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Kickstarter introduces ‘late pledges’ for finished projects

Up until now, you had to go to the creator’s page to buy the goods after the Kickstarter effort was over. Today, Kickstarter announced that (finally!) preordering will be a part of its main site after the campaign is over. The website promises that all artists will have access to the “late pledges” tool in the near future. Observers of the business will likely dismiss it with a “welcome to the club,” given that Indiegogo launched a similar service named InDemand nearly a decade ago.

Despite being late to the party, Kickstarter has been a leader in crowdfunding since its founding in 2009. Accepting late donations is a great way to support talented individuals. The feature not only provides backers who missed the first campaign with new ways to contribute, but it also makes it easier for people to contribute after the campaign is over. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, including Kickstarter, which had to deal with off-site post-campaign presales up until now, so it couldn’t take its usual 5% platform fee. Of course, it will also work for donations that are late.

It’s pretty clear, though. 

How does it do its job?
When people are creating a campaign, they can turn on late pledges from their screen. This allows the celebration to continue even after a project has successfully secured funding. Like during the campaign phase, this adds a part to their project page called “Late Pledges,” where new backers can choose prizes and give their support whenever it’s most convenient for them. A representative for Kickstarter told us that Late Pledges works well with the Kickstarter site and makes the whole process easy and quick for everyone.

It makes a lot of sense for owners to receive late donations. A product’s Kickstarter page will often have a lot of Google power and appear at the top of search results. The next step is obviously to get people to spend money. Because of this, late donations are a great way to build on the energy of efforts that have already been successful. People who want to support the project but find out about it later can still do so and get the benefits they want without having to wait for a separate purchase effort. Creators can also offer special prizes or benefits that are only available for a short time to get more support and keep people interested in and aware of their projects.

However, it’s not all sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it’s unbelievably hard to deliver on crowdfunding campaigns, and there’s often a time after the campaign when things start to really go downhill in terms of manufacturing and design. Keeping preorders open at that point could be risky because you would have to deal with more backers, complete prizes, and maybe even lose the sense of urgency that drives many crowdfunding campaigns at the start. Also, makers may need to think carefully about when and how long the late offers will last so that the effect of their initial campaign isn’t lost.

Even though there may be some problems, the late donation feature has a lot of benefits for Kickstarter producers. Backers get more freedom and the chance to help with projects they might not have been able to before. Additionally, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where this feature could help make crowdfunding more stable by letting projects get ongoing support.

It will be interesting to see where Kickstarter takes this feature in the future. It’s easy to see the platform adding improvements, like timed payment windows, or integrating it with other features to make projects more visible and help them succeed. Changes to this feature could lead to bigger changes in Kickstarter’s approach, putting more emphasis on long-term connections between artists and backers and giving creators more tools to help them.

If you want to see what it looks like, the Master of Realms effort that just ended on Kickstarter now has the feature turned on.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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