12 Tips on Shipping Rewards

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Packages being shipped off to backers by the The League of Ladies team
Packages being shipped off to backers by the The League of Ladies team

 

Thinking of fun, imaginative rewards is a must for every project creator, but so is planning how you’ll ship them. There’s no perfect way to calculate what your exact shipping costs will be, or where most of your backers will be located, but it definitely helps to do some research before you launch your project. We’ve pulled together a list of tips from Campus, posts written by creators, and a few other places to help you get ahead of the shipping game.

1. Research similar projects to estimate where most of your backers might be located. Here’s a breakdown of where we see the most backers.
Note: Any costs that backers pledge towards shipping will count towards your overall funding goal. More details on that here.

2. Plan where you’ll ship to and where you don't want to ship to. Think about whether you want to ship to countries where you know your supporters are based or to a larger, more global community. This post outlines how our shipping tool works.

3. Prepare a sample package for testing. Mock up a sample package and test shipping it to yourself or a friend. This will help you figure out packaging dimensions and other specifics ahead of time. While you're at the post office, ask them to help estimate shipping costs to locations where your supporters are based. Check out this video for more information on postage perks.

The creators of Good and Cheap - Eat Well at $4/day organized a shipping party with 30 generous volunteers
The creators of Good and Cheap - Eat Well at $4/day organized a shipping party with 30 generous volunteers

 

4. Determine how your packages will be shipped. Some rewards might be fragile (like ceramics) or expected to arrive in mint condition (like cookies or other foods). Will you need shrink wrap, bubble mailers, or other packaging materials? Incorporate the cost of these materials into your goal and shipping costs.

5. Account for other hidden costs. Don’t forget about tape, labels (for larger projects, consider investing in a used or new thermal printer), envelopes, and even storage space. Here’s what other creators considered when tallying up their shipping costs.

The Mouse Guard team boxed, taped, and labeled their packages for shipping
The Mouse Guard team boxed, taped, and labeled their packages for shipping

 

 

6. Keep backers in the know. Communicate any shipping milestones with them, and don’t forget to post a project update when you send out surveys.

7. Organization is fundamental. Use your backer report to keep track of which rewards you've shipped and to note any changes to survey responses. This report can also be exported in formats that are compatible with Endicia, USPS, and Stamps.com.

8. Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room. The world is an imperfect place. Sometimes packages get lost, damaged in transit, or returned as undeliverable. Have a plan in place for how you'll manage these bumps in the road.

9. Consider shipping insurance, because as mentioned above, shipping can be unpredictable.

The Werewolf team prepares to send a large bulk shipment to Chicago for distribution
The Werewolf team prepares to send a large bulk shipment to Chicago for distribution

 

10. Offer a local pick-up option to save on shipping and to get the chance to meet your backers in person.

  
The Green Pea Cookie team meets their local backers and saves a bit on shipping
The Green Pea Cookie team meets their local backers and saves a bit on shipping

 

 11. TAXES AND CUSTOMS. We repeat, taxes and customs. Whether you’re shipping domestically or internationally, do your best to research these potential costs.

12. USPS is your friend! If you’re located in the States, USPS offers free boxes, at-home pickup, and this nifty shipping calculator.

Further Reading