When launching a crowdfunding campaign, a fun way to incentivize donors to contribute to your campaign is by offering Rewards. Rewards are perk levels that you can add to your crowdfunding platform. This feature is similar to the “Giving Levels” option that you're able to list on your General Support page. However, while both platforms function similarly, your General Support page and crowdfunding campaign are two different platforms.
Adding creative rewards to your campaign page can be an exciting addition, but you want to make sure that you offer rewards that align with and support your work. Here’s a few tips on how to come up with the right Rewards for your project!
Who's your audience?
Before you start to generate ideas for rewards, you should ask yourself what your audience actually likes. Offering rewards that aren’t relevant to the campaign's mission is not the best idea. Your rewards should not only be relevant, but something that feels like an added bonus to the benefit donors are already receiving.
For example, most donors are already patrons of your work. Offering ticket(s) to one of your events as a reward is a really great way for your patrons to get what they want and still make a contribution. However, listing random perks for the sake of having a level, is not beneficial. For example, offering the company pen as a reward is probably not the most motivating perk for your donors.
Another key factor to keep in mind when taking your audience into account is the reward level amount. The idea of offering these perks is not to intimidate, but to incite them to contribute. For example, if you know that your average donations fall between the $10 to $50 range, you probably should hold off on setting levels that are hundreds of dollars or greater. You can certainly set a high level or two just in case a larger donor wants to contribute, but, the level should not be a drastic jump from the lower levels.
Do Reward levels always have to include a perk with a market value?
Absolutely not! There have been numerous successful campaigns that offer a set of rewards levels that consist of 100% FREE perks (perks with no fair market value). This allows projects to offer easy options that are not labor intensive and it also means that the donation is fully deductible for the donor. When a perk with a fair market value is offered in exchange for a donation, this makes the contribution partially-deductible. While rewards levels are often partially-deductible this is not a requirement.
Examples of common free perks:
- Social Media Shoutouts
- Video tribute
- Shoutouts at the end of a performance
- Name acknowledgement (Listed in event programs, websites, etc)
- “Behind the Scenes” access to a show or creative process.
- Personalized “Thank you” cards or emails from the team
- Invitation to dress-rehearsals
- Access to tickets before they go on sale
- Discount code options for merchandise or upcoming ticket sales
- Name listed as a “Producer” in film credits
- An opportunity to participate in a performance on a scheduled date
Are they realistic: Can you deliver?
One of the most common mistakes projects make is offering perks that they were “hoping” they could provide. Make sure that anything you list in your rewards levels is something that you already possess or have the bandwidth to deliver as promised. You don’t want to lose your donor’s trust by offering perks that sound amazing in theory, but may be difficult or impossible to provide. For example, try to avoid perks that require a ton of mailing/shipping. Another common example is any perk that requires you or your team to travel to a donor’s location for a specialized event. Make sure that you have all of the time, resources, and manpower to honor this type of reward. Ultimately, simplicity is the best practice when choosing perks.
Additionally, here are some other perks that cannot be offered per our program policies:
- Raffle ticket entry
- Ad Space
- An unlimited amount of an item (always list a quantity limit, if possible)
How many Reward levels do I need to offer?
Although it may be tempting to cover every type of donor and provide as many options as possible, less is more! Outside of high level amounts or unappealing perks, endless reward levels posted on a page can be viewed as intimidating. Keep it simple and try to cover your low, middle, and high donor base within a handful of levels. For example, the first level may start at $10 with a free social media shutout as a perk. The mid-level may start at $50 and offer a cool t-shirt of value. The higher donor level could start at the $100 level and offer all of the previous perks, plus a couple tickets to the event.
You also want to make sure that you’re not offering perks with market values that are the same or significantly greater than your overall level amount. For example, if you have a $20 reward level and your perk is valued at $35, this no longer qualifies as a donation. This exchange now becomes a purchase instead of a contribution. You want to make sure that the market value of the perks are a small portion of the donation level amount. The goal is the donation, not a fair exchange!
The important thing to remember is that rewards should be a festive way to encourage donations, but it should never take away from the main purpose of the campaign, which is simply to support your art! Trust that your work is enough and that you don’t need to offer the stars and the moon to get a contribution. Your supporters will be excited to visit your campaign page and help, no matter what.