Building your own crowdfunding pledge manager
Unless you have all the shipping costs absolutely pinned down, or are offering a digital product, the majority of crowdfunding campaigns use a pledge manager. These are essentially stores where people can buy credit, as well as add-ons to their pledge purchases. They can also select their shipping requirements from here.
Sadly, pledge managers are imperfect beasts. For one, there is a lot of importing and exporting. It also introduces yet another company to get emails from, log in and out of, and is essentially a funnel away from your brand.
I have used two different pledge managers in the past, the most recent being Gamefound, and while it was okay to use, it was a pain to set up every single time, as I had to re-enter shipping charges and so forth.
I pondered this and was convinced there had to be a better way.
Enter my own website.
Enigmailed is built on the Shopify CMS, so it should be easy to adapt into my own pledge manager.
These are the stages I had to go through, for those who would like to do this themselves.
- List all your pledges and add-ons as separate products. Tag these with a specific name (I used VIP).
- Create a collection, with all your crowdfund items in that collection (you populate this automatically, using the tags you added to the products).
- Create a new collection code format (easy to do in Shopify), and then add some code to only allow customers with a specific tag to see this collection.
- Export your crowdfund pledge list from Kickstater as a full .CSV.
- Use a bulk Discount Code Generator to create everyone’s pledge value (So if someone pledged £78, this creates a £78 credit note for the store. It took about ten minutes to create unique codes for all backers, at 27 different price points).
- Export your Shopify client list as a .CSV.
- Compare the lists, and extract those who don’t have an existing account on your own website. This is very easy to do in a spreadsheet, using the CONCATENATE formula.
- Import the new customers, ensuring you have tagged them with a specific name (I used Pouroboros, the name of the campaign), and invite them to make an account (this is incredibly easy to do, and really important, too!)
- Tag existing customers with the campaign name too. Also important!
- Share the collection link and instructions with backers, along with their credit code. This can be come automatically with Apps or a bulk emailer, but I preferred messaging everyone directly, and adding comments in as I went. I'm the village store, not Costco, so customer service is essential.
- Sit back and let the orders nestle comfortably in your own store, with no more complex importing and exporting (Shopify really is a dream here, too).
Although there are a LOT of stages here, I have compared the timing of this, and it is half the time it took before in terms of setting up, and dramatically reduced the fulfilment requirements too.
I am more than happy to answer any questions, or add more detail to specific stages, should anyone be interested in this. Simply message me using this form.
(Feature photo: Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA from Pexels)