Kickstarter. Indiegogo. Gamefound. There are a lot of options when it comes to raising funds for your crowdfunding campaign. And now a new name has thrown its hat into the ring – BackerKit.
BackerKit got its start as a pledge manager for Kickstarter creators seeking to raise funds after the completion of their campaigns. But recently, the team at BackerKit have now launched their own crowdfunding platform. And it’s a promising looking one with a built-in pledge manager, customizable pre-launch page, and dedicated support team.
But it’s also a super new platform. Is it worth taking the risk and giving BackerKit a shot?
In this post, we discuss the pros and cons of using BackerKit for your campaign. Then we’ll help you decide whether it’s a good fit and what you should do to prepare for launch if you determine that it is.
Why Choose BackerKit?
BackerKit might be new as a crowdfunding platform, but their team has been involved in the crowdfunding industry for a long time. In fact, BackerKit is the single biggest name in the industry when it comes to plugging holes in Kickstarter’s feature set.
In the following sections, we discuss the pros and cons of using their new crowdfunding platform.
When it comes to managing a crowdfunding campaign, BackerKit’s new platform has set out to fix many of the problems that Kickstarter – the #1 player in the industry – has left unaddressed for years.
One of the biggest advantages of BackerKit is that it has a built-in pledge manager. This means that creators can easily manage backer pledges and add-ons without needing separate software or tools. Contrast this to working with Kickstarter, which requires juggling multiple systems to do this, which has a tendency to confuse new backers and crowdfunding creators alike.
BackerKit also offers a more customizable pre-launch page than many other crowdfunding platforms, allowing creators to showcase their products and build excitement before the campaign even begins. No separate landing page required! Right now, the only major crowdfunding platform that rivals BackerKit in this regard is Gamefound, which is exclusive to board games.
However, what makes BackerKit really promising is its mission and its methods. They are actively listening to the needs of crowdfunding creators and they are starting small, working out the kinks in their system before opening it up to the entire world of potential creators. They are incorporating feedback as they receive it and are continuously working to improve their platform.
Their team is also very easy to reach and highly responsive when questions arise, which is a huge plus when working with a new system. Between the dedicated support and their ongoing efforts to improve their system, we can see clear signs of their team’s dedication to providing the best possible experience for the creators who use the platform.
- Built-in pledge manager
- Ability to manage add-ons without separate software
- More customizable prelaunch page
- Support team is easy to reach
- Working very deliberately with creators to create a better platform
The main problem with BackerKit right now is that it is unproven. Every other problem with the platform flows downstream from this fact.
First and foremost, BackerKit requires creators to apply before they can launch. Applications take time to process, open spots are limited, and there is a good chance of getting turned away. BackerKit, essentially, is in an open beta stage right now.
This is a smart move, to be sure. They want to make sure their platform is populated by high-quality campaigns so they can build an audience. But it’s also awfully frustrating for creators who want to use the platform and can’t secure a spot.
Additionally, because BackerKit only recently stepped into crowdfunding directly, they don’t have a dedicated audience yet. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and even the new and niche Gamefound all have dedicated audiences which BackerKit simply does not yet.
Because BackerKit’s crowdfunding platform is so new, creators will also have a tough time finding information on how to use it. The platform is said to be user-friendly and well-designed, but when things go wrong, there’s pretty much only one thing a creator can do – contact support and wait.
It’s way too soon to write off BackerKit for these reasons alone. But any creator looking into the platform right now must ask “am I willing to take a chance on an unproven platform?”
- Requires application and spots are limited
- Not nearly as popular as Kickstarter or Indiegogo
- Very difficult to find information on how specifically to use BackerKit
When is BackerKit a good fit?
In its current state, BackerKit is generally not a good fit for most crowdfunding creators. But that does not mean it’s bad – not at all!
Ultimately, what it comes down to is this – BackerKit is a semi-open beta. Any creator who wants to take a chance on BackerKit can benefit from being an early adopter. But if you’re looking for a stable, well-tested, well-known platform, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Gamefound would all be better contenders.
However, BackerKit is a good fit if you’re a creator who wants to be part of the process of building a better crowdfunding platform for the future. From the very inception of their company, BackerKit has been fixing problems in the crowdfunding industry through third-party software. In many ways, crowdfunding – particularly Kickstarter – is stuck in the early 2010s. The industry could really benefit from the existence of a competitive, technologically competent, general-purpose crowdfunding platform like BackerKit.
So if you want to be a part of this process and you’re willing to provide feedback to the people creating the standards for the next generation of crowdfunding, working with BackerKit will give you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do that. (Kickstarter won’t even answer your emails.)
BackerKit is ideal for:
- Creators who want to be part of the process of building a better crowdfunding platform for the future
- Those with the ability to build a community outside of Kickstarter
Setting Up A BackerKit Campaign
Setting up a BackerKit campaign for the first time comes with a learning curve. If you are accepted after applying, BackerKit will provide you with materials to help you get started.
However, it should be noted that regardless of which buttons you must click to create a BackerKit campaign, some things stay constant no matter what platform you’re using. Nowhere is this truer than in market research.
Pay attention to what 10-15 other successful campaigns in your niche are doing. Copy what you see working and ignore the rest. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Resources to help you set up your BackerKit campaign
While Crowdfunding by BackerKit is a young platform, that doesn’t mean that you have to go in with no information. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of resources that are helpful regardless of which crowdfunding platform you decide to use.
