8 Current Crowdfunding Projects with Unique Strategies

17 June 2015 | 21 Comments

In this series, I highlight some of the interesting choices current crowdfunders have made regarding their project’s reward levels, stretch goals, and overall campaign design (the projects themselves, not the content or product). This isn’t meant as an endorsement of these projects (these creators did not ask for me to promote their work–I disregard all such requests); rather, I’m looking for unique elements of projects that might inspire other creators to do the same (or do the opposite, in some cases).

I have a lot of projects to highlight this week, so I’m going to truncate my response specifically to the “unique strategies.” If you want to learn more about the projects themselves, just click on the links.

3f1ca6f20eee08cf3f17ace7f4272ad0_original1. HOPE: The Board Game

  • Project Video: While this video is missing a few elements I typically recommend for project videos, it’s still pretty awesome. You don’t see many project videos like this.
  • Graphic Design: The graphic design on the project page is really polished and thematic.

Note: The company publishing this game has close ties to my company, so I consulted on the creation of this campaign. Unfortunately, after 3 days and 30% raised, Morning Players decided to cancel the campaign and relaunch in a few months. A primary factor involved was they didn’t secure third-party reviews before launching as I advised. The bigger-picture reminder to all creators is if you’re not 100% read, you don’t need to launch today!

2. Souls of the Vermilion Sea

  • Matching Pledge: I’ve talked about the power of a matching pledge, but so few projects have implemented it. For a portion of this project (it’s applicable now), the amount of every pledge will be matched.
  • Good Cause + Good Reward: I love projects that want to improve the world, but they don’t act like a charity. This project is trying to bring attention to a critically endangered porpoise called the vaquita by filming a documentary about this rare animal. Backers get the finished film.
  • Savvy Use of Platform: If you still need a reason to start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, here’s one: It gives you a way to reach out to people of influence and have them share your project in a way that adds value to them and isn’t intrusive. The creator of this project reached out to me to ask if we could talk about Kickstarter on his podcast, and of course I accepted, and now I’m talking about his project here, completely unsolicited.

3. Scoundrel Society

  • Thematic Updates: One of the creators of this project, Travis, writes all updates for this and their other projects in character–that is, he writes from the perspective of a member of the Scoundrel Society. Backers love being immersed in new worlds, and this is a great way to do it.
  • Strategically Few Reviews: I thought this was curious, so I asked Travis and Nick about it. They only have a few third-party reviews on the project page, and they told me this was a strategic choice. Rather than have a wall of reviews, they’ve tried to make it more inviting for people to click through by limiting the options. This is also more appealing to those reviewers, as they’re not getting lost in the shuffle.

3ff83c7964d03c7afe75bff311c6687b_original4. Apotheca: The Secret Potion Society

  • Project Page: It’s rare that I come across such a flawless project page. You can tell that Andrew put a ton of thought into the structure of this project.
  • Credit: As I was scrolling down the project page, I noticed my name in the credits (“for sharing your Kickstarter Lessons and providing models for the rest of us to learn from”). That made me feel good, and it made me want to mention the project here (especially since it’s very clear that Andrew followed many of my lessons when creating the project). It never hurts to credit people and make them feel good–it’s a much more compelling way to get them to share the project tweeting at them to share it.

5. Monstrous: The Game of Mythic Mahem

  • Free Worldwide Shipping: This project is using a service called Send From China to ship worldwide. It’s not a flawless system–make sure to read the fine print–but it’s quite ambitious for Kim to try it, and I look forward to hearing the results.
  • Engagement: Over the last year (perhaps even longer), Kim has been extremely active on the KS Best Practices Facebook groups (here and here). Becoming a part of the community well before you put anything on Kickstarter can be a huge asset when you finally launch–it builds trust and confidence in you.
  • Collaborative Rules Editing: Kim has made the rules for the game available as a Google Doc for backers to comment on during the project to make them as polished as possible before formatting them–another neat way to make backers feel like they’re part of the creative process. (Thanks to alert reader Gino for sharing this with me.)

6. Demigods Evolution

  • Multiple Languages: I love seeing how more and more projects are making their games friendly in unique ways to backers around the world. Demigods Evolution offers the game in English, German, French, and Spanish.
  • Clear Depiction of Miniatures: I’m not really into miniatures projects, but I always like to look through the project page. Usually I’m incredibly confused about which miniatures come with which version of the game. Not so with this project–the graphics on the project page erase any possible confusion.

