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Stretch goals: when are they a good idea, and when should they be introduced?

Obviously stretch goals aren't right for every project — what are some things to consider before introducing one? What are the possible pitfalls? Is it better to launch with stretch goals already announced, or wait and see how things go?
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Ashley Cooper
2-time creator
140
Answered on

For my last short, we had no concept of launching stretch goals, but we funded on day four and had to put our brains together to come up with ideas!

I think stretch goals are a great idea, but I've seen some people succumb to the pitfalls of getting too excited about their success and then over promising on their stretch goals by promising things that amp their costs up more than they anticipated. (hard cover books vs soft cover, for example)

I think stretch goals, like any other rewards, deserve very specific consideration in terms of what is being offered, what they'll cost, and the logistics of delivering on those promises.

In terms of when to announce them, I feel like they tend of best serve their purpose when you're close to your goal. You can come off as overly confident by launching with stretch goals built into your campaign, but if you're hitting 80% of your goal and still have a lot of time left, launching stretch goals could be a great way to motivate your community to get you over the finish line and beyond.

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Egypt Urnash
3-time creator
21
Answered on

For my small-press comics, I've had stretch goals in mind, but not posted them until the project funds.

If you can't think of a way to make your project better than your initial goal, then don't bother. Even if the campaign goes crazy. You made a cool thing people wanted a lot, congratulations, your reward is a lot of money.

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Eloy Lasanta
20-time creator
4
Answered on

From the Tabletop Games side, Stretch Goals are mostly expected to be upfront. Backers want to know what you plan to do with the money you get for the goal, and where extra money may go. They also work as incentive. If they REALLY want that Stretch Goal, they'll help promote more to get others to help get there. That's from my experience anyway, but I mostly stick to one category. 

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Doug Monahan
Creator
55
Answered on

Stretch goals can be quite complicated. I think they need to be very carefully evaluated to ensure they really make sense. I think one of the pitfalls of a tremendously successful campaign - so one that receives over $500k - is there can be a euphoria. Poor decisions have been made in times like this. One of the reasons to have stretch goals is to further reward your pledges - but at the same time - you have to make sure you truly can deliver the product - and deliver the product on time. For example one of the common pledge goals is to offer additional colors. While offering additional colors seems innocuous by itself it can have a domino effect on costs. Rather than purchasing 5,000 of one product you are now purchasing say 2500 of two products - thus you lose the economy of scale - the discount for purchasing 5,000 of a product.  The decision - while lauded by your pledgers - could adversely affect your campaign due to perhaps shipping delays.

I personally think that stretch goals should be called Appreciation Rewards. I think they should be provided without any fan fare - just something that the creator offers vs. calling them stretch goals. I suppose if the whole purpose of a Campaigners stretch goal is to get the pledges to further tout the offering to their friends, family, etc. and consequently the campaign hits these numbers that would not have been able to attain if it were not for those existing pledges. It's a great idea, but the chances are high that all of the pledges for your project have already told their friends, co-workers, facebook friends anyway - so I doubt that the goal of getting thousands of people to further promote your project in hopes of getting a "stretch goal" - no matter how great your stretch goal may be. However, stretch goals are used. Perhaps this question should have been "Can you please tell me about the success or failure of your stretch goal offering? The following questions should be asked - 1) What is your ultimate goal for a stretch goal? Is it to drive more pledges? Is it to brag to the world that you are close to some number? Is it to garner press? Is it to reward your pledgers with something new? Are your stretch goals mutually beneficial - do they benefit your company as well as the pledgers in a fair and equitable way? Are you sure your stretch goal isn't going to harm your campaign by delaying production? Are you going to be able to sufficiently handle the existing pledges and are positive that adding this stretch goal isn't going to overwhelm your staff?

Introducing a stretch goal is almost as complicated as introducing a new product. I think it should be very carefully studied before whimsically offering something that could ultimately hurt the campaign and your pledgers alike.However, once you have evaluated all of these options and you still feel like it is a great idea, then I think you should proudly announce to your backers your intent and hope they appreciate your willingness to offer additional rewards and benefits to them.

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John Rap
39-time creator
86
Answered on

I'm doing something experimental with my stretch goals. If it works, I assume everyone in comics will "be inspired by" the idea. It maybe even will become a thing on Kickstarter at large. It's sort of like achievements on xbox, but it's postcards in the mail. It's funding, pre-orders, and a bookmark/achievement all in one. 

