If you’ve backed a crowdfunding campaign or two, you might have already come across the idea of stretch goals. But how do stretch goals work when you’re planning your own crowdfunding campaign?

What are stretch goals?

Stretch goals are your next step up after you’ve hit your first target – they’re what happens if you manage to ‘stretch’ that little bit further. They’re additional funding goals, above and beyond your main funding goal – and they can unlock something new.

For example: let’s say you’re raising £5000 to record a new album. You’ve worked out the minimum amount with which you could make the album you want, and you’ve set that as your target. But, you also know that you could create something even better if you had another £3000 to cover bringing in that producer you’ve always wanted to work with, or to pay for a film-maker to make a short behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the album. So you could set your initial target at £5000, but then a stretch goal of £8000.

If you’re running an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign, your stretch goals don’t count towards the qualifying amount for all-or-nothing – they’re a bonus. If you raise less than your initial target, then your campaign hasn’t succeeded and you won’t get the money. But if you raise more than your initial target, and less than your stretch goal(s), you’ll still get the money.

Stretch goals aren’t really a formal part of your campaign – indeed, most platforms (other than Crowdfunder) don’t even offer an official way to add the information to your project. Instead, they’re more like a way for you to talk about your project – you’ll do all the communicating around announcing and explaining your stretch goal/s, and update your campaign page with the new information.

  • Indiegogo: “a way for you to incentivize your backers toward helping you achieve your new goals”
  • Kickstarter: “a way for creators to “stretch” beyond the initial, official goal of the Kickstarter project and raise more money (and often make cooler stuff!)”
  • Crowdfunder: “Any changes made midstream should be accompanied by an update to your supporters and remember to recognise what you’ve achieved together so far!!”

Why bother with stretch goals?

You don’t have to! You can set your target and call it done. But, especially with all-or-nothing funding campaigns, it can be easy to lose momentum after the thrill of hitting your target – for you and your backers alike. Stretch goals give you a new milestone to work towards.

They can also help you add new sections to your project, piece by piece. You probably wouldn’t want to set a stretch goal that was double your initial funding goal, so think about ways to break it down – perhaps another £1000 could unlock some equipment improvements which would make a big change to what your audiences hear or see in the finished product; perhaps another £2000 could create a whole new format that you know your audiences have been waiting for (special-edition vinyl run, anyone?).

When to announce them?

You can announce your stretch goals right at the beginning of your project, along with all your launch information. You can reveal them when you’re getting close to your initial funding target. Or you can announce them after you’ve gone past 100% funding.

There’s no one right way to do it – but think about what feels most honest for your campaign. If you have your ‘minimum viable’ plans, but you’re excited to share the ambitious option with your audiences too, then structure both goals into your campaign communications right from the beginning. If your stretch goal is something exciting and attention-grabbing that your audiences may not even have thought of, then think about holding it back so you can spark off some excited chatter midway through your campaign.

Remember, your stretch goals are a great way for you to communicate about your campaign – once your campaign is up and running, you’ll need to keep thinking of new ways to talk about it. Stretch goals can be a big part of that, because they can help show your backers where you want to take your work, and give them a path to help you get there.