The difference between a great crowdfunding campaign and a spectacular explosion is often the result of what happens after the campaign officially ends. Sure, you’ve surpassed your goal and created thousands of new fans for an exciting new product. But those fans will soon start expecting the stuff for which they pledged money -- in some cases, for which they’ve pledged a whole lot of money.

Virtually no crowdfunding campaign creator can shift immediately from fundraising to production. But without a strategy to manage that shift, you’re as good as sunk. Some of the most “successful” campaigns of all times turned into cautionary tales because of the gap between the expectations of a campaign and the reality of running a burgeoning product-focused startup.

Keep communicating

The first thing to keep in mind is that your backers are likely to be the most loyal and forgiving fans you’re ever going to get. They may forgive you some stumbles as you move your product towards full production, but they’ll never forgive you if you drop off the planet once your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign stops taking pledges.

It is absolutely imperative that you keep communication flowing freely with your backers. That may involve updating your Facebook group, regularly tweeting on your campaign’s Twitter account, sending regular updates to your email list, and even talking to some valuable backers over the phone if you’ve offered high-ticket pledge tiers that involve a good deal of customization. Whatever you do, keep your messaging upbeat, consistent, and ongoing.

You may not hit all your targets for production and fulfillment. In fact, you probably won’t, unless you’ve got an absolute rock star running point on those critical tasks. But you should still be upfront with your backers on any stumbles, so that they’ll be right there with you to celebrate your successes. Today’s consumer craves communication, and many are willing to keep working with a clearly flawed business (and what business isn’t?) if that business keeps communicating through its flaws and flops.

Preparing for production

Most campaigns involve some degree of production that’s essential to fulfilling pledges and getting backers what they’ve paid for. It could be a movie, a board game, a fancy rocking chair, or a set of kitten mittens…

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Whatever you’re making, there’s going to be some time between the start of production and the final shipments. You might even have to go through several rounds of prototyping (we’ll cover production issues in the next part of this checklist), especially if you’ve got a complex technology product that requires specific components in specific form factors.

Keep your backers involved in the post-campaign but pre-fulfillment period by letting them look inside the production process, especially if you can visit the production facility yourself and take first-person video. This should focus on key milestones and progress. Leave factory foul-ups out of it -- there’s a difference between upfront communication and sharing too much.

Post-campaign fundraising

You don’t have to stop raising money for your project just because your official campaign’s closed its doors on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Today’s campaign creators understand that crowdfunding is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why many of them turn to backer-management and pledge-management tools that can both facilitate post-campaign communications and help them raise additional funds to do everything they wanted.

When you work with CrowdOx, you can check in with your backers to verify their contact information while simultaneously nudging them towards making additional pledges. Both of these tasks are essential for a smooth post-campaign process. An undeliverable package can eat up any upside you might have gotten from that pledge, but if you can convince even 10% of your backers to pick up another tier of campaign support, you can offset many of those sunk costs.

Every verified address, and every high-margin extra, gives your campaign more wiggle room with which to handle unexpected production problems or fulfillment issues. Many campaigns that work with CrowdOx see far better than 10% upsells -- many of our campaigns add another 25%, 50%, or even double their campaign take when they implement CrowdOx “extras” as part of their post-campaign management strategy.

Make the most of your crowdfunding campaign, even the part on Kickstarter or Indiegogo has already ended. Click the button below to find out how.