Backer Rewards

Backer Rewards #1

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:

  • The product itself. A copy of the item in question—and, potentially, one sold for a limited time at a steep discount. Be sure to calculate any associated costs and figure them into your pricing structure and funding goals.
  • Advanced or early access to the product or service. This may include advance entry for backers to prototype testing programs.
  • Enhanced versions of the product. For instance, autographed, deluxe, director’s cut and collector’s editions.
  • Merchandise and souvenirs. Besides “making of” books and autographed materials, you might offer posters, stickers, t-shirts, caps and other items that commemorate the project.
  • Behind-the-scenes photos, videos, and booklets. Items that show the people, concept work and other elements featured within the project—especially if there is a large visual component to it.
  • Opportunities to affect the project’s eventual outcome. Some film, book, music, TV, theater and video game projects allow backers to suggest how stories develop, the contents included in the finished package, and featured subjects or locations.
  • Making your backers part of the product. Several creative projects allow backers to be a character within the narrative, soundtrack or action itself.
  • Giving contributors credit. It’s always a good idea to thank your backers, but sometimes there are ways to do so publicly: within the product itself (e.g. liner notes, book, or game credits) or at surrounding events. Be generous with donors.
  • Combined rewards. These rewards combine several other rewards into one or bundle several pricing tiers worth of incentives together. Many successful campaigns use an “all of the above” strategy, offering simple rewards at lower tiers and then add extras on top of them.
  • Exclusive access. Chances to meet people who are part of the creative team behind various projects or related notables (e.g. actors, directors, musicians, artists, online celebrities, etc.).
  • Private parties, events, and occasions. Some projects offer special events as a reward to donors—usually at the highest pricing tiers. These may include invitations to exclusive launch parties, private events held in backers’ honor or private concerts.

Backer Rewards #2

Create a press buzz

Unique incentives seem to be what capture people’s attention and are much more likely to be picked up by the press, which in turn can generate traffic to your crowdfunding page. A clever recent campaign, Storyline, aims to raise money to produce three episodes of an online comedy starring former Hollyoaks and Eastenders stars. The creators are rewarding funders with a chance to star in the show, plus a chance to sing on the theme tune, among others. This attracted huge attention in the national press due to the names involved.

What could you offer?

Look at trends in the press and offer something relevant and tangible. Find contacts for journalists who may be interested in your offering. Giving backers greater access and participation in your project will appeal as a potential story and as a reward, so why not invite people into your process or production.

Celebrity profile

Having big names at the heart of any campaign is invaluable, so Game of Thrones author George RR Martin joining forces with arts production collaborative Meow Wolf to produce an art complex featuring the “most insane art experience imaginable” is an obvious draw. Fans of the writer can receive signed books and even a chance to be named as a character in one of the complex’s immersive shows.

What could you offer?

If you have a high profile individual involved in your campaign, ask them what incentives they are happy to offer. If you’re not so lucky, identify people who may share an affinity with your message and can lend their voice or input, however small.

Play on nostalgia

The band TLC offered a huge range of incentives to help them launch a new album (which raised $430,000). Campaign offers included one of the group’s famous onesies as well as a chance to have sleepovers with band members, photoshoots and listening parties.

What could you offer?

Play on people’s nostalgic tendencies: what can you offer that will make people think back to their childhoods? The more incentives with varying price tags, the more likely you are to attract a range of backers; every little counts.

Appeal to the ego

A popular way of attracting people to a crowdfunding campaign is appealing to people’s theatrical and perhaps narcissistic tendencies. The recently finished campaign of one theatre company, Broken Dream Co, gave the incentive of having a photo of yourself or a loved one framed and hung on the wall in the show. They also offered to invent a character and a backstory for your photo.

What could you offer?

Think about how you can involve people in a visible way: can they be included in your marketing assets or as characters in your game or show? Offering people shout-outs is a popular incentive, plus it’s a free and simple way to generate cash. Offering something as a one-off (ie giving only one of them away) will always create interest and desirability.

Anniversaries and historical incentives

Some incentives appeal to a sense of history. The Sole Luna film festival is crowdfunding for its 10th anniversary. The rewards offered for donations all link with the history of the festival. Donors are able to purchase a smart card that not only contains multimedia content covering the festival and its history, but also offers discounts on experiences in the region. Backers can also get one of the rare traditional Sicilian tiles that are given to the festival’s winning directors.

What could you offer?

If your project has a unique cultural or historical component, you could create an experience to relive it, for example by collaborating with local museums, universities or cultural centers. Linking your campaign to an anniversary or cultural event can also create press and social media opportunities.

Call for entries

The one-day Dalston music festival’s crowdfunding page (due to go live in March) will feature a call for bands to enter their best songs for the chance to perform alongside some of the biggest names in London music. This cleverly creates a platform for the next generation of musicians and also ensures the festival engages a range of new and exciting talent ahead of the event itself.

What could you offer?

Offering people a platform will always be a big pull for any performer. A call for entries to attract up-and-coming talent is a great way to generate interest ahead of your crowdfunding launch. It also places you ahead of the curve.

Skill sharing

What could you offer?
Think about the skills and talents within your team. Is there anyone who could offer their expertise to backers, for example a social media workshop or a session where an experienced director could assess and analyse amateur work.

Team up

Some arts projects have a social or personal message behind them. Eco-Andersonville is teaming up with artist Matthew Hoffman for a unique public arts residence that aims to improve under utilised areas and people’s confidence. The You are Beautiful project provides pledgers with You are Beautiful laser-cut artwork – the bigger the pledge, the bigger the artwork.

What could you offer?

Think about other companies or individuals you could team up with. That way you can offer more incentives and expand your reach. Remember that people are drawn to crowdfunding because it offers a personal experience. Customised rewards like a drawing or individual thank you message creates a unique experience your backer won’t find on the high street.

Joncie Elmore is a founding member of Pooka Productions, which is currently crowdfunding for its latest work, The Man Who

Backer Rewards #3

More rewards can be found here: Click Me

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