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Do You Need Stretch Goals?

Stretch goals may be the most contentious aspect of Kickstarter. While people have come to accept and celebrate the all-or-nothing funding model of Kickstarter, not everyone embraces stretch goals. Some people see adding additional goals as poor planning, or greediness on the part of a creator. Some see stretch goals as a foolish use of time, and an unpredictable factor to add to your well-planned budget. And then there are those who view stretch goals as a useful tool for promotion and an integral part of a project’s funding.

So Which Is It?
The only person who can decide if stretch goals are right for your Kickstarter campaign is you, and you need to decide before you launch your Kickstarter so you can add your stretch goals into your budget. We hope the following Q & A will help you determine your stretch goal plan.

What Are Stretch Goals Kickstarter

What are Stretch Goals?

Stretch goals are additional rewards that are reached when your campaign surpasses it’s funding goal. These are different than rewards; stretch goals should be in the form of upgrades to your core game, but do not prevent your game from being made.

Unlike your funding goal, stretch goals do not need to be met. However, you will still need to budget (design, manufacturing, shipping) for these items because if your stretch goals are met they should be given to all backers at no extra cost.

What’s the Purpose of Stretch Goals?

As mentioned above, the purpose of stretch goals is to enhance the value of your game by upgrading material, size, number of pieces, design etc. The secondary goal is to encourage backers to donate more than they originally would have. Having stretch goals may give you a better chance at reaching your initial goal even if you don’t reach your stretch goals.

Stretch goals can also allow you to meet a goal you were not confident in meeting in the all-or-nothing funding restriction of the basic Kickstarter campaign. For example, you may have wanted foil-stamped cards in your game from the beginning, but didn’t want to risk the entire game’s success on something that in the end was not necessary. Adding that feature as a stretch goal will allow you to enhance your game without risking the entire game’s funding.

Kickstarter Purpose of Stretch Goals

There is one more benefit to stretch goals, it can help promote your Kickstarter campaign after the initial buzz has worn off. If you introduce an exciting stretch goal to your game -such as fancy upgrades to pieces- it can make your backers and potential backers more excited about your game. If a backer is really interested in the upgrade, they might help promote your Kickstarter among their network of friends. Word of mouth is always the most effective means of promotion, and an enthusiastic fan is a great resource to have!

If your stretch goal is just to make more money, or to get more backers, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and your backers will notice. Like everything else, stretch goals need to be well-planned, thematically appropriate, and you need to be invested in the idea.

How Do Stretch Goals Work?

It’s simple, as you raise more money the per unit cost of your game decreases and may allow you to allocate that small amount of money into improving game components.

How Do I Offer Stretch Goals?

Offering Stretch Goals Kickstarter
First you’ll need to decide if you’ll make stretch goals visible at the start of your launch or if you’ll unveil them mid-launch – or after you’ve reached funding – as a way to revamp excitement.

If you wait to unveil your goals mid-way through your campaign, then you’ll be counting on backers coming back to your page to up their bid. If you make the goals available from the start you’ll have a better chance at capitalizing on backers making higher donations the first time they reach your page.

You can also consider sharing one stretch goal at a time to keep backers and visitors focused or make all goals and funding amount visible in case your larger stretch goals are more interesting
to your audience, than the first few.

Format for Offering Stretch Goals

The most popular way for backers to unlock stretch goals is by reaching a monetary value, but that doesn’t have to be the only way.

1. You can use social media, as you reach a certain number of likes, retweets or even email subscribers unveil your stretch goals. This is a nice compromise from showing your stretch goals right away and waiting mid-campaign. Plus it encourages backers to share your campaign with other like-minded individuals.

2. You can have stretch goals unlock by reaching a specified number of backers. This is a tricky dance because while more backers means more money it may not be as much money as you’ll need to afford the cost of your stretch goal. This could work well for a simple stretch goal like upgrading cardboard tokens to wooden cubes.

3. Time is another measurement you can use to unlock stretch goals. For example, if your campaign is funded within 5 days “X” goal is unlocked. Again, it’s tricky to calculate just how much money will be raised. However, if you reach your funding goal quickly, statistics show, it increases the chance of third-party and Kickstarter publicity.

Of course, you’ll be able to offer more value to backers if you use monetary stretch goals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a mix of unlocking methods!

What Should my Stretch Goals Be?

If you decide to offer stretch goals, they can come in a few different forms. You can reward your backers with improved features to your game (like foil-stamped cards, or custom dice), or you can present options that are an extension of your game, but still follows the rule of enhancing your games value.

We looked through the most funded games on Kickstarter and accumulated a list of stretch goal offerings.

Game Upgrades:

  • Two-sided game board instead of standard
  • Upgraded artwork on game cards
  • Increase size of tokens from 16 to 20mm
  • Metal Coins instead of wood
  • Miniatures instead of meeples
  • Plastic tokens instead of wood
  • Furry game box instead of cardboard, yes this is real
Extensions of Your Game:

  • Extra Cards, expansion packs
  • Dice Bag
  • Book of your lore
  • Quick-reference guide

Stretch goals that offer additional rewards to backers should be approached with the same sort of caution and planning as your standard rewards and your game itself. You need to make sure that your budget -even with the funds from your met stretch goal- can handle the addition of the new offering. Additional funds mean additional backers, which means additional fulfillment, and additional fees taken out by Kickstarter. It may also mean adjustments to your well-measured shipping and packaging costs, additional labor, and production time.

So, are Stretch Goals Right for Me?

While it seems silly not to ask for more money when you have the opportunity, not everyone needs to do stretch goals!

In fact, most campaigns outside of the game category just offer the best product they can make and work on reaching the all or nothing funding goal. This approach takes a lot of stress and work off your plate that stretch goals will add.

To be an effective form of marketing, your stretch goal reward has to be something your backers will be excited about. Balancing high-enthusiasm with low-cost is tricky. Think about the rewards you selected for your campaign, and the amount of planning that went into those. Even simple cosmetic adjustments to your game can impact cost significantly.

Whatever your decision, your stretch goals should be completely thought through well before you launch your Kickstarter campaign. There is debate among seasoned Kickstarter creators as to whether you include your stretch goals when you launch your campaign, or if you should wait until you are close to meeting your initial goal.

There is one thing everyone does agree on, adding a stretch goal impulsively is very dangerous, and could jeopardize the production of your game and the fulfillment of your Kickstarter rewards. Just like exercising, be sure to warm up before you stretch!