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Kickstarter warns fundraisers to ‘tread carefully’ with stretch goals

Project runners who achieve their Kickstarter goals early should "tread carefully" when considering whether or not to add stretch goals, Kickstarter cofounder and head of communications Yancey Strickler wrote on the site's blog.

Stretch goals, typically added once a project reaches its previously outlined targets, attempt to keep pledges coming by offering additional rewards or features. However, Strickler warns that expanding the project too much can "change the creative vision," effectively putting the entire project at risk.

"As many creators and backers have learned from experience, often what seems like ‘extra' money isn't extra at all," Strickler wrote. "If a project has a funding goal of $10,000 but raises $1 million, does that mean its creator got an 'extra' $990,000? Not at all. More money means more backers and rewards to fulfill — and less margin for error.

"Many Kickstarter projects end up significantly overfunded, and creators often use those funds to improve the project's end product. More funding might mean higher-quality materials and other improvements that thank backers with a better-made thing. For other creators overfunding means the project turns a profit. Both are great outcomes. Stretch goals, on the other hand, trade long-term risk for a short-term gain."

Kickstarters such as Obsidian Entertainment's Project Eternity and Double Fine's Broken Age are but a few well known games that raised substantially more than their target goals. For projects that reach funding before their end date, Strickler advises creators to use the time to improve the project naturally and as the creative process happens.

"Make a connection that goes beyond funding," Strickler wrote. "Money gets spent, but a strong community will last forever."