1. I basically take one of my old stories, I have 20 years worth of books I've cooked up in my head.
2. Then I contract an artist to make a work based on the story for Kickstarter.
3. That one image goes on a Postcard, which I call a Votecard, and is the basic Kickstarter reward.
4. Then, depending on how many people back the project stretch goals are hit, in which the margin on the postcards pays for additional art that I buy from the artist and additional pages that I get to include in the story, which is needed to fulfill the stretch goals, of a longer and longer piece of graphic fiction.
5. Everyone who buys the postcard, even for $1, gets the full digital storybook, comic book, graphic novel, whatever gets built by the stretch goals that are unlocked.
6. The postcard is sort of a collectible in its own. Then a second project is made for printing the graphic novel, if the project goes that far.

I'm basically letting the Kickstarter community pick which projects go forward. As for overconfidence of stretch goals, I agree it looks jarring the first time you see it. I've thought it through, and to me it makes sense. Only time will truly tell if the idea is good. Definitely I'm not embarrassed to fail at stretch goals. That's just the community telling you what it wants or doesn't want.

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The Jolly Llamas
Creator
13
Answered on

We waited until we were funded to make our stretch goal known but we started hinting about it when we hit 75% 

I think that as long as you are providing a product that people want, people will keep contributing regardless of whether you make your goal.  To keep the funding from slowing down, additional incentives can be used :)

As long as you come up with a fun and realistic idea for a stretch goal, I think its a great way to extend the hype and keep the ball rolling.  As an idea, for our stretch goal, we've opted to make a music video and let our backers participate by voting on which song we use.

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Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
8-time creator
353
Last edited on

Having done one KS project before, I constructed my most recent (and still ongoing for a couple more days) project with stretch goals in mind from the outset, although I only revealed the next one as each one was reached. http://kck.st/1zrHIFI

It's a hardware (electronic) project kit, so I came up with small additional hardware elements that could be added to complement the main kit. They had to be quite inexpensive to buy, but each new piece has experiments that will be produced to go with it.

I put together my ideal full set, then took out the three extra 'bits', leaving the basic set for base level funding (which I hit in 3.5 hours). That left me with three stretch goals.

The point here is that, as an educational KS project, I wanted the project experiments to grow the more money we pulled in. So having little additional components to 'unlock' and enable new experiments is a good fit. The components are relatively cheap and easy to come by and I wanted to create these experiments anyway. It's just a question of how far I'd go with them. The main KS video also made it clear that "the better the KS does, the more time I can justify creating the learning resources".

Well it seems to be working. We're at £19034 at the moment with 3 days to go and the next stretch is £20k.

I have one more possible stretch in the bag, which is to open source the whole darned thing, but I'm still humming and hahing about that one.

So yeah - the "integrated approach" seems to be working quite well. (Everything was costed and worked out up-front.)

I have "worked" this campaign quite vigorously though. You'll see from this graph all the 'events' which have triggered an uptick https://plot.ly/~alexeames/391/raspio-duino-ks-tracker-vs-days/ The vast majority of these 'events' were engineered or arranged by me (calling in a few favours etc.) Days 12-15 were horribly slow though :(

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John Wrot!
11-time creator
495
Answered on

I think that if you're going to have Stretch Goals, you must plan them before launch.  That's #1.

#2 - I think they should be announced at launch as well.  You don't have to list 35, or even 5, but I think 2-3 is a good start.  It shows that you've thought it out already and that you're ready to handle over-pledging with a promise of rewarding backers for the sharing and the like.

#3 - As other's have said "Don't overdo it".  Putting too many, making them too "expensive", or offering stuff that you couldn't possibly afford at X level are all, naturally, to be avoided.

Lastly - when taking suggestions from backers (as you should), do so with grace, but don't toss stuff in just because people are cheering for it.  Toss stuff in because people are cheering for it, and you're sure you can deliver on it.  I've seen more than one Kickstarter issue an apology Update because x, y, or z backker-suggested-SG can't actually be done.  These Updates are of course followed with "I only backed it because I thought I was getting..." comments.   : O

John Wrot!

Follow my Kickstarter Advice Blog here.

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Blackstone Entertainment, Inc.
Creator
86
Answered on

I'd agree with James - until you know your project is sliding in to home plate, so to speak, stretch goals right at the beginning come across as a little overconfident.

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Dave & Calvin Laituri
17-time creator
88
Answered on

I think stretch goals are sort of ...rude, in a way. Backers have jumped on to support your project ...and you ask them for MORE? 

The only things bakers can do when you announce a stretch goal is 1) up their pledge (sort of rude) 2) tell their friends & family 3) pass your project along to any media contacts they may have.

However, I do think if you crush your goal by a wide margin, you should give SOMETHING extra back to everyone... every project is different!

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CHARLES T. FOHM
1
Answered on

We do not pray for stretched goals any way! In my special case ,there is no stretched goals in sight, I already know the limits of my projects!