Kickstarter co-founder issues stretch goal warning

Stretch goals muddy the waters” – that’s the warning issued by Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler.

As explained on the crowdfunding site’s blog last night, Strickler says that while a funding goal is clear and easy to define, the increasing tendency to encourage further pledges through stretch goals can lead to user dissatisfaction.

All-or-nothing funding is simple and clear: a project has a single goal, and backers support the project in its pursuit of that goal,” he stated. Stretch goals muddy the waters. What if someone got in early and helped a project reach its funding goal, but now the creator is focused on stretch goals? What if someone backs a project for a stretch goal-related reward, and that goal isn’t met? Both are bad experiences for backers.

For a typical stretch goal a creator will promise to release their game in additional formats or add extra functions if certain funding goals are hit. But expanding a project’s scope can change the creative vision and put the whole project at risk. We’ve seen stretch goals leave some projects overwhelmed, over-budget, and behind schedule.

Many Kickstarter projects end up significantly overfunded, and creators often use those funds to improve the project’s end product. More funding might mean higher-quality materials and other improvements that thank backers with a better-made thing. For other creators overfunding means the project turns a profit. Both are great outcomes. Stretch goals, on the other hand, trade long-term risk for a short-term gain. Tread carefully.

What should a creator do if their project is funded with significant time on the clock? The same thing every creator should do: make an unforgettable experience for their backers.”

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