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Stretch goals

The idea of stretch goals is prevalent mostly in the board games category. It’s the idea of providing something extra if the funding reaches certain goals. Metal components instead of plastic, new cards, etc…


Decide if you want to have them

If you don’t have stretch goals, ignore this section except for the next item. Having stretch goals is a way to increase support, but it takes work to figure out goals that fit your project. They are also a great way to give something to your backers they can be excited about. To give some meat to your campaign.

However, they are not that important to backers. First of all, as stated before, stretch goals are mostly only a thing in the board game category. Secondly, in one of Jamey’s surveys, he asked backers how important stretch goals are to them.

57% said they are more interested in quality, art, reviews, price, etc..
28% said barely at all
15% said they are super important
Bare in mind, this survey was posted on a board gaming blog.

Lean heavily into the advantage

At this point, stretch goals are kind of expected in the board games category. The lack of them might cause some outcry from backers. But that’s because they see the whole value proposition. If you are launching a board game and you don’t have stretch goals, make sure you make the value proposition clear for your backers. For example, the folks behind Dragoon explained it with the concept of “Complete at launch”. Check out the COMPLETE AT LAUNCH section of the Dragoon project page.

Make it fun

Stretch goals are a great opportunity to bring some magic into your project. Let's say you are making a board game set in the horrific world of H.P Lovecraft. Along with providing a tangible value for every unlocked stretch goal, you can also lean into the atmospheric nature of the Lovecraftian theme.

Tell backers that your team launched the campaign while travelling on a trans-siberian train that is slowly being devoured by a dark dimension. You can see the gaping dimensional tear as you look back out the window, a world of madness looking back at you. The train must escape the eldritch pull of the dark dimension or the game will be lost forever. The power of stretch goals, like shovelfuls of coal, give power to the ancient engine, feeding the raging fire in the train's belly as it screeches through the night.

You can expand the story with each unlocked stretch goal and form a narrative for your backers. You unlocked the last stretch goal just in the nick of time? Great! Incorporate that into the story, saying that at one minute til midnight, as you run out of coal, you throw even the shovel into the furnace... and finally feel the train ripping itself out from the eldritch clutches of the dark dimension, tearing through tentacles, leaving the gaping rift behind as it speeds up towards the far away lights of Yekaterinburg station.

Plan out your stretch goals

The idea behind stretch goals is that higher the number of copies you can produce, the lower the price the factory can give you. You can use the difference in profit to make an even better quality product. Make sure you budget for your goals correctly and that the margin you gain is enough for the particular improvement you promise for a given goal.

Types of stretch goals

To get an idea for the different goals you can have to inspire your backers, check out The Current State of Stretch Goals (2019). A few types I would highlight are:

Achievements
If you’re offering a really nice, “complete” product from Day 1 with limited possibilities for stretch goals, an achievement system might be the way to go. If you’re offering a bare-bones product from day 1 with tons of little stretch goals, a traditional stretch goal system is probably best for you. Kickstarter Lesson #145: Achievements vs. Stretch Goals

Star goals
The Starbucks-Inspired Star Stretch Goal System in Practice

The root method
You can read more at The Current State of Stretch Goals (2017)

Social stretch goals

Flash goals
Could be an alternative for an early bird. The idea is that if you reach a certain funding level on the first day, everyone benefits. If these don't pan out you can include the unlockables later as stretch goals. You can also expand on this. For example, there could be a row on the chart that lists different funding amounts for the first 5 days of the project: $40k on Day 1, $60k by Day 2, $70k by Day 3, and so on. Thus the achievements would encourage people on the fence to pledge their support right away, because once those days pass, those achievements become unattainable. A more inclusive method is that all achievements have their unlock requirement reduced during the initial days instead.

Have a golden goose stretch goal

The idea is that you have a stretch goal way out there, at maybe 4-500% funding that people can aspire to during the entire run of the campaign. Don't make it overly unachievable though.

Don’t announce your goals at launch

Most of your funding happens in the first and final 3 days. If you announce your goals up front and blow through them on the first day, you will have nothing to incentivise new people to back your project now or incentivise existing backers to increase their pledge.

Avoid physical rewards for social goals

It's a bit dangerous because they don't necessarily come with more money. If you gained 200 facebook likes, but that hasn't translated into enough funding for that specific physical reward, you'll have to pay for it yourself. In case of board games, you can use them for example to reveal art from the game, with maybe 1,000 Likes adding something of real value.

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