This has been a challenging year, to say the least. We’ve experienced a worldwide pandemic, global protests calling for social change, a U.S. election, and of course the ripple effects that these major developments have had on all of us personally.
Through it all, crowdfunding creators have continued to launch projects. And whether these projects were in direct response to current events or were passion projects that were in the works since last year, they reflect the resilience, strength, and creativity of the crowdfunding community. We are inspired and motivated by you all.
BackerKit has been able to accomplish a lot this year. We’ve worked with 6,094,572 backers and 2,243 creators, helping them raise a total of $162,545,608. We also received a 2020 Help Scout Customer Service Award. But this wouldn’t be possible without all of you. And so we want to thank our customers as we take a look back at 2020, and the year we’ve had together.
Tracking crowdfunding health
In the early months of the pandemic, we were all trying to understand how this unprecedented public health crisis would affect our lives.
In response to this, we started closely monitoring the health of the crowdfunding industry and checking in with our partners and friends in the community. We published weekly crowdfunding health updates to provide you all with a better understanding of the landscape and track pledges.
There was encouraging news: even in a pandemic creators were launching projects and backers were showing up. After a month, our data showed that overall pledges were tracking above average. This trend continued week after week.
The orange line in the graph shows the total number of pledges raised across all project categories since May of 2020. The dotted goal line is the average funds raised in 2019.
The successful campaigns we saw during the past several months have underscored the importance of pre-launch preparation and planning. Building your email list, communicating with your community, assessing your own bandwidth, and finding partners that can offer support at strategic moments throughout your crowdfunding journey will put you in a good position to achieve your funding goal.
Check out the following resources to learn more about planning your campaign:
BackerKit and Crowd Ox join forces
In November, we began an exciting new chapter in the BackerKit story: Crowd Ox, a pledge management platform for crowdfunding projects, joined our team.
We’re all dedicated to helping creators solve problems and have spent years building tools to support that mission. Now that we’ve joined forces, we can double our efforts and concentrate on delivering the best pledge management experience possible. We are also thrilled to have our new teammates onboard, and together we are already cooking up ways to make campaign management easier for creators in 2021 and beyond.
2020 BackerKit product updates
BackerKit product development is customer-driven. We listen to our customers, we learn from our customers, and then we use what we’ve discovered to build tools that simplify crowdfunding for creators and backers. We steadily make updates to BackerKit Launch, Pledge Manager, and Marketing, as well as global BackerKit account features throughout the year. Here are a few releases that we were especially excited about in 2020.
- Support for Indiegogo projects: In a much-requested update, Indiegogo creators can now add their projects to Launch. We will be able to track performance and conversions of emails directed towards those projects.
- Link directly to a project: Recipients of Launch emails no longer have to navigate to a landing page to get to your Kickstarter campaign. You can now put your Kickstarter URL directly in your Launch email, while still being able to track performance.
- Supporting importing Kickstarter Add-ons: BackerKit fully integrates with Kickstarter’s new add-on feature. If you’ve charged for add-ons directly in Kickstarter, we can pull them into BackerKit and apply those add-ons to backers’ carts.
- State-based shipping fees: Creators can now set up shipping regions using US states and regions of Canada.
- Fine-tuning Marketing: Throughout the year, we’ve built out a number of tools for our Marketing service to improve conversion tracking and allow our team to get a better picture of marketing performance.
- Creators can sign up pre-launch: If creators have a draft project, they can sign up for BackerKit. To help creators at this stage prepare for their campaigns, we’ve also added educational guides and a campaign checklist to the product page in BackerKit.
To learn more about what we’ve built this year, please head over to our product updates page.
Supporting Black-led campaigns
BackerKit is committed to making the crowdfunding community a more inclusive space and supporting Black creators. This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests really put into focus how important it is for all of us to do our part to fight structural racism and anti-blackness.
While this is an ongoing mission, this year, we started to look for ways that we could personally be a part of the change we’d like to see.
In June, BackerKit donated $20,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice. We also began matching employee donations to initiatives that are fighting racial injustice up to $500 for 2020 for each of BackerKit’s employees. Since June, BackerKit employees have donated an additional $3,884 to over 30 different funds and organizations, which will all be matched. Any remaining funds will be donated to Black Lives Matter and Black Organizing Project.
Black Creators Newsletter
Twice monthly, we send out a newsletter highlighting Black-led projects. We’re always looking for new projects to feature. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you or someone you know has launched a project that you think would be a good fit.
Sharing the stories of Black creators
It’s critical that the content that we share and the crowdfunding stories that we publish on our blog reflect the diversity of our community. We’ve recently spoken to two creators, Omari Akil and Mario Waugh, about their projects and what they learned through their first Kickstarter campaigns. We hope you’ll check out their stories.
Moving into 2021, we will continue to find ways to amplify the voices and projects of Black creators and creators from underrepresented communities.
In 2019, we hosted five webinars. This year, we’ve hosted 14! Crowdfunding experts such as Jamey Stegmaier, Laser Malena-Webber, and Julio Terra have joined us, and we’ve had insightful conversations on everything from community-building to game manufacturing. It’s been wonderful to connect with the community in this way and we’re looking forward to answering more of your crowdfunding questions in the new year.
Follow us on Crowdcast for webinar content and to be the first to know about upcoming livestreams. We will be kicking off our 2021 webinars on January 14. Kickstarter’s Senior Outreach Lead for Tabletop Games, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, will be discussing the do’s and dont’s of crowdfunding your game on Kickstarter. RSVP today to join us.
We’re always thinking up ways to better serve and support the crowdfunding community. We’ve recently launched a tabletop Facebook group and we’re continuing to optimize our products. This was not the year that anyone expected but we’ve certainly been encouraged by what we’ve seen from creators and backers in 2020. We are looking forward to what we can all achieve together in the new year.