Rewards drive people to pledge, and honour those who do pledge. People want to support you, but a reward should inspire them to open their wallets and pledge. Really great rewards should inspire them to pledge even more.
Remember: Rewards should depend on the amount pledged. For example, a $5 pledge could be a simple thank you, but a $1000 pledge should be an experience that only you could deliver.
1. Warm Fuzzies: A low cost reward that makes pledgers feel warm and fuzzy inside. For example, postcard, thank you note, shout out, mention in the credits of your film or the liner notes of your album will do. Make sure it is personalised to them - not a generic cut/paste.
e.g. Kiwi artist Max Bellamy wrote pledger’s names in the Sweden snow. (OK, this one is more like a cold fuzzy! ….)
2. Gifts & SWAG: A small gift might not cost you much money to make, but it'll hold tremendous value for pledgers. The fact that they can hold the reward in their hands makes the connection between project and pledger all the more real. The trick with gifts is low cost, high return - beware time-heavy gifts like drawing everyone a custom portrait (or just value them accordingly!).
e.g. the PSUSY webseries had stickers, shirts, undies, and mugs, while Hunt & Gather Bee Co offered jars of their local honey
3. Outputs: Offer what you’re making/crowdfunding for as a reward. It sounds like a no brainer, but you have to actually offer what you’re making as a reward. You might be crowdfunding for a play, but it’s critical to offer the opportunity to come and see the play as a reward. Think about ways to add value like autographs and early bird access.
e.g. the Craft Beer Calendar made calendars, Jenny Mitchell offered copies of her album, and Kaffelogic sold personal coffee roasters
4. Experiences: Anytime you meet directly with your pledgers face-to-face, it qualifies as an “experience”. The “experience” can be anything that only you could deliver. Backstage passes, meet and greets, a song dedicated to your pledgers totally count. Again, the trick with experience is low cost, high return.
e.g. Uncle Berties Botanarium offered a “dinner party extravaganza” with music provided by Lawrence Arabia, while Thomas Oliver offered autographs, a lunch date, and even a personal concert
5. Crowd sourced: To really involve your crowd, ask them what they think is a fitting reward or better yet, ask them if they can offer any rewards!
e.g. the Ōtākaro Orchard asked their crowd for help, and they responded with everything from knitted hats to cakes to babysitting to a dance and soup party. Everybody Eats had donated rewards from dozens of cafes, restaurants, and food producers