Kickstarter Lesson #13: Explaining Why You Need the Funds

23 February 2013 | 5 Comments

Every Kickstarter backer is different. Some backers don’t care if a project is a lifelong dream of the creator, while others only want to support passion projects. Some Kickstarter backers are more price sensitive than others. There are quiet a few backers who only get on Kickstarter to support friends and family, and they never return.

Today’s tip applies to a subset of Kickstarter backers that I think will continue to grow the longer Kickstarter is in operation. It’s a subset of backers that don’t just care about what they’re getting for their pledge, but also how you’re going to spend the money they give you. They want to know that their funds are needed, and they want to know why.

Back in Lesson 7 (The Funding Goal), I posted a cost breakdown of how much it actually costs to make a somewhat complex board game on Kickstarter. I’ll repost the snippet and chart here:

With that said, here’s the minimum amount you’ll have to pay to manufacture a game using Kickstarter as a funding platform (the 1000 games have a higher per-unit price because you’ll have some exclusive elements included for Kickstarter backers):


I’m posting this for you, but do most Kickstarter backers want this much information? Probably not. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in revealing this much, but you don’t want backers to get bogged down in the numbers rather than focusing on more exciting parts of your project.

Kickstarter blogger David Winchester posted a great blog entry on how much project creators should fund their own project pre- and post-Kickstarter, as well as how they should talk about it. He and I were chatting in the comments of that blog entry, and I asked him how a project creator could effectively express why they need funds and how much they’ve personally put into their project. He had a great response that I wanted to share with you:

Backers, I have a project that I expect will take $27k to build. I have already done x, y, and z, at a personal cost of $3k. I also plan on doing S, T, and U in the near future which I expect to cost about $4k. That will leave me with only Q and W to do. These are big items, and I can’t do it it alone. So I am doing this Kickstarter project to raise $20k to accomplish this piece of the puzzle.

This shows backers that you’re invested in the project and that you know how much you need to raise to actually make your project happen. If you skim Kickstarter, you’ll come across projects that seem to be asking for WAY too little or WAY too much. There might be a really good reason for their funding goal, but when they don’t explain it, you wonder if the project is actually going to happen (or you wonder why they even need your money). Addressing the funding goal head-on using David’s template above is a great way to gain backer confidence.

Up Next: Kickstarter Lesson #14: The Value of Add-Ons

Leave a Comment

5 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #13: Explaining Why You Need the Funds

  1. I agree it’s worth showing the breakdown of where the money will be going, more especially when the asking amount is higher than your expectations.

    What if in the Ks project description a link was provided that tells potential backers if they click through they would see this info on a website page? Keeps the Ks page clean but would it put off potential backers?

    1. Lloyd–Thanks for your ideas. I like the idea of linking to an elaborate chart off-site. That way people who really want the details can see it, and everyone else can at least see that you’ve put thought into the cost breakdown.

  2. Great post Jamey. I’m glad you linked, not just to one of my posts, but to THAT post. I always liked that one, but it is not that well read. I think this is a part of the process that more Kickstarter creators should give more thought to.

    I would be okay with Kickstarter forcing all projects to submit a rough budget. Like the “challenges” section, I would love to see how most projects ignore it, and some do a wonderful job.

    1. You should do a top 10 most read post sometime–I’m curious to see which of your posts are the most popular.

      As for Kickstarter’s oversight…I don’t know if it should be a mandate, but it would be a great question for Kickstarter to ask as backers are prepping a project. Perhaps they could format that data in a really nice pie graph for the project page.

© 2020 Stonemaier Games