Finding a funding goal for a Kickstarter campaign seems like an easy task.
You think about how much money you will need in order to create your game and it is done.
However, you would be surprised how many people do this the wrong way.
They come to Kickstarter without a care in the world, reach the funding goal, and later spend all of their earned funding, without having finished even half of their project.
What are the most common mistakes that people make?
What is the right way to calculate your ideal funding goal?
How can we choose the right funding goal?
What are the stretch goals?
Let’ start answering these one by one.
What are the most common mistakes?
There is a huge number of mistakes people make while they are trying to determine their funding goal.
Regardless, whether it’s:
- guessing the amount,
- accidental mistakes while counting,
- forgetting to add some expenses or
- some form of personal expectations interfering with your calculation,
getting your funding goal wrong is one of the sure ways to fail at Kickstarter.
The funding goal is one of the most important parts of any Kickstarter campaign and determining it, is one of your very important tasks.
To that, we will give our best to help you not fall into these traps and, by doing this, increase your chances of success on Kickstarter.
Guessing the amount
I think that I don’t even have to mention this one.
If you are creating a Kickstarter project and you’ve decided to do your research online, that proves that you are ready to put effort into making your campaign a success.
Anyone who is ready to put effort into his campaign should definitely NOT do this.
Going in without planning out your expenses is almost project suicide!!!
Without a very precise calculation of your project’s realization expenses, you could end in the serious trouble. From not being able to reach your funding goal, to not being able to finish your game, troubles are huge for the unprepared.
Mistakes while calculating
This one is the most trivial and the most basic mistake you can make.
We won’t discuss this one too much since we all know what these mistakes are.
Check your math at least twice 😉
Not covering all the expenses
This is the most common mistake.
Project creators make this mistake all the time.
They think about some basic expenses, calculate them and then put the result as the funding goal for their campaign.
This is one of the sure ways to either: not get your project funded or to spend all of your funding, before completing your game.
To avoid this you should realize that there are many more expenses aside from the salaries for the people who are working on your project.
We will cover the necessary expenses that you should add to your funding goal calculating equation a bit later in the text.
However, what people most usually tend to forget is to calculate things like Kickstarter’s and Amazon’s fee, as well as costs of producing and shipping your backers’ rewards.
Letting some form of personal expectations interfere with your calculation
It is ok to think that your campaign will be a success.
In fact that is what you must believe!
Regardless of all the doubts, you are the one that must believe that your project will be a success.
You are the driving force behind your project and if you don’t believe in its success, others won’t believe it either.
However, while you should believe in your project, you should not be seduced by the grandures of the possible success.
You should be objective while making your Kickstarter goal. If your calculated sum is 40.000$, you shouldn’t make it 50.000$, just because you are sure in your success. Remaining objective is the key.
How to find your perfect funding goal?
I will be straight with you. Finding a great funding goal is mostly a math job.
You should start listing all the possible expenses that your project could have on its path to becoming reality.
Let’s go through some of the most often calculated expenses:
Salaries for your employees
To calculate this expense you must think about the following things:
- the number of your employees,
- their monthly salaries (the avarage) and
- the amount of time it wil take to create your project (in months).
After that you should multiply all of these and you get the amount which will be necessary in order to cover the salary expenses.
Kickstarter and Amazon fee
This expense should be added last.
For each Kickstarter project that gets funded, Kickstarter and Amazon take 8% fee.
You have to calculate the amount that you need to finish your project (without these fees) and then add these fees and create a new funding goal.
You can do it like this:
The full expense amount without this fee*1,087= your ideal funding goal.
Production and shipping of your rewards
This is one of the things that people forget to calculate all the time.
They promise awesome rewards, but they forget to count the expenses of their production and shipping.
While you are offering in game bonuses it could be ok, since they are produced by you. However, expenses like producing posters for your game and creating a hard copy of your artbook should be counted in, or they could get out of hand.
What to do here?
This one is a bit hard to calculate, but if you follow the following instructions, it won’t be a big problem.
Follow these 4 steps:
- Put together the list of all of your rewards.
- Learn who you will be paying to produce certain rewards.
- Make an inquiry about the estimated prices for your rewards’ production.
- Use the reward calculator (which we already explained how to do in the previous post, about Kickstarter rewards), and type in all of the reward tiers you will have in your campaign, with their production expenses.
After that you will have a calculated cost percentage of each of your tier levels.
Now there are 2 ways to get the final production costs precentage.
You can either find the average of all reward tier percantages, or you can go pro and:
- Make an estimate of how many backers will each tier level have
- multiply each with its respective percentage,
- find the sum of these percanteges
- and then split them with the total number of estimated backers to find the average production costs.
After going through this, you can add these estimated costs to your estimated expenses.
Unexpected expenses are to be expected, period. There is always something that comes almost out of nowhere to mess your plans up.
How to prevent this?
Plan for that as well.
Add, for example, 1% to your already calculated campaign expenses, so if something does happen, you will have funidng to cover its expenses.
Now, this is the thing that gets forgoten the most.
People don’t count the 20% tax, and guess what happens afterwards?
They lose 20 % of their funding.
There are always exeptions, because some of the money from the Kickstarter can be considered a gift, so it it doesn’t get taxed.
We advise you to do research on this with your tax service, because the tax policies are different in different countries.
