The funding is over. The dust is finally settling. Hopefully you now have a fully funded project. If you do, you also now have a host of obligations to your backers and a limited budget to fulfill them in. Good luck! Here’s what you need to know.
You’re not going to get every dime you raised. Kickstarter will take 10% (and give half of that to Amazon Payments). Also charges typically bounce for about 1% of backers, meaning you won’t have their money either. But if you’ve been following my advice, you should have planned for this already.
The first thing to do is to add it all up and plan where money is going to go again. I know you’ve already done this at least once, but do it again now. After all, now you have the actual figures, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later is something went wrong.
If you ran a campaign where backers who could pick up add-on items, you won’t know what users added on until after the backer survey is sent out. So it’s best to get your survey written up and sent out soon after the charges go through. Make sure you ask about add-ons, but make sure you do the math as well. Everyone makes mistakes.
Once surveys are in, you need to do the planning math all over again, because things may have changed.
Okay, so you’ve double and triple-checked your figures. Now it’s time to start coordinating things on your end. For games (where our experiences lies) this means coordinating with artists, designers, writers and printers. Make sure you give everyone all the information they need so they can do their job. This will help speed things up considerably.
Artists will need to know the subject of the pieces being commissioned, the size expected, the expected turn around time, the color space, the DPI, the style, etc. Writers will need to know target word counts, style, turn around time. Designers will need to know the margins, gutter, styles, art, page count expectations. Printers will need you to give them work that meets very specific formatting requirements.
Always plan for things to take more time than is obvious. Give everything target deadlines and hard deadlines. A delay in one aspect of the coordination can delay the whole thing. When possible, it helps to work with people you’ve worked with before and know can get things done in a timely manner.
When getting things printed always get a physical printing proof. It may cost a bit more, but it’s best to know if an entire print run is going to be messed up before doing it all and putting all your money into it. Examine the printing proof very carefully. If you don’t have a good eye for details, give it to someone who does.
Throughout this process make sure that you don’t ignore your backers. They put money into the project sight unseen and deserve to know how things are coming along, even if things aren’t progressing along the timetable you envisioned. Be frank with them, and do the best you can.
If you’ve had a really huge Kickstarter it may be best to purchase a Pledge Manager (like BackerKit) and contract a fulfilling company to send out all the rewards. Be aware that these will cost a pretty penny, however. We have yet to run a Kickstarter large enough to merit this, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of advice to give surrounding it.
One thing can say a lot about, though, is don’t underestimate the cost of shipping, and don’t skimp on packaging. Skimping on packaging means that rewards may be damaged in transit. And for every reward damaged in transit, that’s one more replacement you have to pay for, and a little more money down the drain. And money saved by skimping on the packaging is just going to be eaten up in replacements, and you’ll have unhappy backers to boot.
Finally, do your damnedest to meet your target deadline. Many Kickstarters don’t do this, and if you do it looks good and makes your service stand out. Happy backers means a better start on future crowdfunding campaigns. And this is a good thing.