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Brambleten's Crowdfunding Chronicles Part III - What Happens When A Project Fails?

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What happens when a project fails?

Thanks to a question from Spectral Dragon following my last article, I have a subject for my slightly belated next entry. I will in future articles go back to my plan of going through each part stage by stage, but for today, Iím looking at what happens when projects fail to reach their goal.

So, youíve spent months prepping and developing an idea, drumming up interest through social media and launched your project with a great deal of enthusiasm. You have a reasonable target set but things arenít going as you planned and you donít reach your target. What do you do now?

If you chose to use Indiegogo and their flexible funding system, even if you didnít hit your target, you get the funds that people did back, minus Indiegogoís cut, which is larger than the cut they would take if the project was fully funded on the fixed funding system. It is then up to you to find the funds elsewhere to keep your end of the deal and get the backers their rewards.

If you have used Kickstarter or another site, you will most likely be on a fixed funding system Ė if you donít hit your target, peoples pledges donít get taken. There is no cost to you for this, as KS take their fees from money taken from pledges before it gets to you. All you will have lost is the time you put in to planning the project and any funds already invested in prototypes etc, which you may well have had to put in any way to fund the project yourself or to secure funding in a traditional manner.

Not getting funded isnít the end of the world. Every project is kept on Kickstarter, regardless of whether it received no funding at all or millions of pounds of it. If people backed a project by you, you can still communicate with them through the update and comment sections. This allows you to ask people where they think you went wrong, what they think you should do next and anything else you can think of.

There are three things you can do if a project fails. The first is to give up on it. If you received no funding and you have done everything you can think of in terms of advertising it on social media, getting people involved, it might be that simply there isnít a market for your idea.

The second is to find another way of funding the project. If you have already done the planning with regards to costs, prototypes etc then you are in a great position to find funding in a traditional manner. When they realised that they wouldnít hit their target, Dark Space Corp (Rick Priestly and co) decided to cancel their project and look in to alternative methods of funding Beyond the Gates of Antares, including releasing what was to be their KS exclusive miniature Hansa through Warlord Games.

The third way is to learn from your experiences and go again. Maybe spend a few months prepping more stuff, adjust goals, do more marketing and bring the project back to the table fresh. This has been done successfully by several companies, including Bombshell Miniatures with their Counterblast game, Games and Gears with their Battle Boards and more recently, Hangar 18 with their pin ups project. All failed first time around and took on board comments, revamped their ideas and brought them back.

In conclusion, what happens when a project fails is up to the developer. They can find a comfy corner to sit crying into their beverage of choice, or, they can look at what went wrong and learn from it, coming back stronger.

A note - if any of this appears jumbled or unclear, or you think I've missed something, let me know and I'll try and do something about it


  1. Darklord's Avatar
    another excellent installment. Thanks mate.
  2. Undave's Avatar
    I backed the Gates Kickstarter and got the draft of the original rules. Comparing them to the version we are now play-testing for Rick I can say without a doubt that having the KS fail and throwing in with Warlord was a good thing for the game.
  3. Brambleten's Avatar
    Cheers DL.

    Undave - I also backed Gates (and wrote a large chunk of my dissertation about it) but since it finished and I bought Hansa I haven't given it a thought thanks to too many other projects firing around. I probably should investigate a little more, but the same could be said of half a dozen other things...
  4. Undave's Avatar
    The model renders over on the Warlord page are looking pretty sweet. So far there are Boromites, Algoryn (they invented the internet ), Concord and the Ghar (formerly the Gwar until we reminded Rick about the atrocious rock band). All we're waiting on are the Isorian Shard who are kind of biomechanical if their concept art is anything to go by. I like the Algoryn best so far, he's the one on the left.
  5. vegascat's Avatar
    Nice article. It should be mandatory reading for those considering crowdfunding.