Troubleshooting Your Campaign: You’re Not Going To Hit Your Target

Even with advance planning, it’s possible that your campaign won’t fund. Commitments may not materialize, the goal may have been too ambitious, and your campaign deadline may pass without the target being reached.


What to do? Part of the answer depends on the funding mechanism of your platform. Some, like Kickstarter, are “all-or-nothing” – either you hit your target, or you receive $0. Others, like Indiegogo, have a “flexible funding” option*, whereby you keep any funds raised, even if your target is not hit.

*It’s important to note that many platforms that have a flexible funding option, like Indiegogo, require you select it before launch – meaning you can’t switch to flexible funding at the last minute if it looks like you are not going to hit your target.

All-Or-Nothing Platform (e.g., Kickstarter)

Clearly, it would be highly disappointing to do all the work of preparing for a campaign and then end up with nothing. There are a few options in this case:

  • If you are close to your target, you may want to self-fund. This is a little tricky, because Kickstarter and some other platforms don’t let you pledge to your own campaign. But, you could have a trusted person – a spouse, sibling, friend – pledge on your behalf, and then refund them.
  • If you aren’t close to your target , you may wish to relaunch your campaign with a lower target immediately after your first campaign closes. You’ll need clear messages here: what the revised project is with a lower budget, when and where to find the new campaign, a way to get reenergized. You also need to recognize that not everyone who pledged the first time around will come back. They may be discouraged or lose interest.
  • Or, you may wish to go back to the drawing board, enlist new backers, and run the campaign again – with an exciting new message – another 3-12 months down the road.

Flexible Funding Option (e.g., Indiegogo)

  • If it’s an available option, you may want to extend your deadline. Some platforms, like Indiegogo, may offer you a one-time deadline extension. If it looks like you need it, take it. Then get excited about it. Share how thrilled you are that the campaign has done so well, and that you’re so glad to continue for another month. The temptation here is to apologize or whine. Don’t do that. Repeat: DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR EXTENDING THE DEADLINE. Be proud and excited. Whiners don’t get backers.
  • If you are close to your target, you may want to self-fund. Although you’ll get the money anyway, there are some features, like Indiegogo’s “InDemand”, that only switch on if you reach your target before the deadline. There’s also a crowd psychology boost that happens at 100% funded that may help you to attract the additional outside funds you need.
  • If you aren’t close, update the campaign message to a lower target. Visitors to your campaign will be discouraged by the fact that the deadline is close and you’re not at 100% – help overcome this by explaining what funds to a smaller target will go towards. Make sure this is right at the top of the page – don’t expect visitors to read all the way down to the bottom.

In either case, you’ll also want to review the campaign experience after it is over to examine exactly why it didn’t reach its target. Crowdfunding is marketing, and this intel will help you market your project when it is released.

  • Did the VIP Soft Launch not get the campaign to 40%+ funded before it went public? If so, why?
  • Did Benefactors not honor their commitments, or were the amounts smaller than expected? If so, why?
  • Was the Rule of 7 not applied well prior to launch, and/or prior to deadline? If so, what prevented excellent execution?
  • Was the campaign poorly timed? Were your potential backers distracted? If so, what would have been a better time of year? Does this influence your project launch in any way?
  • Did your prospective buyers not understand how to shop online on a crowdfunding platform? If so, how will you sell your project?
  • Were your perks and rewards overpriced, or otherwise unattractive? If so, how can you improve your perks?
  • Did your campaign not have the right “look”? If so, how can you improve your brand to attract your audience?
  • Did your email / social media response rates not match your projections? If so, why? How can engagement be improved?
  • Were other projections not realistic? If so, what would have been realistic figures to use?
  • Did your attitude about the crowdfunding process sour at a certain point? If so, why? What could be done to keep a positive attitude when marketing your project?

Remember, crowdfunding is just one potential step to producing your project, and hitting your target is not a requirement for your project’s success. We have had clients whose campaigns did not fund, but who went on to great success because of the valuable lessons learned. We have also talked to many prospects who realized crowdfunding was not for them, and they went on to find other creative ways to produce their projects. So, if you run a campaign that doesn’t fund, acknowledge that it hurts – and then move forward.

If you would like a free  personalized diagnostic of your crowdfunding idea – a $125 value! – please fill out our Artist Questionnaire. We typically respond within two weeks.

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