Five Crowdfunding Prizes for Your Mobile App Project

Crowdfunding is one good alternative for developers to help fund a new app.   We covered crowdfunding for mobile apps briefly, but I’d like to focus on crowdfunding prizes.   There are a lot of truly lame prizes out there.  In example, “If you contribute $20 to this app project, you will get the app for free when it is released!”  Really?   That doesn’t sound free to me!

A crowdfunding project is a major endeavor – if you approach it as anything less than an all-out effort to secure the funding you need, you will come up short.  The first thing to understand about crowdfunding projects is that the funds contributed to the majority of projects come from the people closest to you – friends and family, people you know and people who know you.  Truly successful projects reach well beyond your first social circle and offer “prizes” with more than sentimental value.

Your goals in selecting prizes to award to your contributors are:

  1. Offer something of tangible value
  2. Reach all funding tiers (low $1 – 25, medium $50 – 250, and high $251+)
  3. Reach and appeal to as many people as possible
  4. Be cost effective
  5. Require minimal administrative overhead
  6. Relevant to your project

With these objectives in mind, consider the following five prizes for your next crowdfunding project:

1.  $1.00 – Beta Tester (Limit 100) – Releasing a high quality app free of bugs will depend upon your ability to have your app tested across a variety of platforms and/or devices.   Beta testers can help not just in the testing, but in raising publicity for your app.  The more people you have talking about your app, the more likely it is to succeed.  Early on, getting more people interested in your project is probably even more important than money.

Beta Testers feel a sense of pride and ownership in contributing to the success of an app.   Get as many beta testers as you can support – perhaps limit this to the first 100 contributors.  This helps increase your contributor count and instills a sense of urgency in getting in early.   If Beta Testers like what they see, they are likely to upgrade their contribution.  If you are feeling generous, you might provide your $1.00 beta testers a copy of the final product, too.

2.  $5.00 or $10.00 – Beta Plus –   This is really your “first tier” contribution objective.   Where the first $1.00 aims at getting people interested in your project, this starts aiming at raising the revenue you will need.  It is still in the “low tier” of affordability, this helps you attract even more people and possibly upgrades from your $1.00 contributor group.  Your goal is still getting more people interested in your project.  People’s interest trumps everything else when seeking funding.

3. $25.00  - Beta Plus Gift Copies - The contributor gets everything above, but also gets two gift codes that they can give to their friends or family, letting them get copies of your apps when it is officially released.  Again, you are expanding your user base while increasing your funding potential.   You can increase the number of gift codes and increase or decrease the contribution level as you see fit.

4.  $50 – Name an Item - Pure vanity coupled with some creative input, though probably most suitable for games where you can allow for “fluff” – like “Billy-Bob’s Rawhide Gloves” or “LuLu’s Luv Potion #9″.     Obviously, this goes hand in hand with giving the contributor beta access and a copy of the final release.   You can also set a limit on the number of slots allowed for this prize package.

5.  $250 – App Promoter (Limit 10) – The aim of this contribution level is to attract businesses, organizations or groups to help promote your app to their employees, members or subscribers.   The associated prizes would include 10 to 25 free gift codes plus the ability to offer unlimited 25% discounts to your app on specific stores where your app will be available for regular purchase.   Add to this package a small graphic that they can place on their site designating them as a special contributor of your app.

It is one thing to have people talking about you, it is another for the owners and leaders of businesses and groups to promote your app to their employees, group members, subscribers, etc.   Concurrently, the ability of an organization to provide a free app or even a discount adds to the value of their organization.

The recurring theme is to get as many people involved with and talking about your app as possible.  Your crowdfunding project should aim, at a minimum, of helping you break even, potentially make a profit on your app development.

A crowdfunding project is a major undertaking, suffice that you have numerous options on platforms, terms of the project and what you can offer your contributors.   Why not use your project to reach as many people as you can right off the bat?


Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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