27acd30337332454792118ac951fffea_original7. Bower’s Game Corner Presents: Gen Con Video Bonanza 2015

  • Fun but Professional: This is a smaller project for a video reviewer I’m a big fan of, largely because of the passion and personality Forrest exudes in his videos. This project page is the embodiment of that passion and fun. However, whereas some projects may end up cluttered and jumbled when they attempt to have “personality,” this project page is clean, polished, and professional. It’s tough the describe, so I’d recommend clicking through to see what I’m talking about.

8. Push It, the table top skill game you can take anywhere!

  • No Stretch Goals: Is having no stretch goals a good idea on Kickstarter? Probably not. But I kind of like how this project says (in my words), “We have a complete product, nothing more, nothing less. We haven’t held anything back. If you want it, here’s how to get it.” It seems to be working for them. (Thanks for alert reader Stephen for sharing this with me.)

***

As always, there are hundreds of projects on Kickstarter doing cool things, and I can’t feature them all here. But if you ever stumble upon a project doing something unique that other creators can learn from, please let me know at jamey.stegmaier@gmail.com.

What’s your #1 takeaway from the projects I discussed today?

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21 Comments on “8 Current Crowdfunding Projects with Unique Strategies

  1. Regarding “free shipping” … SFC (Ship From China) was a nightmare to work with. 1 week in, we cancelled our account and asked for a refund. I’m not one to make public “anti x y or z company” comments very often in the professional sphere, but SFC is to be avoided for at least another year as they get their act together. You can read gory details at the link Jamey posted about “fine print”.

  2. All the eight crowdfunding projects looks great and With the rise of crowd funding, it is now easier than ever to get funding for your business idea. Keep posting,.

    While many of these ideas might not necessarily be new, the business venture is successful because great minds have looked at the market and determined what they feel is needed in their community.

  3. Another aspect of Monstrous that’s fairly unique is Early Bird As First Batch Of Shipping – same price, but ships about a week earlier – rather than Early Bird As Cheaper or Early Bird Exclusives. I’d still rather it didn’t have an Early Bird pledge level at all, but I think this one is less off putting to those who turn up later than a traditional Early Bird tends to be.

    1. Kim’s articles go into some details. Like, size and weight matters, delivery times can range from a few days to a month (and you don’t know unless you get tracking, which is another pricing tier), and I think the best price is if the games are shipped in padded envelopes, not boxes. Stuff like that.

  4. Great! I look forward to reading it and maybe asking your advice along the way as I build my project. In the meantime, this blog is more than sufficient! Thanks again.

  5. Jamey I just want to drop a note and thank you so much for this blog. I found you on Quora. I’m in the midst of my first KS project and this blog is like my KS Wikipedia. I wonder how long it would take me to read every single entry…

    1. Thanks Sand! I’m glad to hear you find it to be helpful. It would probably take a while to read all the entries (hopefully it’s worth it!) But that is one of the reasons I wrote my book on crowfunding–it consolidates all of this information into a tighter package (and adds a bunch of new stories).

  6. Great compilation of projects! My takeaway is to not overlook an area of your project that you can make great, exciting or unique. I hope that when it comes time for my project, I end up on a list like this and not the opposite.

  7. There are some interesting methods here. One thing I would note is there’s no “best” method here either. They’re all achieving goals via different methods and not necessarily better than another. Videos for example are more important to some backers than others and multiple languages isn’t a bonus for many people but is a MAJOR bonus for others. I think the key is to do what feels right for you and your backers, given the type of project you have and it’s target audience.

    On a related note I guess you could argue there are a number of projects with anti-strategies – like not listening to your backers and not responding to legitimate concerns.

    1. Mark: That’s a good point–for most things on Kickstarter, there are no “right” answers, just general indicators of success. But some things (like the examples you gave at the end of your comment) apply to every project.

  8. Between Push It and Hocus, I’m seeing a bit of a backlash against stretch goals. It’ll be interesting to see if that backlash gains traction in the form of simpler campaigns overfunding as well as campaigns with reasonable stretch goals.

  9. Number 1 takeaway is do your research and work to your strengths. You often explain that personal enthusiasm is important and all of these campaigns have them.

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