Comparing Kickstarter Survey to Third-Party Pledge Managers

Kickstarter Survey vs Third-Party Pledge Manager

Skylar

November 2, 2022

One of the most often overlooked parts of running a successful crowdfunding campaign is the process of managing backer pledges, reward payments, and shipping information. This essential data will make or break the logistical phase of the campaign and making mistakes can be costly to campaigners and frustrating for backers. Knowing this is a difficult situation, especially for first-time crowdfunding teams, Kickstarter provides a survey that can help gather and manage this critical information. The Kickstarter Survey is a good tool for campaigns with simple reward tiers and standalone products, but for more complex campaigns, products with many add-ons, and teams that wish to utilize more robust relationship management tools, the Kickstarter Survey may be limiting. 

Luckily, there are several third-party pledge managers that offer creators more full-featured options to help them keep organized, streamline shipping, and maintain customer information that will be useful for future campaigns and sales. Let’s compare the difference between using the Kickstarter Survey or a third-party Pledge Manager so that you can choose the one that is best for your team and project. 

The Kickstarter Survey

The built-in survey tool offered by Kickstarter has intuitive functionality and is simple to use. It does the following, which is often enough for simple campaigns. First, it collects and categorizes shipping information such as address and name, along with variables for each reward selected such as size and color. If your campaign has simple reward tiers with limited options and you don’t plan to have Add-ons. This simple survey can be especially useful for smaller campaign teams because it doesn’t require a steep learning curve and by using the survey, campaign managers save money by not paying for third-party applications when they don’t need the advanced features that they offer. 

The Kickstarter Survey has its limitations and lacks some functionality, however. For example, it cannot be customized to fit every campaign, and thus, creators and backers must use built-in questions and responses that may not apply to every campaign. This can be difficult for backers to understand and prompt them to reach out for clarification. This adds costly customer support time to already busy campaign managers. 

This simple survey also doesn’t allow for upgrades or add-ons after the original pledge has been made which means more work on the backend for managers. Other options are limited as well, such as customization of shipping costs, editing pledges to change reward tiers, or changing names and shipping addresses that may have been made in error. These changes must be recorded and managed separately from the built-in survey, adding complexities to backer databases that will then need to be communicated accurately to logistics partners. 

Third-party Pledge Managers

For creators with more complex campaigns and those who wish to have more advanced customer relationship management tools, Third-party pledge managers make sense. These systems are more powerful and intuitive and can be customized to create a better backer experience while also streamlining changes that managers need to keep logistical information accurate and up to date. 

One of the most difficult aspects of campaign pledge fulfillment is accurately estimating final delivery costs for backers. This is due to the fact that different countries have different shipping costs and because campaigns can lasts for months, people often move after they have made their original pledge. Because of this, it is often necessary to change shipping costs on an individual basis after the campaign ends. Pledge Managers make this process easier. You can edit the shipping costs, collect more money, or issue credits for backers who were overcharged for shipping

Most pledge managers provide a better backer experience by giving backers access to their original pledge, allowing them to upgrade pledges, purchase additional add-ons, or even change their shipping address between the time the campaign ends and the shipping date. Pledge managers also allow easier integration with shipping vendors, with options to create custom CSV files or other types of databases that your logistics partners may prefer. 

The second benefit of pledge managers is that they allow backers of dropped orders to pay through surveys and even buy add-ons. This ability to upsell at the point of purchase can give your funding a real boost to the people (your backers) who are most likely to return to reinvest in your exciting project. This feature alone can easily offset the additional cost that third-party software incurs. 

Pledge managers also act as a customer relationship management tool, not just for the current campaign, but also for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers on an ongoing basis. This is especially useful for startups who are brand-building while releasing their products. The pledge manager provides an easy way to message backers to engage them with future marketing, offer them a special deal, or make them aware of stretch goals and new reward tiers. 

Of course, the extended features of a third-party pledge manager come at a cost, both in money and in the time it takes to learn the system. This system may be cost-prohibitive to smaller teams or single creators who are both developing the product and running the campaign. The best way to decide which system to use is to examine your reward tiers and available project options. Is your product simple or complex? What kinds of information does your project require from backers? Are you shipping locally or worldwide? Will you run more crowdfunding campaigns in the future? 

Answering these questions can help you understand the complexity of your project and the logistical demands that it will have. This will inform you and your team if the built-in Kickstart Survey is enough or if you want the added options and ongoing benefits that a third-party pledge manager can offer. Besides, PledgeBox offers a fully justified pricing plan. A pledge manager system with full functionality does not charge any compaign fees at all, only 3% of the additional sales through PledgeBox.

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