Backers’ rule of thumb for understanding delivery

One of the main issues in rewards-based crowdfunding is delayed delivery of rewards from project creators.

I backed 26 projects during February and March 2014 via Kickstarter. My crowdfunding portfolio is a blend of games, graphic novels and design items. The delivery status of these can be represented below.

The first graph shows the number of projects per delivery status:

Delivery status of Kickstarter Portfolio (June 2014)

Delivery status of Kickstarter Portfolio (June 2014) – Number or projects per category

The second graphs shows the total value of the projects per delivery status category:

Delivery status of Kickstarter Portfolio (June 2014)

Delivery status of Kickstarter Portfolio (June 2014) – Value of projects per category

It seems that the more complex the manufacturing process, the more likely there will be a delay in delivery. This pertains to both games and design items.

I track all my projects and rate all my project creators to understand the realistic delivery date of the reward. Based on my experience and research from other backers talking about their projects on the internet, I have created a rule of thumb of when to realistically expect delivery.

Rule of thumb: If the reward has not shipped by the middle of the estimated shipping month, add 2 to 3 months to any estimated shipping date.

The higher the multiple of funding goal to actual funding, the more likely shipping will be delayed between 3-5 months.

This is rule of thumb is especially relevant for any first-time project creators running a crowdfunding campaign.

Post-script to rule of thumb: If the project creator has gone very silent post campaign, expect a delayed delivery.

Causes and excuses for delayed delivery

Some of the reasons for delayed delivery that I received from project creators include:

  • being burnt out for several weeks post campaign;
  • moving onshore manufacturing to China;
  • changing manufacturers after receiving a bad sample;
  • manufacturing and shipping issues from manufacturers based in China;
  • changing the actual manufacturing process, for example, adding colour to an original black-and-white product, or changing the core product to include modifications or accessories as requested by backers;
  • preparing packages to be shipped;
  • attending conferences to promote products;
  • starting a new funding campaign and focusing on it instead of completing the rewards for the old campaign (yes, I kid you not).

Some statistics

Projects funded early February 2014:

  • exceeded funding goal by 14x. Estimated delivery date moved from April to July.
  • exceeded funding goal by 4x. Estimated delivery date moved from May to July to ??? because:
  • is flying out to China and doesn’t plan to come back till things are done properly. If that doesn’t work then we will look at other European countries.

  • funding goal reached. Estimated delivery date moved from March to June.
  • exceeded funding goal by 26.5x. Estimated delivery date moved from November to March 2015.

Project funded early March 2014:

  • exceeded funding goal by 7x. Estimated delivery date moved from August to October.
  • exceeded funding goal by 0.85x. Estimated delivery date moved from May to June.
  • funding goal reached. Estimated delivery date moved from May to ??? because the project creator has not shared one update post campaign.

Kickstarter’s terms on delivery

Kickstarter’s terms and conditions on delivery states:

The Estimated Delivery Date listed on each reward is not a promise to fulfill by that date, but is merely an estimate of when the Project Creator hopes to fulfill by.”

I discuss this term and condition in more detail in another post, but, overall, a project creator has to make a good faith attempt to ship the reward.

Other posts on delayed delivery and how to manage it, both as a backer and project creator

I have written a number of articles on delivery in rewards-based crowdfunding:

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