What Will You Offer? Crowdfunding Reward Structures

One of the key components of a successful crowdfunding campaign is the reward structure. How you tier your pledges, what you offer and how you fulfill them can make or break your campaign. It is worthwhile to do every bit of research needed to know exactly how much time and money each reward will require, and, if possible, to know if those rewards will attract supporters.

What Do They Want?

This is an ideal opportunity to quiz your followers. Before you launch your campaign, poll or quiz or just ask for ideas on what your followers would like to get in exchange for their support. You can definitely start the conversation with a draft of your rewards and the funding levels for each. This gives your followers a way to give specific feedback.

Your rewards should generate excitement. They need to be compelling enough to get people talking about them. That’s why letting your followers tell you what they want works so well – we tend to be more involved with things we’ve helped to create.

How Much Will It Cost?

If you are going to offer t-shirts, for instance, you’ll have to spend some time to know exactly how much it will cost to make and deliver those t-shirts. Include every step of the process – from the design on the shirt, to producing the shirt, to mailing the shirt. Then figure out how much you will “make” from each pledge. Then, take out taxes, campaign fees depending on which platform you use, software costs and all the other operating expenses you’ll have. That’s the final value of the shirt for you. Just to be safe, many veteran crowdfunders recommend adding a 10 to 30% buffer on the prices. There are plenty of horror stories about rewards suddenly costing far more than campaign planners expected.

If just a t-shirt requires some planning, you may need to spend a whole day planning your larger rewards. If you are going to fly out to various cities to have lunch with some of your larger supporters, make sure there’s a budget for how much that will cost. You may have to limit the number of cities you can visit. That’s okay. Just describe those limitations in your reward descriptions.

Give of Yourself

The most highly coveted rewards typically involve a personal connection to the personality behind the campaign. Here are just a few ideas for rewards that have worked well in the past:

– A short note from the campaign personality
– A personalized video saying thank you for the support
– A private lunch with the campaign personality or the team behind the project
– A private tour of the project’s location
– Signed copies of a book
– A weekend getaway on site or with someone from the campaign
– Incorporating the supporter into the film, book, comic, or artwork

Price Points

This is especially critical. How you price your rewards will determine how much money you make. Think long and hard about whether you want the introductory level pledge to be $5 or $15. If you are going to offer a large, top tier reward, consider offering only a handful of these, and price them as high as $10,000 each or more, depending on the size of your funding goal.

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