Pledge Managers are becoming an inseparable part of many (if not most) crowdfunding campaigns. It’s noticeable especially in the tabletop games category. Even though some backers felt antipathy towards pledge managers when they became a thing, each year more and more can’t imagine a campaign lacking one.
Even though filling the surveys seems like a hassle at first (not to mention sharing your personal data with yet another company), the amount of quality of life improvements they bring to Kickstarter campaigns it too big to ignore. How do they work? Why are they so popular? How to use everything they have to offer to you as a backer? We’ll answer all these questions today.
What is a Pledge Manager?
Pledge manager is a web browser tool made with Kickstarter creators and backers in mind. These apps are usually opened after the campaign and allow people to alter their pledges, choose additional items, personalize what they bought and type in their shipping address. Everything comes in shape of an online survey and can sometimes be edited later on. Pledge managers usually stay open only for a few weeks. There are 3 major apps like that on the market with many more trying to join the race (not to mention the small, publisher exclusive managers).
Backers are usually told how the manager is going to work while the campaign is still running. Later on, they get a reminder with manager’s launch date and another mail including a link to the actual survey.
Why do They Exist?
The answer is simple. Kickstarter lacks major features, that are priceless to backers. It might not be so obvious when you look at campaigns of tech gadgets or clothing, but board games are a completely different story. With pledge managers backers can specify which add-ons do they want and make some decisions after the campaign. Want to get a specific faction for a crowdfunded wargame? How about ordering additional miniatures for your box and getting them professionally painted? Sure, it could also be done by increasing the amount of pledges, but this makes the campaign unnecessarily complicated and hard to grasp.
Game creators on the other hand can offer more shipping options, prices adjusted to regions, have better access to backer data and most importantly: avoid most logistics related problems that happen after campaigns are over.
Benefits of Pledge Managers for Backers
If you’re planning on backing a tabletop game on Kickstarter, you’ll most likely have to fill a pledge manager survey. Surveys are usually pretty intuitive, although sometimes they may bring unexpected surprises, like paying for shipping after the campaign or introducing another set of addons that creators never talked about until this point.
One of the best things about pledge managers, is the ability to modify your $1 Kickstarter pledge. Since all pledges grant access to the manager, people often decide to support the creators with one dollar, become “official backers”, and thanks to that, postpone the decision of making their actual pledge by a few weeks.
In some rarer cases creators (like CMON) allow non-backers to access the campaign after it ends. There are also some cases of offering the unsold or newly printed copies to non-backers many months later. For example: 7th Continent, the third most funded tabletop game ever, has opened its pledge manager again, after almost a year and let many new people order their copies. These would be shipped much later than the backer ones, but it still was the only way to get the game for people, who missed out on the campaign.
Pledge managers often let backers buy older expansions and editions of the game. Sometimes people can even get their hands on all other titles by the same publisher. They’re also useful for customizing your ordered game by choosing a language you prefer and other things. Some campaigns (like the one for Suburbia recently) allow for picking variants of ingame elements from a certain pool. In case of Suburbia it was a set of 5 tiles (out of 20) inspired by real world cities.
Campaigns hosted on pledge managers after funding, are almost always better organized and give much higher chances of receiving exactly what you wanted. They also help creators avoid post release problems related to errors in shipping. It’s also possible to edit your address and pledges after the campaign is over. That’s one of the most vital things missing from the classic Kickstarter survey.
The biggest pledge manager on the market has so far helped in organizing campaigns with over 144 million dollars pledged by almost 9.5 millions of backers and was used by 5700 project creators. Other companies with similar apps are also boasting huge and growing numbers of clients.
We can easily say that pledge managers are here to stay. The services, despite some initial confusion, got wildly popular and keep helping the creators with shipping their projects in the best way possible. Backers also benefit from additional ways to customize (or recustomize) their pledges and staying sure, that their game will arrive in the desired shape.