22 April 2015 | 39 Comments
A few weeks ago I got into a lively debate on the Kickstarter Best Practices Facebook group. There were a few creators in the discussion who contact backers after they cancel their pledges to learn more about the cancellation. I, on the other hand, don’t like the idea at all.
Cementing my opinion on this is my belief that creators are much better off not focusing on cancellations at all unless there’s a huge number of cancellations all at once. All of the data shows that the vast majority of cancelled backers do so simply because they changed their mind or they wanted to spend their money elsewhere. It’s only in very rare circumstances that something specific to the project has turned off a significant portion of backers.
But I’m going to put my bias aside for a moment to argue for both sides of the “should you message backers who cancel” argument, and then I’d love for you to weigh in on the poll.
Why Creators Should Message Backers Who Cancel
- You might learn something that will improve your project.
- You might inspire that backer to re-pledge later.
- Any excuse to reach out personally to a backer is good enough.
Why Creators Shouldn’t Message Backers Who Cancel
- It’s only in very rare circumstances that you’ll learn anything other than the known fact that people have limited budgets and they wanted to spend their money on something else.
- You’re much better off spending your time and energy on engaging the backers you have and those you might have rather than those you lost.
- Personal contact with backers is great, but it’s much better to establish that contact when the backer first decides to support the project rather than when they leave.
- It feels a little like an invasion of privacy, like calling a girl after she broke up with you to find out why she broke up with you. If she wanted to tell you why, she would have done so during the break up.
- Perhaps most importantly, I think that one of the best things about Kickstarter is that backers have the freedom to cancel without any repercussions during the project. It creates a very low barrier of entry, and I think it’s good for ALL creators and backers that we keep the barrier as low as possible. If backers worry in the slightest that they’re going to have to explain themselves to creators if they choose to cancel, over time they’re going to be less likely to pledge in the first place. Don’t foster an environment that hurts your fellow creators.
The following poll is geared towards backers, not creators (so if you’re a creator who backs crowdfunding projects, answer this as a backer). I’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comments!