3 common mistakes to avoid
Every single crowdfunding platform has its fair share of naive creators. That means most campaigns ship late. This is something which backers has come to accept, but you still do what you can to mitigate issues before they occur.
The good news is that most shipping delays boil down to three basic mistakes, which you can learn more about in this video:
If you’re unable to watch the video above, the three mistakes are:
- Setting unrealistic expectations
- Mismanaging freight shipping
- Fulfilling too many orders alone
As long as you are aware of these issues, you can take steps to prevent before they arise. Build slack into your timetable, think about freight before you need to book it, and have a plan to hire help with fulfillment if you have a high enough order volume.
Do this and you’re better off than 80% of campaigners!
Why pledge managers are useful
One of the key ways that BackerKit sets itself apart from Kickstarter is that it has a built-in pledge manager. This makes sense, of course, because BackerKit, as a company, exists because it is the largest pledge manager software for Kickstarter.
If you’ve ever used Kickstarter, you know that pledge managers help creators work around features Kickstarter doesn’t have. These systems allow creators to sell add-ons and other products, as well as collect shipping after the campaign rather than during it.
Suffice it to say, BackerKit doesn’t require you to set up another software system to do this. But you should still read this article about pledge managers, because understanding why they are necessary on Kickstarter will help you know what to do in that weird stretch of time between funding and fulfillment.
How to handle add-ons and stretch goals
BackerKit, like nearly every other crowdfunding platforms, lets creators raise more than they need to succeed. Creators that exceed their goal by a lot are expected to improve the product by rolling out stretch goals. Many creators also opt to sell add-ons after the campaign as well to generate some extra revenue.
Stretch goals help creators add flexibility to the product so they alter their products’ features before manufacturing based on funds raised. Add-ons are just separate items entirely than can be cross-sold to backers.
Of course, it’s really easy to get in trouble by picking the wrong stretch goals and add-ons. This helpful post discusses why stretch goals matter, dangers to avoid, and best practices for selecting effective stretch goals for your BackerKit campaign.
How to write BackerKit project updates
If you back a crowdfunding campaign of any sort, there are few things as uniquely frustrating as the creator going silent after funding. After all, they’ve got your money. How else are you supposed to know what they’re doing with it, unless they tell you?
As a creator, you absolutely must publish regular project updates. This helpful article will help you know how often to publish updates and what to say in them. That way, you can keep backers informed and engaged well after the excitement of the campaign wears off.
How to find manufacturers
You have three options when it comes to making a product-based business: buy pre-made items, create your own, or have them produced for you. If you choose the third option, you have to find a great manufacturer. This informative article will help you do that..
But before you commit to a large manufacturing run, you will probably want to order a sample. To learn how to order samples or prototypes, check out this article.
When manufacturing, especially for a crowdfunding campaign or eCommerce business, always make sure you’re thinking about shipping costs. Every inch and ounce in your products counts and will dramatically impact the cost of shipping. If your products are excessively large, you will burn a lot of money.
Check out this article for tips and best practices for manufacturing products while keeping shipping costs in mind.
How to handle freight and customs
Let’s say you successfully fund on BackerKit. You’re going to need to have your product manufactured and then ultimately shipped from the factory to a fulfillment center of some sort (even if that ends up being your home or office). You can’t do this without booking freight, and that can be really intimidating if you’ve never done it before.
To help you navigate this process, check out this quick guide for a primer. For some more hands-on advice, check out the video below for step-by-step instructions on booking freight through Freightos.
If your items are going to be crossing the border at any point, you need to be aware of customs. The process of customs clearance means both passing safety tests and paying any applicable taxes. Otherwise your goods cannot cross the border. This informative article will help you learn the basics on customs.
When to hire help with order fulfillment
Managing fulfillment for crowdfunding is really complicated. Even modest campaigns require shipping out a ton of items in a very short time. If you’ve never shipped anything before, it can be really intimidating.
Can you ship on your own? Sure. But check out the video below to help you decide whether or not it makes sense to try.
This is something we can help you with at Fulfillrite, so if you need help shipping your BackerKit orders, request a quote here.
How to migrate to eCommerce
Crowdfunding, in general, is a dazzling way to earn attention and raise funds. But with few exceptions, crowdfunding just doesn’t make for a good long-term business model. You will probably want to migrate to eCommerce, and if so, Shopify is a good place to start.
In this post, we talk about how crowdfunding campaigns can be used to gain the attention needed to build a more permanent presence in eCommerce.
BackerKit is creating a brand-new crowdfunding platform. They are stuffing it with all the features that crowdfunding creators have wanted in a platform for over a decade. The resulting platform – though it’s in its very early stages – looks fantastic.
Their system is unproven and doesn’t have a very large audience. You have to apply for a chance to use it and there’s a good chance you’ll be turned away.
And yet, working with BackerKit right now on their crowdfunding platform will give creators a chance to do something truly unique – help build a better crowdfunding platform that isn’t tied to one super niche industry (such as board games).
If you’re willing to take a risk on your own project to help build a better platform tomorrow, then apply to crowdfund with BackerKit. There’s no telling how far this platform is going to go – and that’s the fun of it!