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What are Kickstarter stretch goals?

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

When you launch a Kickstarter campaign, you must set a fundraising goal, which should reflect the minimum amount of money that you need to bring the project to life.

If you hit that target before the campaign’s duration runs out, then you will be able to keep the funds that have been pledged by backers, and proceed to fulfill the promised rewards. If you don’t hit your goal, none of the backer’s credit cards will be charged.

However, what happens if you hit your crowdfunding goal when there is still time left before your campaign ends? This is where stretch goals come in. To give you an example of what stretch goals are, I’ve included a screenshot from the ‘Vidcode: A Coding App Created with Girls in Mind‘ campaign.

Vidcode kickstarter

These creators promise that if the campaign hits $60k in funding, then they will create a programmer portal, where advanced users can submit sketches and lessons for others to learn from. If the $100k milestone is reached, then the creators will be able to create an iOS/Android version of Vidcode.

To give you another example of a different type of stretch goal, I’ve included a screenshot below of the ‘Notion: Be home, even when you’re not‘ Kickstarter campaign.

Notion kickstarter

Notion stretch goals

If the $250k stretch goal is reached for this campaign, then backers will have the ability to own a limited edition color version of Notion.

As you can see, you can use stretch goals to motivate your audience to continue to spread the word about your campaign, even after you’ve hit your goal. Stretch goals will also incentivize new backers to join your project and encourage existing backers to up their contribution amount.

Usually, stretch goals are enhancements to your project that will be “unlocked” if you hit certain milestones. While not always, these enhancements are often given to everyone who has pledged to the project and claimed a ‘perk’ or ‘reward.’

An example of a stretch goal might be that if the project hits 200% funded, then each backer will get access to an exclusive part of the video game or a bonus track on your album.

Do stretch goals always coincide with a funding target?

No! You can advertise perks or enhancements that will be unlocked if a project gets a certain number of social shares on Facebook or a certain number of backers. In this post, Jamey Stegmaier explained how he offered stretch goals for Facebook ‘like’ milestones and for reaching backer milestones.

How do you finance stretch goals?

All successful Kickstarter campaigns must spend a portion of their funds raised producing rewards that were promised to backers. For this reason, many creators don’t make a large profit from their campaign. If you are going to add stretch goals to a campaign, then you need to consider whether or not you can finance them.

It’s best to choose enhancements that are low-cost to produce or that don’t cost anything to produce (aside from a time investment) to minimize the chance that you will be put in the red from trying to make a great experience for your backers. If you are going to offer a signifiant upgrade, then plan carefully.

In this blog post, Kickstarter warns “Stretch goals, on the other hand, trade long-term risk for a short-term gain. Tread carefully. What should a creator do if their project is funded with significant time on the clock? The same thing every creator should do: make an unforgettable experience for their backers. Use updates to share the creative process as it happens. Make a connection that goes beyond funding. Money gets spent, but a strong community will last forever.”

When should you announce stretch goals? 

This is a tricky question. On the one hand, if you announce them early on, it will get backers excited about what lies ahead for your project and might make them work harder to spread the word about your campaign and help you reach those targets.

On the other hand, it doesn’t give you as much flexibility as you are running your campaign to surprise your backers with new stretch goals or to reconsider which enhancements you are going to offer in exchange for reaching new milestones.

I would recommend researching similar Kickstarter campaigns in your category and seeing how backers reacted to their stretch goal announcements by looking through the comments section on the projects and the comments on the updates.

If you have a large following, I think it would make sense to announce your stretch goals ahead of time. If you don’t, I would give some thought to stretch goals, maybe hint at ideas for them, but spend most of your time on making the actual project and rewards awesome.

Conclusion

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for stretch goals, be sure to check out my other article on Kickstarter campaign reward ideas or Indiegogo campaign reward ideas. If you found this article to be helpful, let me know via a comment below! For more tips and advice on how to run a successful Kickstarter, be sure to check out my ebook, which has already helped hundreds of creators!

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  • Great idea regarding using a stretch goal to promote more Facebook coverage via Likes! Please check out our Kickstarter at http://weltip.com/kickstarter

  • Norell

    I really appreciate this article. It is something to really consider. We would love to offer stretch goals. It would be amazing to surpass our goal and be able to put even more into everything we give back, in every way applicable. Also, you bring up the topic of profit. I’m not sure that everyone fully understands that after all is said and done, there is not as much as a profit as it appears because of the rewards. For example, some of our higher donation rewards include mobile-friendly websites and native apps, so we would essentially be creating custom everything for our backers. Programmers out there know how much work that is, it is timely and costly. It’s perhaps a little crazy that we’re offering it as low-priced as we are, but we want to give back, too. If we meet-or even surpass-our goal, we should be full time artists, musicians, and developers. It will give us a chance to really expand our art and music, including filming our first professional music video, and in addition help us keep expanding our mobile development. Anyway, great article, thanks again! Here’s our Kickstarter, Help Build the Smart Album: http://kck.st/1rPaks9

  • I think stretch goals are fantastic. We need to set intentions for the bigger picture then take the small steps to get there. I think it’s great for backers to get a glimpse of the grander vision, to picture to the plan to know their vital part of a larger unfoldment. I have announced mine early yet locked them behind a flashing .gif:) “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    http://kck.st/1vyr3R6

    • CrowdCrux

      Very good points. Anticipation of awesome things to come is always a great way to get backers excited.

  • Cybele

    Great topic to cover! And I’m torn when it comes to which way to go…

    I have the impression that stretch goals can be a double-edged sword: if not planned properly, they can be an important burden on the success of the campaign. But, on the other hand, they can an additional way of getting your backers excited (especially, if the stretch goals are something worth obtaining) and provide the backers a preview of the ‘bigger picture’ behind this campaign…

    I think that, in the end, stretch goals should be considered on a ‘per-case’ basis (meaning, they are not for every type of project/campaign)

    http://goo.gl/CjFpzi

    • CrowdCrux

      I agree. They need to be planned carefully or else they can put you in the red.

  • Andrew

    Great piece, very informative…and I wish I had read this, and your other articles on crowdcrux.com, prior to starting my campaign. It’s too late to offer stretch goals on my current campaign, but my next project will utilize the insight you’ve provided.

    Thanks for all the work you do for crowd fundraising, Salvador.

    • CrowdCrux

      Glad the articles are helpful 🙂

  • Greg

    Great article! Stretch goals for my campaign have definitely been on my mind lately. I would say adding more color schemes is the easiest way to add a stretch goal. It is often relatively cheap and easy to implement. However, it does complicate the fulfillment process a little bit.

    Check out my campaign and let me know what colors would be good to add as stretch goals:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1331803823/migo-wallet

    • CrowdCrux

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Mike Sitler

    Interesting… I never thought of “stretch goals”. Something that I will definitely spend some time on. Thanks!

    • CrowdCrux

      Awesome! Hope the info helps your project!

      • Mike Sitler

        Hopefully it does well enough to use the “stretch goals” 🙂
        Kind of a slow start so far!

  • strang3

    we are doing this project please pass it on . we aren’t i wasn’t aware of the stretch goal we just want to establish out first documentary here a link maybe you’ll
    want to donate or pass it on either way it helps us

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1905970762/guidestoned-2014

    • CrowdCrux

      Yea, stretch goals can help to keep your backers motivated and excited to be a part of your project.

  • strang3

  • strang3

  • strang3

    we have a page in disinformation that will be published soon to help us promote this documentary . if anyone has any suggestions or ideas please let us know ..