This is something that you have to be careful with, especially when creating a video game, since this process takes a long time to finish.
A tip here is that, since you are paying tax on profits, you can try to spend as much funding as you can, before the time to pay the tax comes. This will decrease your tax expenses, because you are paying taxes on profit, not on income.
It is true that if you have a tax calculating system that starts from the date you opened your company, then you could drag your taxes for 12 months, but in the end these will have to be paid.
If you are in a system that calculates taxes on the end of the year (which is the most common system around the world), then it is ill advised to start campaigns in the late months, because you will be taxed for almost the entire amount you got from the Kickstarter.
So, what this means is that December is the worst month for creating a campaign!
The point here is: don’t forget about taxes because they won’t forget about you.
It isn’t easy, but if you take all of these things in count, you will have a very realistic picture of what resources do you need in order to create your project.
Bad sides of the funding goal that is too Big
Now, you’we learned how to find your ideal funding goal.
However, even though it is an ideal funding goal for you, a lot of times it isn’t ideal for the Kickstarter.
Making a game costs a lot of money and asking for huge amounts of money usually doesn’t go well on Kickstarter (there are always exceptions of course). We have already stated that you shouldn’t go too low with your funding goal, but you should definitely do everything that is in your power to decrease this amount.
There are multiple ways in which having too big of a funding goal affects your potential backers:
Less faith in project’s realization
When your Kickstarter goal is too big, people have less faith in its realization. Therefore a lot of them will get discouraged and will not back your project.
When people see a huge number, a lot of time they just think “no way this is going to get funded”, and they simply skip to the next project.
Funded Percantage is too Low and makes it look like nothing is happening
When backers search for interesting projects, great thumbnail picture, title and subtitle aren’t the only things they notice.
They also notice the percentage od the funding goal that the campaign has already received.
The higher this value is, the greater are the odds this project will be funded and backers are a lot more willing to support that campaign.
So, by making your initial funding goal smaller, your percentage will be higher and therefore your chances of creating a successful Kickstarter campaign will increase.
More difficult to reach 100% and loses late backers
Once that your Kickstarter campaign reaches 100 % that means that your project will happen for sure.
This will attract many late backers, who like to support projects only after they are sure these will be realized.
And with a smaller goal, you will reach 100 % more quickly.
Finding some of the necessary funding on your own
How can you decrease your Kickstarter campaign funding goal, without making it unrealistic, you ask?
Here are two suggestions that you should count as additional sources of funding for your entire campaign’s project, that can decrease the amount which you are asking from your Kickstarter backers:
First: Add your own fundings.
When you are determining your Kickstarter funding goal, you can reduce the ideal funding goal by this amount. In this category, you can put the amount of your savings, or the amount of a loan that you can get yourself, or which other members of your team can find and add to your project’s total budget.This will greatly help your project to succeed on Kickstarter.
Second: Find some outside funding.
You don’t have to do this before the campaign, but you should take it in the account while trying to determine your Kickstarter campaign funding goal.
Whether it is from some private investors or some other funding sources, it would be a good move to secure some of the resources yourself. It would be fair to your backers to lift some weight of their shoulders.
This way you can decrease your Kickstarter funding goal by this amount as well.
Big part of this post was hard for the project.
You had to cut down on many things and you had to make many sacrifices.
However, there is one awesome thing that Kickstarter enables you, that can bring your game to its fullest version and even beyond.
I am talking about Stretch Goals.
Srretch Goals are awesome!!!
Kickstarter enables you to keep all of the fundings that exceed your initial funding goal.
Stretch goal is your new funding goal, that is higher than the initial.
In order to motivate your backers to back your project (or to increase their reward tier) even after you reach your initial funding goal, you can offer additional features, that will be added to the game, if you reach your next stretch goal.
These stretch goals should also be very well thought of. You should count in the cost of producing your additional features.
What is also recomendable is to add additional percentage to that goal, because the bigger the game gets, the greater the problems during its production can become as well. And a lot of times these problems cost money, so you should grow your unpredicted situation funding reserves.
Stretch goals vary from game to game, so I won’t be discussing their types in detail.
They can vary from new characters and new bosses, to new levels, additional in game options and so on. You can even add some additional rewards to your tier levels.
In this part, your creativity will do most of the work.
This is a relatively new system that many successful Kickstarter campaigns have used.
It works like this:
You create a goal that has to be reached by the backers, and if it is, they receive a reward for it.
These goals usually aren’t funding related goals, but rather doing something on social media.
Their primary function is helping you to spread the word about your game.
Rewards for reaching this goal can be some in-game rewards (similar to stretch goals, but in a lesser magnitude, since you aren’t getting funding for them, so your production costs could skyrocket), or some rewards that are added to the selected reward tiers.
Use these well, and you will get many additional viewers on your campaign page and many potential backers.
Int his blog post we talked about the importance of finding your ideal funding goal.
We discussed how you can adjust this goal to increase your chances of success on Kickstarter.
We also explained what stretch goals and achievements are, and what are the best ways to use these.
If you haven’t read our previous blog posts about Kickstarter campaigns, we suggest you to find time to read them, especially if you are thinking about creating a Kickstarter campaign.
If you would like to check out what our game is all about, you can read this blog post.
Also if you would like to get notified about future posts like this one and to follow our journey to Kickstarter, you can subscribe here.
Thank you very much!