Kickstarter allows you to send one survey to all backers any time after your campaign is over. The backer survey is the way to get your backer's shipping address. It should contain some other stuff mentioned below as well.


You might be surprised at how many backers don’t respond to the survey right away…or at all. If you wait too long to send out the backer survey, it’s going to be months before you actually hear back from some of your backers, which will make your shipping process all the more difficult.

If you’re using the method of shipping all products to your apartment and handpacking them individually for backers around the world, not knowing your backer locations in advance isn’t a big deal (even then it’s helpful so you can estimate costs in advance, though). But if you are sending pallets and bulk orders directly to Canada, the EU, the US, etc... you absolutely need to know where you backers are well in advance. This is imperative. If you combine this with the first point, it means that you really need to get the survey out within a few weeks of ending your project.

If you wait months and months to send out your survey, your backers are going to start to think you don’t have your act together. Updates help, but they don’t always feel like forward progress. The backer survey does. I’ve heard many backers complain about how some projects don’t have their acts together, and the lack of a survey is one of the reasons they cite.

Send it about 10-14 days before you ship all the packages (or 10-14 before you need to upload shipping orders to various fulfillment centers). That gives backers time to reply, and it’s close enough to when they actually receive the package that they will be able to name the best possible address.

Tell backers to be ready

Be sure to remind your backers they need to be able to receive the package. Something like:

Please make sure the address you send me is one where you can definitely receive the package any time between [insert date range]. If you will be at a location during that time where you can’t receive packages at your normal address, you can send me the address of a friend or family member.

Ask for a secure address

This will at least take care of porch pirates. Something like:

Please use a secure address to reduce the chances of theft upon delivery.

Tax IDs for South America

This has been mentioned under Shipping, but it's important to reiterate it here.

Ask your South American backers for a tax number (CPF number in Brazil) to include on their packages. That seems to help out the South American customs offices. Follow up with South American backers a few weeks after the games ship to encourage them to go to the customs office if they haven’t received their game.

Request phone numbers

That will help shipping & fulfillment companies greatly and many of them require it.

Newsletter opt-in

You can include a checkbox in your survey to ask whether the backer wants to subscribe to your newsletter. Do NOT sign users up to your general newsletter that's not only about the game. It's considered spam. They might mark your emails as spam, mail providers will take notice and start delivering all your emails straight to spam folders.

Send out a small number of surveys first

Pro Tip: Pick the core reward level with the fewest backers and send their survey first, then wait a few minutes to get some completed surveys. Then look over a completed survey to see if it makes sense from your perspective. That also gives those backers a few minutes to post questions in the comments, just in case something is confusing to them. If you need to change something in the format, you can do so before sending out the survey to other reward tiers.

Sanitize the user input

Repeat after me, out loud: I cannot trust user input. Go on, do it. It will save you trouble. Say it out loud.

You’ll need to use 2-letter country codes for international shipments. Here’s a list of all standard country codes. Note that the United Kingdom’s official abbreviation for shipping is GB (Great Britain).

Zip codes must be properly formatted. Be specific about what you want on your backer survey. Here’s what Jamey puts there: “If your US postal code starts with a 0, please enter the full 10-digit postal code (correct format: 01234-5678). If your international postal code has letters in it, please capitalize them. Canadian backers, please use a single space in your postal code and capital letters—no hyphen (correct format: T5T 5G7).”

Despite those instructions, you’ll still need to review every piece of information, regardless whether you are shipping yourself or using a fulfillment company. You are the one providing them the addresses, they must be correct on your end.

Cross-check addresses to make sure you’re not off by one line on all cities, for example.

Search the spreadsheet for “,com” “.con”, and “. com” to find email addresses where people accidentally used a comma instead of a period.

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