The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has created uncertainty across the globe including our strong crowdfunding community. With so many unknowns when it comes to public health and the economy, it makes sense that the crowdfunding community may be anxious or, at the very least curious about what the disease means for Kickstarter campaigns. The truth is that this situation is evolving from day-to-day. But we’ve been connecting with creators, active crowdfunding communities, and our industry friends to track developments. To address some of your most pressing concerns and questions, we’d like to share our findings.
Should I move my project launch date?
Ultimately, you will have to judge that for yourself, and do what feels right and makes logistical sense for you. But to make an educated decision, here are things that you should keep in mind:
1. Creators are launching successful campaigns. In the past week, we’ve seen some great success stories. Starlight reached its funding goal in just 17 minutes while Moonshine Empire — a first-time creator — reached its goal on the first day. Other creators we’ve heard from have said that they haven’t noticed a decline in backers pledging to their projects. This tells us that launching during this time isn’t inherently detrimental to your campaign.
2. Potential manufacturing and shipping delays. Companies, big and small, have been affected by factory closures in China. If you are working with a Chinese manufacturing company to produce your product, you are likely to experience delays. Thankfully, efforts are being made to keep workers healthy. Also, most people are aware of the slow downs that are happening because of coronavirus, and are likely to be understanding towards any potential crowdfunding slowdown.
If you haven’t launched your project yet, you may want to think about an alternative way of manufacturing your product — whether that means bringing everything in-house or working with a local company. Otherwise, ensuring that backers are aware of manufacturing or shipping delays is a great way to deal with this issue.
3. Trends happening in your project category. While we may not be seeing a noticeable decline in pledges at the moment, event-related campaigns may want to delay or get creative about how they release their projects. With the social distancing directive that governments across the world are putting into action, an event may not be feasible in the near future. Before you launch, do your due diligence and make sure you’re aware of how the outbreak is impacting your specific industry.
How are crowdfunding platforms responding?
After creators and backers shared their concerns about COVID-19 with Kickstarter, the company has offered to extend project deadlines by seven days for creators with live campaigns. In an official post, Kickstarter explains how to request an extension, but notes that they haven’t yet seen any noticeable decline in support for live projects.
How has COVID-19 affected BackerKit?
Just like our crowdfunding platform friends, we haven’t noticed any decline in our business or major shifts in customer behavior since the coronavirus outbreak began. Of course, this is uncharted territory for all of us. While we obviously don’t know what tomorrow holds, there isn’t anything that we’ve seen in the data we’ve been collecting that is cause for concern.
We are taking precautions to keep our team healthy, and have set everyone up with the tools and support they need to work from home. We are all prepared to continue delivering great service to our creators and their backers during this time.
What can creators do today?
Crowdfunding is all about community. This is the time to really reach out to your supporters and friends and keep those relationships strong. Remain transparent about any issues you may be facing with manufacturing and reiterate your commitment to delivering the best product possible. If you foresee any delays, let your backers know.
This update by TYTUS COMBO is a great example of how to keep backers informed. In their coronavirus Kickstarter update, they clearly and sincerely communicate how their crowdfunding campaign is being affected by the outbreak — both the impact it’s had on their team and their shipping timeline.
If you’re concerned about reaching your goal, make sure that you’re doing your best to keep your project top-of-mind for the people in your community.
What can backers do today?
We’re all dealing with this together, and strong communities rally together in times like these. As a backer, take a moment to show your support — let creators know that you understand what they’re going through — and be patient with creators who are experiencing delays. If you have the ability to pledge, creators need your help now more than ever. If you don’t have the financial means, and are unable to pledge at the moment, you can still support your favorite Indiegogo and Kickstarter creators by sharing their campaign pages with friends.
We will continue to share new developments as we learn more, as well as information about how creators can get the most out of their campaigns right now. Until events and conventions are up and running again, we have some awesome digital content for you, including crowdfunding webinars on March 24 and March 31.
We believe in the resilience and strength of this community and are confident that together we will make our way through any challenges we may face.