6 Clever Methods Used by Recent Crowdfunding Projects

25 August 2016 | 11 Comments

In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices made by current crowdfunders regarding their project’s reward levels, stretch goals, and overall campaign design (the projects themselves, not the content or product). This isn’t an endorsement or promotion.

undeadGame of Energy

The thing about this project that caught my eye is the use of animated gifs to share quotes from reviewers. The animated gif shows the reviewer in motion, and the overset text indicates what they’re saying. I think these would be most effective if they were spread throughout the project page instead of all in the same section (it’s a little disorienting), but the idea is quite clever.

The Notebook Folio

I’m a big advocate of writing a blog (or creating content in some form) to build an audience and hone your crowd-management skills before launching a campaign. As the creator of the Notebook Folio says on his project page, he not only used his blog to share thoughts about notebooks, but also to learn about how other people use notebooks (see poll here). There are some multiple-choice answers on the poll, as well as a great question, “What will you use this folio for?” I like the idea of building a product together with people before the campaign.

Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star

Ah, this is amusing. I was going to say how much I liked that Cody made it very clear on the stretch goal list from early in the project that there was a final stretch goal. It had the words “Final Stretch Goal” on it. I like this because it gives backers a specific goal to target with a clear-set expectation that there’s nothing after it.

But…when I checked the project today, it not only had “Final Stretch Goal” crossed out but also “No Really This Is the Final Stretch Goal” and then “Ultimate Stretch Goal.” So there’s that. :)

Coldwater Crown

I recently backed this project. When the campaign ended, the creator posted an update with an interesting commitment to weekly updates. I very much like the spirit of this–you’re basically telling backers that you’re going to maintain consistent communication, which is great. I’m curious to see if this results in updates during dead periods that don’t really say much.



Julia Schiller wrote a very insightful postmortem about her Kickstarter campaign for Hoard. I highly recommend reading it, and I wanted to highlight some interesting data near the end.

Julia tracked cancellations throughout the project. Her data shows that there were 44 cancellations among the first 300 backers, but only 11 cancellations among the next 200 backers. What was different? Starting with backer #309, Julia messaged each new backer individually with a personalized message. While there may have been other reasons for the decrease in cancellations, it’s certainly notable that the connections she formed with backers through those messages may have given backers a stronger investment in the project.

Key to the City – London

This isn’t a crowdfunding project, but I thought the publisher, Richard Breese, did something really interesting to announce the game. He created a geeklist on BoardGameGeek that discusses in detail various aspects of the game. I think it’s a brilliant way to introduce a game to people, especially since each part of the list is its own thread for people to comment on.



These projects represent a small sliver of unique crowdfunding innovations. Feel free to add your thoughts about these projects or others in the comments!

Leave a Comment

11 Comments on “6 Clever Methods Used by Recent Crowdfunding Projects

  1. One thing I’ve now seen twice is very quick delivery estimates, both on UnFair and Fields of Green. Funding ends, and then in 2-3 months games being delivered.

    That suggests having all of the artwork done and all of the preproduction things being complete so that as soon as funds hit the bank account they can start printing. I wonder if this is a possibility for things to come, especially for more established companies that can upfront some of the cost to get all that work complete?

    1. Phil: I must admit that I don’t know how those companies are doing it unless they’ve already printed the game (which I don’t think they have, but I don’t have any insider info). The entire manufacturing process takes a while, even if your graphic designer has the printer files ready as soon as the project ends: There’s digital proof review, custom component manufacturing, printing, assembly, freight shipping, then individual backer fulfillment. 2-3 months is more of a normal time for a reprint, not a first print run. Though if you have a game that is only cards and tiles, it does save you about a month.

  2. The Key to the City – London approach is great, I think discussion on specific parts of gameplay helps provide players with knowledge and gives them the sense of depth. I’ve been doing this with a weekly video talking about a different parts of the game for my recent project and so far the response has been good.

  3. I agree with the thank you notes! ESPECIALLY as a first time creator. I wrote an individual one to each backer (approx 750) and although it took A LOT of time, I could see pledges change from $1 to $64 almost moments later. I also had numerous thank you notes in reply to my thank you notes :D

    David, once you find the spot it’s easy to contact each one… It just took me some googling to learn how, as you can’t see anything until you launch, and get a backer!!

    That could be another Kickstarter lesson, (with photos) showing creators how to navigate an active campaign!

  4. David: It’s easy to message backers. The hard part can be finding time to message backers, especially when many creators have day jobs. I did it for Viticulture, a 42-day project with 942 backers, but due to the influx of comments and messages on my other campaigns, I wasn’t able to do it. For me, it’s a nice perk, but definitely not an expectation (especially if the creator is active in the comments–that’s a good place to engage with them).

    1. I guess I should note that it’s when there’s 50 or 100 backers total (not a campaign that is growing by dozens an hour). I can’t imagine anyone trying to keep up with a larger campaign with thousands of backers. As Conor mentioned, the expectation is higher when it’s a first time creator and/or a smaller campaign. Maybe expectation is the wrong word – it’s a nice touch that probably goes a long way.

  5. Great post! Your comment about Hoard… I will say I feel a bit slighted when a creator doesn’t reach out and say “thanks.” While I don’t really expect them to do so, I do sort of hope for it. I think that’s part of the excitement of backing a project – that you’re putting your hat in the ring. When you feel that that “hat” goes unnoticed, you start to think of that creator as a bit ungrateful. Having never been on the creator side, can I ask, how easy does KS make it to contact backers during the campaign?

    1. Is it bad that I feel the opposite? It kinda aggravates me when I get spammy messages from creators that could be served equally through project updates or public comments – Which is to say, unless they’re kindly letting me know I’ve mis-pledged, or my shipping information looks wrong, or they want to discuss further something I said in the comments, etc, I really don’t want or need that system being clogged up. (As its’ really useful when I want to check back for the aforementioned important information!).

      But then, I’m the kind of person who walks out of a shop the moment a salesman starts talking to me, so I guess its’ just me :P.

© 2020 Stonemaier Games