Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the recently published book The Crowdfunding Bible by Scott Steinberg, CEO of consulting firm TechSavvy Global, and Rusel DeMaria, author of High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games.
If you try to launch a crowdfunding project simply by asking for contributions and offering little of value in return, you’ll very quickly discover that managing projects isn’t like running a political campaign or charity fundraiser. Few will pledge money simply to provide support. The majority of backers expect something in return—hence the need to incentivize them by offering compelling goods or services in exchange for contributions.
In the case of physical products, the notion of pre-ordering, or making advance payments, is a well-established practice. Similar transactions work well under the crowdfunding model, especially when coupled with eye-catching or exclusive extras such as elaborate collector’s sets and limited edition coffeetable books. The type of reward you offer should be determined by the kind of project you’re running. In the case of special events, for instance, you might offer free admission, backstage passes, or even a chance to hop up onstage and jam with a favorite band.
However, for consumer products, the first and most obvious reward would be to provide backers with a digital or physical copy of the item in advance or at a price far less than the typical retail value. From there, you can tack on or bundle together other rewards. Bear in mind that creativity pays: Among the most consistently popular rewards are those that offer personal or unique touches, or provide singular opportunities, e.g. lunch with a famed industry figure or the inclusion of donors’ names in your new software product’s credits.
When weighing reward prospects, be sure to research similar projects to see what resonates with fans. The overall distribution makeup and the individual items’ respective contributions to the campaigns’ bottomline are important to keep in mind. The following are example rewards you might consider offering:
There are lots of options when it comes to creating unique, eye-catching and memorable rewards. Pick the ones that fit your project best.
The electronic version of The Crowdfunding Bible is available now for free download.