There are three really easy and simple ways to get disgruntled your backers and to lose the respect of the crowdfunding ecosystem. These three ways are:
- disappear off the radar after your crowdfunding campaign;
- don’t tell your backers that the shipping of rewards is delayed; or
- quietly let the estimated shipping date slip by hoping that the backers won’t notice.
In February 2014, I backed a graphic novel project on Kickstarter that was 102% funded. By the half way mark, the campaign tapered off and the project seemed likely to be unsuccessful. But, the campaign had one or two large backers that pledged more than a third of the funding goal in the last 48 hours, pushing the project over the finish line.
I have not received any communication from the campaigner since the campaign ended. The campaigner has also not responded to any emails or social media communications I have sent him. Additionally, the rewards were estimated to ship in March 2014 and, to date, have not been received.
This type of conduct from the campaigner is very puzzling, especially because he is a well-known graphic novelist with a large social media presence.
Aftershocks of bad crowdfunding conduct
Side stepping the fact that this campaigner is disregarding his obligations to backers, and that ceasing communication with backers from your crowdfunding campaign is unprofessional and discourteous, there are five aftershocks to this type of bad conduct:
1) Going forward, I am less likely to support any graphic novel crowdfunded campaign. This campaigner took my money, and seemingly made a run for it. For me, it is now a case of “once bitten, twice shy”. As I mention in another post: I believe in your vision; respect that you are taking my money.
2) Future campaigners pick up the slack for this type of behaviour. Campaigners who are new to crowdfunding have to work so much harder to convince backers, who are not close friends and family, to support their project.
3) The crowdfunding and venture capital ecosystems overlap. As seen from various successfully crowdfunded projects, more recently Oculus Rift, the pay-off for campaigners can be substantial. Why would campaigners risk the opportunity of venture capital investment through bad crowdfunding conduct?
4) A lot of campaigners are keen to succeed in crowdfunding, and through their actions, the public’s perception of crowdfunding improves and inherent riskiness of crowdfunding diminishes. Bad conduct from one campaigner can undermine their efforts and tarnish the acceptability of crowdfunding.
5) As I mention in the back story, this campaigner has an extensive social media presence. This was useful during the campaign to help build a community for his project; but on the flip side, backers can easily vent directly at him using these same social media channels. In this case, bad publicity is not good publicity.
Do not ruin your track record and successes achieved during the crowdfunding campaign by neglecting your post campaign communication!