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Subject: Some Math on the $1 Kickstarter Reward Tier rss

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Tim H
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Wasn't 100% sure where to post this, but this seemed like a good place to find someone who might find this interesting. I sort of inspired myself to do a little digging after finding a post worthy of the "Crowdfunding Campaigns Doomed to Fail" thread. I was interested to know how much that $1 tier, no-reward, thanks for donating option helps a given KS campaign. Although the results may not be surprising (spoilers, people giving $/€/£1 to a campaign isn't a massive sum of money), sometimes it's nice to have those things we suspect confirmed with numbers.

Method:
I looked at two different sets of data. Those campaigns that were the most funded, with >$200,000 in funding (n=26), and those that finished the most recently as a control group (n=18). I would have loved to compare them to those that met their funding goals by the smallest margin, but I couldn't find that search option. I feel that would be a much more meaningful comparison. I also omitted any campaigns that were for dice/terrain/miniatures without a game.

In this post, $ will be used for euros, pounds, Canadian dollars, etc... mainly because that's easiest with my keyboard. USD accounted for the vast majority of KS campaigns, and as I'm dealing with ratios, currencies should cancel each other out. I tried to exclude any KS campaigns that used the $1 level as a means for purchasing add-ons. I also didn't count any campaigns with a "tip jar" backer tier of anything other than $1.

% of total funding:
Most funded: ~0.039% of total funding was from $1 donations.
Most recent: ~0.095% of total funding was from $1 donations.
(Different is statistically significant)

$1 Pledgers as a % of total donors:
Most funded: 3.3%
Most recent: 3.8%
(The difference here is statistically insignificant)

Again, if I could look at campaigns that made their funding goal by the skin of their teeth, I could perhaps draw some more meaningful conclusions. If anyone is starting a KS campaign, I can see no reason to deny people who may not otherwise donate the chance to do so, even at a $1 level.

Other things I noticed:
1 Cool Mini or Not seems to have a policy against $1 donations, as I think I only spotted a single campaign that featured them.
2 The $1 donation tier was much more popular with expansions/reprints that had neat promo cards that could be purchased as add-ons. (This was why I tried to exclude them, as it's not really a $1 donation)
3 One campaign (Bones II) had SIX different $1 donation levels, all with a max number of backers, for a total of 2499 "$1 donations" (which were for add-on content, presumably).
4 The sum of all the $1 donations for the most funded group clocked in at $3,256 (or varying currencies), which is enough to fund a small KS campaign!
5 The campaign that was the least effective at attracting tip jar donations was "Zpocalypse: An Epic Zombie Survival Board Game" with only 7 of its 2045 backers electing to give money just because they thought it was a neat project.
6 The campaign with the highest proportion of tip jar backers was "14 days", a game about dealing with chronic migraines, which recently finished in late July.

Conclusion:
This last point is the basis for the only conclusion I can feel comfortable drawing from the data I looked at. If you are running a KS campaign for a board game with an educational theme, or a topic that people care about, such as 14 Days, these are the campaigns that benefit the most from a tip jar donation tier. Another example that comes to mind is Linkage: A DNA Card Game (a project that I backed and helped out with in a small way) also comes to mind, with an astonishing 0.74% funding (800% more than the average for lower funding campaigns) from 14% of the backers. Otherwise, the tip jar donation level just seems like a nice thing to have, I know that I have used it.

I hope that some, if any, of this was interesting to at least one person I did it all by hand (read: excel), but I double checked everything for transcription errors. If anyone knows of a fancy way to do this automatically, I'd love to see any results from that sort of a survey (one that doesn't require opening ~500 tabs and transcribing data!)
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Kerstin
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I always appreciate when people spend their time putting together information like that, so first of all thanks for that.

Speaking for myself, I have backed on the 1$ level in a few projects and it's mainly when I'm involved in a group buy that makes shipping much more reasonable (and usually that saves much more than the 1$ I'm putting back in). This way I still keep myself informed about the project.
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Brendan Riley
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I will also sometimes kick in at the $1 level as a show of support for a project I want to succeed, but isn't something I want to buy myself. Also, as previous commenters said, to get announcements and see comments.
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Rob Harper
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The interesting statistic would be how many backers upgrade from $1 to a "proper" reward tier.

If I back at $1, it is partly giving a thumb for the project, but mostly it is saying, "OK, you have my attention. I'll be reading your updates and if you can convince me, maybe I'll upgrade."
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Kerstin just named one reason for contributing just one Dollar.

Another reason I've seen mentioned often in campaigns, especially the big ones with lots of miniatures or add ons is, that people pledge one Dollar to get access to the pledge manager later on and to spend the real money then.

Also (and you mentioned that already), the $1 tier usually lets you add add-ons to your pledge, so if you don't want the main pledge rewards, but would like to get some of the other stuff offered, it might be the best way to get it (I've seen this most often with KS projects for miniature lines).

Something else to keep in mind is, that you don't need the $1 reward for a $1 contribution. You can always pledge for some money and choose "no reward".

In the end, I find your analysis very interesting, but I doubt much can be deducted from it.
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Chris Amburn
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I often wonder about the difference between backers of a $1 vs a $2 tier. Does it actually boost pledges or deter those who would have otherwise tipped $1?
 
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Eric Francis
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I frequently back at the $1 level -- probably as often as I back at the "get the stuff" level. That's because there are often projects I admire, like, or am impressed by, but I just don't want or need the product.

A recent (non-game) example was a photography book of the old Domino Sugar factory in Brooklyn, which is about to be turned into apartments. The original equipment is all there, and a photographer took some incredible pics of it. Now, I don't care to own the book itself, but I want to support his endeavor because I think it's worthwhile. My dollar may not make the difference for him, but it does show support -- and to me, that's the whole purpose.

I've pledged a buck to a number of games, and I don't know that I've ever upped my pledge to the product level later. But I appreciate the opportunity to be able to spend a dollar to tell someone, "This is a good idea, and maybe your next idea will be one I buy outright." Just my two bits.

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Jeremy Likens
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Statistics are fun.

Thanks for the time you put into this!
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Norman Mueller
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Yeah, you should look into the number of $1 pledges DURING a running campaign. Most of those either drop out at the end or upgrade to a higher pledge on the last day.

When I pledge $1, I want to be able to ask questions on the comment section without committing to anything.

More importantly, I want to see on my KS screen which of my backed projects are in their last 24 hours. I check the stretch goals and overall progress, and then I drop out or upgrade my pledge.
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Moose Detective
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Also, in a lot of campaigns like Reaper Bones, you can pledge $1 NOW and just pick and choose what you want and pay for everything when the pledge manager goes live. A lot of people do this figuring other backers will hit the pledge goals and they can hold on to their money for an extra month or three.
 
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Steven Tu
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Great work!

I'd be interested to know if the $1 tier addition may have hampered campaigns? Some kind of perception against them?

So comparing campaigns with similar structure/amount/content/value/whatever, if one had a $1 tier and another not, would they perform similarly?
 
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