Setting these up is super easy…but deciding and planning what rewards to offer your backers? Surprisingly hard. So if you’re wondering, “damn, what rewards should I offer for my Kickstarter?” here are some tips.
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Video or printable tutorials
This is a perk that Loish offered for her art-book Kickstarter recently. The lowest donation amount was rewarded with a downloadable video tutorial. This can be a great incentive for people, especially if you’re appealing to an artsy community for support. Whether you do a printable/downloadable version or a video version, they’re easy to make and, most importantly, all it costs you is time!
A custom “Thank-You” doodle
This might get a little time-consuming if you’re setting out to get hundreds of people supporting you, but it could be an easy and fun way to reward backers. Custom doodles are a surprisingly meaningful incentive – it shows you put in the time to support your backers just like they put in the money to support you, and that they’re getting something exclusive to them. Plus, this is another reward you can provide that doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
If you design some cool stickers, one sticker might be a great low-end donation incentive, and a sticker pack could be a great incentive for a mid-range donation, or at least something to include in higher-end incentives.
This is a no-brainer. Remember how in college you would totally sign up for a club just to get the free t-shirt? It’s the same concept here. Design some cool tees for your cause, or maybe a pair of lounge pants or hoodies, and make these a mid-range to high-end donation incentive. And you can do this without breaking the bank. The Indiegogo for the 2D steampunk movie Hullabaloo offered apparel as the incentive for donating $85. That’s a little steep, but you get the idea – apparel could definitely be an incentive for people throwing a little more cash your way.
There are other advantages too. If you open up a Threadless Artist Shop, for example, you can order your designs at a base fee so that you can order merch without spending an insane amount of money. You could have some fun with this too. Offer several different designs, for example, but make it a surprise which one donators will receive. Then later, you can open up an Artist Shop and say “hey, if you didn’t get the design you wanted most, buy it here!” Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you can also place orders on behalf of your customers and let them choose which shirt they want – all you need to do is ask them for their shipping information.
EBOOK OF ART, a story, a comic, etc.
This one kind of depends on what you’re raising money for. But let’s say you’re raising money for your comic – make one of the incentives a downloadable PDF of the full comic. Or if you’re writing a book, make this reward a downloadable version of your novel, or a digital WIP artbook. This is a great way to provide books as rewards without spending a crazy amount of money paying to have them printed and inked and bound and whatnot.
An “E-Thank You”
For a low-end donation, consider making a custom thank-you image or card or video to send to backers. Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda did this for his Prizeo campaign to raise money for the Hispanic Federation. ‘Course, the higher-end incentives included Hamilton tickets…which we all wish we could get…
Limited edition Prints
If you’re fundraising for a film or for your band, for example, you could make a rad, limited edition poster. If you’re raising money for your artistic endeavors, this could be a limited time, limited edition print that you design just for the campaign. It won’t be free to print, but for those higher donation amounts? It could be worth it.
This is definitely one that might cost more than it’s worth, but it’s something to think about. Everyone loves pins and patches, they’re kind of a thing right now. So offering these as a reward for a higher donation amount (probably plus a few other things – that thank-you doodle, for instance, maybe some stickers) could be a great way to get people to support your cause.
For some donation amounts, you don’t necessarily need to have a fancy incentive. You could make it something cheeky – “For $1 you will receive my undying gratitude until Cthulhu rises again” (Jacob Halton did this for his comic, Boke Expressway…minus the Cthulhu part). When the Super Troopers team was raising money for Super Troopers 2 on Indiegogo, the largest incentive they offered was for a donation of $25,000,000 and the reward was, “one of us will father your child.” So there are plenty of ways to have fun with your crowdfunding campaign.
Just get a little creative with it and give the people what they want!
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We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments! Thank you!
Illustrations done by the super cool Katie Lukes