The key motivators to get people to support a funding campaign are the person or organisation who runs a project, the passion evoked by the project or the result that it will achieve, or the highly sought after rewards that are on offer.
So before we focus on just what makes a great reward, let’s get the “bad cop” part out of the way and clarify what can’t be offered, and that will set a clear slate on which to build the possible reward offerings.
Legally, with the “pledge” model of crowd funding, a project creator cannot offer financial incentives such as ownership, financial returns (e.g. profit share), cash and cash equivalents or pledge repayment (e.g. loans) as project rewards. It is also prohibited to offer coupons, discounts, and gift certificates as rewards.
In Australia Registered Charities or Deductable Gift Recipients (DGRs) must comply with laws governing what they can and cannot offer as tangible rewards for monies received. They can offer incidental rewards such as certificates or a token recognition like a pen, etc. Also, supporters always value being recognised, so offering to put their name on an honour role is a nice way to say thank you. Most people who support charities are driven by the passion of the cause and not rewards, so the calibre of rewards for such projects are not so important
So, now for what you can do….
Some products and industries lend themselves to giving rewards, and these ones are simple to cater for. The writer who is wanting to fund the publishing of a book can offer a signed copy for their first tier of reward, acknowledgement in the foreword as the next tier, and rewards stepping up to actually naming a character after someone who offers significant contribution to the funding campaign.
If you can, try to make rewards one of a kind. People always like to get their hands on something unique and on “one-offs”. Rewards don’t need to be “tangible” – they can be fun experiences. Involvement in events or invitations to a product launch, a dinner with an interesting group of people (the project team or other supporters of the project), or a special visit from someone or invitations to somewhere exciting can be as valuable as an actual physical reward.
People love to see their name in lights, or see their name etched into history. Naming rights are something that project supporters love. A restaurant can offer to name their signature apple pie after a project supporter (“Pie a la Jones”), or the manufacturer of fishing lures could give their flagship product the name of their best contributor (“the Smith never-fail Lure).
For some commercial projects, at first glance, it might prove difficult to come up with creative and exciting rewards. How do you give rewards that are great value when your product is not a consumer product? This is where creativity comes in. Remember that rewards do not need to be the actual product of the project. With projects where the product has little appeal to the retail consumer, like projects with a technical bent, the rewards can be something loosely related to the project – as long as the actual rewards remain exciting and good value. For example, the manufacturer of commercial kitchen equipment might give a signed cookbook by a well known chef as their reward, or offer an invitation to a dinner prepared by a famous chef using the piece of equipment for which the project is run. Again, it is all about creativity and offering something that people would want and for which they would be prepared to pledge support.
Businesses can use their product or service as the reward, not unlike the coupon sites. All or nothing crowd funding has sometimes been paralleled to group buying, but has the added benefit of supporting the creation of a project, funding development and employment. Businesses with good margins in their product can offer rewards with exceptional value to entice people to pledge support for their project. And the business only needs to “make good” with their offer if the funding target is hit by the end of the funding campaign.
Creating rewards can be challenging, but can be a crucial ingredient to success. Well thought out rewards can set the tone for the entire funding campaign, add some fun and life to the process, and really motivate people to pledge their support. The key is to offer rewards that are exceptional value or keenly sought after by prospective project supporters
For those that are really struggling to come up ideas, the team at iPledg is here to help. Simply contact us here